Synopsis: Miki, a young and talented ballet dancer, is accepted into an exclusive, and very private, academy run by a mysterious woman named Kaibara Akiko. Miki wants to further her dance education and rekindle her relationship with her boyfriend, but soon discovers all the horrible perversions forced upon the academy students. She is subjected to constant violent sexual acts and torture and realizes there may be no escape! With similar tones to Italian horror maestro Dario Argento’s masterwork SUSPIRIA, SEX HUNTER: 1980 is one of the more controversial entries in the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection. The depictions of disturbing sexual violence so concerned Nikkatsu studios, they actually warned director Toshiharu Ikeda to tone things down for his next film!
eyelights: the lovely ballet dancers. the Japanese rope work.
eyesores: the physical, psychological and sexual brutality on display.
“Such beautiful petals, already full of nectar.”
When my favourite indie video store closed its doors a couple of years ago, in desperation, I hurriedly grabbed pretty much everything of interest while I still could. They had a pretty sizeable collection, including some Hollywood fare, but mostly iconic, indie, world cinema and, of course, some obscure stuff.
I picked up a lot of sexy films, and one of them was ‘Sekkusu hantâ – sei kariudo’, which fell under the “Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection” banner by Impulse Pictures. There were a bunch, each more lurid than the next, so I decided to pick the one that was the most historically distinctive of the lot.
The thing with the Nikkatsu films is that they weren’t exactly erotic in the traditional sense; they were part of subgenre called “Roman Porno” or “Pink Films” which were often focused on BDSM. It’s something I’m not especially fond of, though I do enjoy erotica and welcome the opportunity to see Asian ones.
Released in 1980, ‘Sekkusu hantâ – sei kariudo’ (or ‘Sex Hunter’, as it’s inexplicably called in North America) takes us to an exclusive dance academy run by Akiko, a former ballet dancer. After seeing Miki, an up-and-coming dancer, perform ‘Odette’, she offers to take her in and train her to world class level.
But what Miki doesn’t know (until it’s too late!) is that Akiko’s techniques are unorthodox to say the least: all of her students are forced to perform humiliating and extreme sex acts as part of their conditioning. Miki is soon coerced into all manners of sexual experiences by her new mentor and her cruel staff.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Sekkusu hantâ – sei kariudo’ has very little plot. It’s basically a series of mental, emotional and physical violations strung together into 68 minutes of obscenity. As such, it’s not a terribly made picture, with performances that are better than porn but worse than blue movies. But it’s vapid.
The thing is, the only plot development of note is that Akiko’s brother was once Miki’s boyfriend. But, after moving to the United States, he had a terrible accident and is now wheelchair-bound. Miki was unaware of this and finds out when she bumps into him at the academy. She tries to renew their relationship.
Thereby becoming Akiko’s rival.
Because, yes, the picture also has incest in it. That didn’t particularly offend me, being consenting adults and all, but much of the rest did. I just can’t handle unconsensual sexual activity. And there’s tons of it. What’s ironic is that the Japanese had no problem pushing boundaries but then blurred the sex itself.
I did like one thing, though: the Japanese rope work was really intricate and pretty. I love the look of it, even though it looks uncomfortable as all get out and I’m not into the whole bondage dynamic. But there’s skill involved and it could easily be appreciated as art – if you can get past the implications.
But it’s not much to go on; ‘Sekkusu hantâ – sei kariudo’ has very little else to recommend it. It might be of interest to viewers who dig BDSM erotica, but beyond that there’s precious little to it. I guess it’s to be expected from pornography, but I expect a lot more from erotica – as this is claimed to be.
Truth be told, I didn’t find this especially sexy.
Date of viewing: April 2, 2017