Madame de Sade

Original title: Madamu Sado: Mesu jigoku 
Japan, 1986
Director: Yoshihiro Kawasaki
Stars: Machiko Wachi, Kazuyo Ezaki, Isshiki Hikaru
IMDB: 6.8

In the 1980s, Nikkatsu produced a bunch of S&M themed Roman Pornos with distinctive airbrush-style promotional posters such as the one shown at right. Naturally one wonders what kinky delights await the intrepid viewer of such material, so I set out to track one down.

Turned out to be no easy task. Madame de Sade, also known as Madame Sado: She Beast in Hell, has not as far as I can tell ever been released outside of Japan. Yeah I know, probably with good reason right? Well, thanks to dedicated amateur aficianados, this masterpiece of cinematic perversion has been resurrected - and subtitles produced - to allow the film to live on and find a new audience worldwide (if you know where to look, that is).

OK, so my liberal employment of the word 'masterpiece' is admittedly playing fast and loose with the Queen's English, and you'd be completely justified in raising an inquisitive eyebrow. I take it back.

So what's it all about? Well hey, it's porno - usually the story would be little more than a flimsy scaffold to support the sexual vignettes, and of no significance whatsoever. Luckily, we're in Roman Porno territory here, a cut above, so actually there IS a story. There's even characterisation, machinations, revelations, and all that other filmic stuff. (In addition to the domination, flagellation, strangulation, fornication, urination, masturbation, etc).

* Note: While Roman Porno is erotic, and contains the word porno, it is definitely not PORN as we would define it in the West. For a start there are absolutely no genitals shown - and along with a reasonable cinematic quality, ensures it belongs more in the genre of Erotica.

The film starts by introducing us to Reiko (Machiko Wachi) as she is jilted at the altar - her fiancee Ryoichi not only failing to appear, but going completely missing. Although she doesn't know it yet, his ex Yumi (Kazuyo Ezaki), in a fit of jealousy has him chained up in her attic, refusing to let him go. Even dressing as a bride to complete her fantasy.

Not only that, as the title implies, she's a bit of a sadistic bitch - dispensing humiliations and degradations on Ryoichi with the aim of forcing him to completely forget his fiancee and become her obedient dog. Hell hath no fury... and all that.

Anyway, months later it seems Reiko has given up on Ryoichi ever returning, and has developed something of a carnal itch. Coincidentally, and rather incestuously, a convenient substitute is on hand in the form of Ryoichi's younger brother Shinji, who works with her in her jewellery business and seems more than a little interested.

Inviting him to a home-cooked dinner after work, soon enough they crack a bottle of wine together and flirt, only to be interrupted by Shinji's girlfriend Midori (Isshiki Hikaru) who has no intention of leaving him alone with Reiko. After all, he's a bit of a dweeb - and Reiko's a certified sex bomb.

After Shinji leaves, Reiko is not only drunk, but moist too. Left with nothing but a half eaten dinner, the dinner table, and an empty wine bottle - what's a poor girl to do?

Get creative! In a completely gratuitous, undeniably redundant, but neverthless astonishing turn of events, she scoops up an unidentified white substance from her plate and lathers it lasciviously over her bright red lips, spilling it all over her chin in what I can only assume is some kind of Freudian metaphor. But that's not all ! After whipping her top off, she spreads the food messily over the rest of her body, before discovering that the table leg is seductively hard, and proceeds to grind up against it.

It's a pretty sexy scene - but that's still not all! Remember the wine bottle? Well in the interest of good taste, I'll leave that to your imagination!

What am I saying? We're no purveyors of good taste here at Twisted Flicks, especially concerning the good bits. Yes, I can confirm that she proceeds to enjoy a rather intimate, extended, and gratifying sexual liaison with the wine bottle - sometimes in close-up, and almost certainly without the benefit of CGI.

I say "almost certainly", because this of course could never be decisively ascertained due to the standard optical censorship that Japan requires by law to cover all genital areas in their films. Consequently this scene, and many others, are blurred by a large foggy patch over the relevant areas which is of no small detriment to the film. Don't get me wrong though, the scene is still hot as hell.

Anyway, Shinji is not going to be denied some of that action, and promptly breaks up with Midori in order to fuck and fall in love with Reiko. Bizarrely, it turns out that Midori works for Yumi (you know, the bitch that has imprisoned Ryoichi?), and has told her about the situation. So Yumi suggests that Reiko and Shinji visit her and Midori to try to find an amicable solution.

But Yumi has an ulterior motive.

Without going into detail - all our main characters (who are all convolutedly related to each other in various ways) end up in Yumi's house together, including Ryoichi of course in the attic. Yumi and Reiko battle it out in a tale of revenge, passion, treachery, and outright debauchery.

By the end of the night, pretty much everyone has fucked everyone else, and in a wide variety of configurations. The imagination involved in cramming so many perversions into one movie is breath-taking, and actually pretty impressive, even if it doesn't always make perfect sense

Interestingly, it is the MEN who are the unwitting pawns of these two powerful women, which makes for an interesting reversal.

For a film containing such highly sexual ideas and situations (of which I've described only a small portion, trust me!) - the story, acting and cinematography is of a remarkably high order. For those who enjoy some titillation in their movies, but cannot put up with the cinematic dross so often exemplified by most adult entertainment, I can most certainly recommend.

Also, and importantly for this type of film, Machiko Wachi is a stone-cold knockout. She not only looks fabulous, but is given plenty of opportunity to show her acting chops as well.

Rating: 7/10

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