Thursday, February 25, 2021

FLOWER AND SNAKE (1974) (Impulse Pictures Blu-ray Review)


Label: Impulse Pictures
Release Date: March 16th, 2021
Region Code:
Duration: 74 Minutes
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Audio: Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Original Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Director: Masaru Konuma
Cast: Naomi Tani, Nagatoshi Sakamoto, Yashuhiko Ishizu, Hioko Fuji

Flower and Snake (1974) is a legendary Nikkatsu erotic production from the seventies, this one starring Makoto Katagiri (Yasuhiko Ishizu) as a mama's boy who lives with his mother, Miyo (Hiroko Fuji, Nympho Diver: G-String Festival), 'natch. Mom operates some sort of kinky bondage-themed basement photography studio/bookstore, she's a kinky old broad, but Makoto's own sexuality is a bit flawed. He was emotionally scarred by an event that happened when he was young, having walked in on the sight of a black U.S. soldier having sex with his mother, unable to comprehend that his mom was a prostitute he shot the soldier with his own gun, but the G.I. managed to grab the kid around the neck before dying. That event not surprisingly left him emotionally scarred and impotent. Now an adult he is incapable of getting aroused by women, and resorts to whacking off into Kleenex, which when finished he tosses into a wastebasket he keeps in the closet, and performing a tint ceremony to mourn the death of his unborn children.

Makoto works for an elderly businessman named Senzô Tôyama (Nagatoshi Sakamoto, The Red Petal Is Wet) who is fond of BDSM and sex games, but his younger new wife Shizuko Tôyama (Naomi Tani, Fairy in a Cage) not only won't indulge her husband's BDSM fantasies but seemingly won't even allow him to touch her. The increasingly frustrated Senzô is left to vent his sadomasochistic fantasies onto his put-upon housemaid Haru (Hijiri Abe, New Eros Schedule Book: An Offering of Fine Skin). At the start of the film she is at her master's mercy in the rose garden, where he subjects her to creepy crawly bug torments and an forced enema that leaves her running through the yard with her butt cheeks clenched.

At his wits end with his wife's refusal to be his submissive Senzô hires his employee Makoto to stage a kidnapping of his wife, paying him to keep her prisoner and break her spirit, in an effort to mold her into a sexual plaything that will be more pliant to his sordid fantasies. Makoto knocks her out with a Mickey-Finn placed in her tea and takes her to a field where he attempts to rape her, but is unable to get an erection as he experiences a flashback to the black soldier he killed as a child. He then takes her to the home of his mother and ties her up, as the sexually frustrated Makoto begins work on making his employer's hot wife a submissive he is also working through his own sexual baggage and slowly overcoming his mental-induced impotency.

Adding the sexual delirium is the participation of his kinky mother in the sensual tortures and rope bondage that Shizuko is put through. The mom even invites her staff to have a crack at breaking the woman of her aversion to sadomachistic sex acts, but for some reason she is none to pleased when her son begins to overcome his impotency. Makoto reports back to his employer every few days with audio recording of is sessions with is wife, but the employer begins to worry that maybe Makoto is having a bit too much fun, and that he is in fact developing feelings for his attractive wife, and he is correct.

Flower and Snake (1974) is a tense watch, the rope bondage, repeated rapes, and multiple forced enemas are not for the less adventurous cinema-fans or the faint of heart, but the pulse-raising sexual seen fervor throughout is undeniable. Censorship of the era dictates that no genitalia can be shown, the sexpot body of Naomi Tani is on full display in all other respects, and she is put through the wringer. The breast-bondage is a sight to behold, and it is both alarming and titillating, her face contorted in expressions of both extreme pleasure and pain, selling the nuanced range of emotions. The finale of the film has a few interesting twists and turns as well, one involving the truth of Makoto's childhood trauma, and another that casts Shizuko in a different light altogether.

Audio/Video: Flower and Snake (1974) arrives on Blu-ray from Impulse Pictures presented in 1080p HD and framed in 2.35:1 widescreen. The movie gets a nice filmic looking transfer with an appreciable amount of film grain with some excellent fine details in the close-ups. The source is clean aside from some minimal white specs that pop-up, and the colors are warm throughout. Audio comes by way of original Japanese 2.0 mono with optional, newly translate English subtitles, the audio track is clean and without issues, a solid uncompressed audio presentation.

The single-disc release arrives in a standard keepcase with a one-sided sleeve of artwork with the Blu-ray disc inside featuring a tantalizing rope-bondage scene from the movie. There are in extras on the disc.

Special Features:
- All-new high-definition restoration from the original camera negative provided by Nikkatsu Studios
- Newly-translated removable English subtitles

Flower and Snake (1974) is a gorgeous and challenging erotic film, but it is Naomi Tani who absolutely steals every scene with her dedicated performance,  able to convey both pleasure and pain as she is put through in scene after scene of elaborately staged rope bondage. If you're a fan of BDSM cinema and thrill at the sight of rope bondage Flower and Snake delivers all of that in spades. Another great looking Nikkatsu catalog title gets a solid Blu-ray from Impulse Picture. 

Screenshots from the Impulse Pictures Blu-ray: