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Horny Diver: Tight Shellfish

Review by: 
Sinferno
Release Date: 
1985
Studio: 
Synapse
Genre: 
Exploitation
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
Atsushi Fujiura
Cast: 
Kumiko Itô
Megumi Kiyosato
Masahiro Nagano
Movie: 
3
Extras: 
2
Bottom Line: 
3

During the 1970’s while American cult film lovers were frequenting the Grindhouse and drive-in scenes, in Japan, Nikkatsu was making a name for itself with its “Roman Porno” erotic line. Between 1971 and 1989 the studio released over a thousand “Pink Cinema” films, and now thanks to Impulse pictures, those of us in America are finally going to get to see (at least 25 of) them for the first time.  Subtitled, chock full of half-naked Asian cuties and filled with all manner of bizarre Japanese fetishism, let us examine this collection in order of release and see if American audiences have a “yen” for this sort of thing?

As is often the case Horny Diver follows a long tradition of Nikkatsu movies and by that it means it rips off the plots of classic American R rated sex comedies from thirty years ago.  In this case the story is a retelling of that standard plot convention where a group of pretty teens are able to save the islands way of live by staving off the plans of a ruthless would be developer by using sexy hijinks and madcap stunts which somehow may be just enough to thwart the legal rights of any evil owner of a valuable property in an eighties film (if films like this have taught us anything).

The “save the orphanage” plot is actually focused on the traditional occupation of female pearl diving, an traditional time honored life way  that had been already fetishized in Volume 7 “Nympho Diver G String Festival” reviewed here.

In a picturesque blue sea off the coast of a Japan a group of young female divers are working, among them two young Japanese women named Yumi and Sa-Chan who actively compete with each other to see which one of them can get the most shellfish on a single breath. As most horseplay does among teens (especially girls) the playful bickering becomes hurtful and a feud begins between them.

Meanwhile on the mainland the middle aged Asian man in a business suit who is in most of these films makes his inevitable appearance.  Mr Matsuaga is the villain of the hour who has made it his life’s ambition to secure the sale of every fishing family’s property that just happens to have a beautiful young diving girl in the family. As such his ultimate secret weapon is a young kid named Junpei who is sent out to trick every woman into selling their family shares by sexually seducing them under the prospect of marriage.   Only in an eighties movie would something as stupid as trading “deeds” for “Doing the Deed” ever pass for a plot. Furthermore only in a Pink Cinema film could such an insane scheme as this actually turn out to be effective; successful means of negotiation. All of this postulating is perhaps needlessly pretentious. The fact there is a sex scene every ten minutes in these films are hopefully justification enough for the unique expectations for an audience who sits down to watch any movie with the words “Horny” and “Tight” in the title.

Despite some early and easy gains it becomes all too apparent what Mr Matsunaga is planning and the two rival girls from the opening scene are forced to confront the reason behind their lifelong rivalry and why they have always competed against each other in such a spirited way for the duration of their lives. As any Japanese movie, the importance of honor, tradition and family are familiar background themes and for those of you that get tired of seeing these touchy feely scenes of sisterhood and friendship, the subtext of the film is comedic, tragic and somehow about as filthy/fleshy at the same time as most previous volumes in the series.

There is a scene in a strip club where a dancer incorporates the unconventional use of live sea creatures into her act and gives a soon after patron a face full of ink from a squid (after inserting into the only place she can).  Yet when she next incorporates an electric eel into her act, let’s just say that it is the literal epitome of “raw shock” in a fringe sex film never before seen. As a final note, there aren’t any acts of “completed” rape in the film which actually made it somehow seem more special and unique for it if you are volumes deep into this series as I am.  As such, perhaps it would be a nice entry point into the series from more moderate audiences of Asian aficionados of erotica?  (Yeah right, as if any of them are still reading my reviews of this particular series 18 volumes in).

I want to remark that this is perhaps the most visually beautiful film in this series seen thus far, even with the usual 1.78:1 postage stamp aspect ratio. From the distant seaside mountains, to the unspoiled beaches to the simple dwellings it is a far more beautiful depiction than the overpopulated, technology saturated depictions of Japan we see in films today. Additionally, many of the frames of this film almost have a post card quality to them (except for all that damned fogging).

Extra Features include liner notes By Jasper Sharp and the original trailer.

 

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