Angel Guts

Discussion in 'Asian Horror and Other Pleasures' started by dwatts, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Hm, I did a search, and this box set - which has been out for quite some time, doesn't seem to have gotten much attention....

    I'm pretty damn sure I've not seen anything quite like the first two films in this set (High School Co-Ed, Red Classroom). They're sold as pure exploitation fare, with the box set being almost exclusively quotes such as "Hot & Steamy" and "Pure Erotica". Along with this a message: "Warning! Contains scenes of extreme sexual violence which wil offend many viewers". guess it's hard to argue against that......

    Yet, there's definately more going on here, especially in the second film - Red Classroom. In reading reviews of these films I saw a lot of discussion about the rape scene (which are apparently in every film in the series). And indeed, they're quite harrowing. The first film (High School Co-Ed) contains five rapes. Yet there is a plot, and the whole thing is wrapped in a rather poignant morality tale. Basically, a wayward boy with responsiblity for his young sister has to deal with the terrible things he's done as part of a biker gang, while at the same time watching his kin grow into a woman. Everything he's done will come back to haunt him through her, she's his conscience.

    Which is not to say that at times you're deep in exploitive material - any film that describes women as a "bag of guts" is bound to be pushing the limits. Yet as I say, there definately is something else going on. The film is actually very well made, with a wonderfully shot scene in railroad sidings (albeit a rather gruelling rape sequence). Interesting.

    The second film is a real gut punch and deals with the effects rape has on the victim. Scared for life, Nami is wounded for the rest of her days. Possible salvation comes, but only from the owner of a pornographic film business. As he tris to save Nami, he must deal with his own demons - knowing that he's also used these women for nefarious ends. Emotionally Nami transforms not into a butterfly, but rather into some kind of cold reptile.

    I don't know, on the one hand there's obviously a lot in the first two films that will cause issue when trying to discuss the films intelligently. On the other - and especially in the second film, it's clear from the ove and attention put into how these films have been made that they're not pure exploitation.

    Of the two, Red Classroom is the better film. It was definately one that stayed with me after it had finished and sparked some debate. Still, the first film isn't so bad either. There are three more films in the set, and I'll give them a viewing soon. On first look here though, I'm intrigued.
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Over the last few weeks I have concluded my viewing of the five films in this set. I've got to say, this is some extraordinary cinema. Film writers ahve spent a lot of time over the years dressing up the likes of I Spit on Your Grave as a legitimate take on the horrors of rape/revenge (rather than as plain and simple exploitation fare) - but those people really need to see these films.

    Sex becomes a larger part of the third and fourth films in the set, until you get to the fifth film which is truly devasting, the climax to that one left us with a rather hollow feeling - a feeling of great sadness.

    I know the subject matter here is a dificult one, and yes these films do have a lot of soft core sexual scenes. But you'll never be able to miss the artistry that has made them, or fail to see the real message (the devatsation of sexual assualts on women). You won't need some art-school type persuading you there's more going on, or moving into a defensive posture - the filmmakers intent is there for all to see.

    So yeah, it's a bit strange recommending such a set. However, I think the Angel Guts set is simply superb, and the best of its type. Sad, shocking, and frightening - there's no avoiding the power on show.

    Amazing stuff.
     
  3. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen any of these,how do they compare in content to something like IRREVERSIBLE ?
     
  4. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Well, the Japanese do the fogging thing, so they're not explicit in that way.

    For shock value, I think they match Irreversible, although the sequences aren't as long (obviously!) As overall films, they matched Irreversible for me. However, make sure you watch them all before deciding. It's as a package that I think they work best (not that they're bad otherwise).

    These are over-the-top at times, I won't deny that. If you were able to appreciate the personal devastation in the likes of Irreversible, then these should work too - albeit it in a Japanese location, and filmed much earlier.
     
  5. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    Thanks,I'll try to track them down.
     
  6. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I hope you're not disapointed. I also know that if I described some of the things that are in this film they'd seem much more shocking than it is watching them. If that makes sense.

    In fact, to be honest, these are the kinds of films that I expect some people would be a little annoyed anyone would defend or suggest are "good" cinema. Still, there you go.
     
  7. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    In fact, to be honest, these are the kinds of films that I expect some people would be a little annoyed anyone would defend or suggest are "good" cinema. Still, there you go.[/QUOTE]

    I think I understand what you mean. I have said some positive things about certain films that are,quite simply,unpleasant.I will be happy to admit that these films are unsettling,even squirm inducing.Still,if the director has set out to get a certain (dark)reaction and can back it up with strong film craft,I can respect the film for what it does,pleasant or not.
     
  8. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    There's no reason that cinema can't challenge, after all. However, there are some taboo subjects, or just simply subjects that are sufficiently off-color that they demand to be treated from a distance, as it were. Rape is obviouly one of those, especially rape of schoolgirls, which is a bit of a theme here.

    Yet as I wrote earlier, films such as I Spit on Your Grave have courted some critical credibility over the years, and if exploitation fare like that can manage it, then I know Angel Guts can too! The only thing is, ISOYG has a central rape, while Angel Guts films vary - but usually include multiple attacks.

    Mind you, the emotional impact portrayed in Angel Guts is far and beyond what ISOYG managed. ISOYG pushes the devastation into a simple little revenge story to allow for some more violence and gore to be shown. In Angel Guts there really isn't any escape for people who have no help for their pain. So at times, these films are rather helpless. I won't ruin the final film for you, but that one just leaves a big black hole in your gut after it ends - for example.

    There's a Lodger moment in one of the films, also. And an attack in that is particularly nasty. Things aren't always resolved, aren't always tied off with a bow - you know?

    Nah - this is great stuff, if extremely challenging at times. You should be able to pick up the box set quite easily mate.
     
  9. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for the tip,I'll check these out when I'm in one of my ''dark and reflective '' moods.Christmas,maybe !
     

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