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View Full Version : My review of SHOGUN'S SADISM (aka OXEN SPLIT TORTURING, orig. title USHIAKI NO KEI)


gorelover
12-17-2003, 01:34 PM
Synopsis:
Set in the Tokugawa period in feudal Japan, two stories containing scenes of extreme violence and torture are presented to the unexpecting viewer.
The first one takes place in ancient Nagasaki of 1628, where Christianity was outlawed and avowing Christians were forced to foreswear their belief or be murdered. A sadistic magistrate has Christians tortured for his own amusement.
The second one is set in Fukagawa in 1821. An imposter is forced to work in a brothel as handyman to pay off his debts. The prostitutes there are being treated with uttermost brutality to make them pliable. Soon he can't take it any longer and persuades one of the prostitutes to abscond with him. On their way, they commit several petty crimes until they're being caught by local authorities and brought to justice.

The movie:
When I first put this disc into the player, I didn't quite know what to expect. From searching the Internet I knew this movie originally was released back in 1969, so I thought of something comparable to the typical Japanese mainstream movies of that time. Yet after watching the first minutes, I realised this was different stuff.
Both stories are being told in a half-documentary way, which reminded me of 'Men Behind The Sun'. Storylines are less important (though existent), main focus lies on the various torture scenes which from a technical standpoint are pretty well done. It clearly shows that this is no low budget production, there has been put a fairly amount of money and effort into it.
Be warned that you've got to have a strong stomach to sit through this movie, some examples of the gruesome scenes shown are

- decapitation
- crucification
- drowning
- rape
- brandings
- performed abortion
- bashing
- stabbing with spears
- emasculation
- dismemberment
- quartering

The transfer:
Japan Shock did a new anamorphic widescreen transfer from the original 35 mm negative, and the movie looks amazingly good. Quality-wise I'd say you could almost compare it to the recent 'Once Upon A Time In The West' release from Paramount where the source material is about as old. As usual in Japanese movies, frontal nudity is blurred. One funny (some would say distasteful) feature of this DVD is the main menu: You see a scene in a backyard of some Japanese estate with three torture victims, one's being hanged and is missing the lower part of his body, the second one's sitting in a cauldron with boiling liquid, the third one's being burned at the stake. Now if you select a menu option, a torture animation starts to play, eg the guy being burned at the stake starts to scream while the flames blaze all around him burning him to ashes. Geez now this is my kind of stuff! ;-)

The DVD:
Shogun's Sadism
Japan 1969
Director: Yuji Makiguchi
Cast: Yuusuke Kazato, Rena Uchimura, Akira Shioji, Masataka Iwao, Ryuuji Nagashima, Yuusuke Tsukasa, Tetsuo Fujisawa
Language: Japanese DD 1.0
Subtitles: English, German, Dutch
Region Code: 0
Video Format: PAL, 2.35:1 anamorphic Widescreen
Label: Japan Shock
Extras:
- Slideshow
- Trailer show
- Original trailer
- Scene selection (8 chapters)

http://www.diabolikdvd.com/covers/shogunssadism.jpg

-gl

Erich
12-17-2003, 04:09 PM
Nice review - I had not even heard of this movie, but I'm glad I did now. So is the dvd out in stores, or is this more likely an online purchase?

gorelover
12-17-2003, 05:11 PM
Japan Shock is a Netherlands-based distributor so I guess you won't be able to find the DVD easily in stores in the US (if at all). But online shops offering import DVD's should have this title listed; one I know of is http://www.diabolikdvd.com/.

-gl

DefJeff
12-17-2003, 07:02 PM
Yeah! Thanks for the awesome review man, I was acutally going to post if anyone knew this movie in the Asian section a few days back, but it slipped my mind. Now I am going to go ahead and order it, the cover and title really had me interested.

Also, btw- Xploitedcinema carries this title too.

Tom Servo
12-17-2003, 07:15 PM
Sounds like something I will need to watch. Thanks for the information.

chi
12-17-2003, 07:51 PM
Not really my kind of film.

Much better than the Ginipiggu movies, though, IMO.
Those bore me, generally speaking.
This film is much more watchable, but may leave you feeling just as icky afterwards.

For what it is, I think it was very well done.

Erich
12-17-2003, 08:33 PM
I just checked at HK Flix and they have the same Japan Shock disc you reviewed - and it is region 2. Do you know if there is a region 1 NTSC disc anywhere? (I really do plan on getting a good player soon, but first I must survive buying Christmas presents).

gorelover
12-17-2003, 11:39 PM
@Erich: I believe some shops got it listed as Region 2 because that's what it says on the cover. But the DVD info utilities I'm using (Nero Info Tool, DVDInfo) tell me it's Region 0, and so far these have never been wrong. :-)

-gl

Erich
12-18-2003, 06:33 AM
Good to hear about the Region Coding - maybe I will be seeing this one sooner than expected, then.

BloodMan
12-30-2003, 09:14 PM
I got this in recently. Perdy good special effects... for the time it was made anyway! The thing with the feet was damn sick but amazingly well done. I want to get one of the other titles in this "Joys of Torture" series called Yakuza's Law! Its all yakuza stuff and there are lots of sword fights and blood splattery stuff. :)
Those crazy asians! Gotta love em!

Nick