Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DVD Review: SHE CAT (1983)

SHE CAT (1983) 
Label: Impulse Pictures
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: Unrated
Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Duration: 87 Minutes 
Director: Shingo Yamashiro
Cast: Ai Saotome, Koichi Iwaki, Yoshie Otsuka

Dr. “Cat” Kagami is an OB/GYN with a haunted past and it seems to be catching up with her. While attending a social function she is the intended target of a failed assassination attempt on her life. In the aftermath she must deal with passion, betrayal and revenge. She Cat (1983) feels like something a little different for a Nikkatsu film of the era with more intricate plotting and and crime/revenge tendencies.

Not to worry pervs, there are still the prerequisite sex scenes peppered throughout every ten minutes but for the most part they just aren't quite as weird as some we've seen from this series. We have a very memorable woman-on-woman shower scene that's just delightful plus a second straight sex shower scene later. Not all the scenes are as sweet, one of the centerpieces is a brutal and bizarre rape scene at the women's clinic when several cronies arrive on scene in search of a mysterious skull -  which Ca carries around in a hat box - it figures into the plot. They rape a nurse and a woman's who has just had an abortion performed, then one of the perp inserts a speculum into the victims vagina and we have a strangely comedic POV from the inside looking out, gross and weird.

This certainly isn't the first time I've noticed a Dario Argento flavor during a Nikkatsu film director but director Shingo Yamashiro takes it beyond with a tracking-shot lifted straight from Tenebrae (1982), there's a lot of similarities. There's also a very Goblin-esque score the has a distinct Euro-cult sound, but the Argento influence is fleeting and diminishes as the film moves forward turning into a more of a crime-revengeer but it's memorable to say the least and quite welcome

Not so strange for a Nikkatsu production are a few corny moments of humor which comes by way of an amorous butcher and his unfortunate taste in women - or men dressed as women! The film ramps up in the final moments with a tense shootout and a tragic closing salvo - this is a recommend. 

The DVD transfer from Impulse Pictures is solid with strong color reproduction and black levels from source elements that are in great condition. The mono Japanese language audio sounds fine, not overly dynamic but balanced and free of distortion. Special features are limited to a trailer and writing on the film from Japanese Film Scholar Jasper Sharp. 

An engaging watch with the prerequisite sleaze you've come to expect from the a Nikkatsu production. Managing to come off as equal parts thriller and erotic cinema, the two marry well onscreen and this ends up being a memorable entry in the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection from Impulse Pictures2.5 Outta 5