Angel Guts: High School Coed

Three young male Japanese friends live a life at the bottom of the food chain, working dirty jobs, living in lower class squalor and raping women as a hobby. The three disenfranchised friends form a micro biker gang of three, although they only have two bikes between them. In this film we follow these three different, yet equally despicable young men as they burn rubber around an unnamed Japanese city, causing chaos and assaulting anyone they come across at will.

So you may have heard us talking about our adventures into the world of Takashi Ishii's Mange to screen adaptations know as the Angel Guts series. The thread which links these movies as a series is in fact very thin, All based on Adult orientated manga comics from the pen of Takashi Ishii, all produced as "Roman Porno", by the Nikkatsu studio in Japan and finally all link by there theme of sexual assault on the female gender, in the main part a central character who is always called Nami. If vivid depictions of rape on screen are a blanket no in your opinion, then what ever I say next these movies are probably not for you (Leave the review now.) Ok for those of you still here, I am going to avoid talking to much about the set as a whole other than to say this movie is very different from the others in the series which follow more the route of visually stylized artistic expression. High School Co-ed although it certainly has visual merits of it's own it goes for a much rougher realistic feel. This is a down and dirty experience ruff and raw right from the get go.

Let me say from the start, no matter how controversial this film, no matter how misguided it may be at times in its presentation of despicable and brutally inhuman acts, I like this film. I have seen other reviews where they pussyfoot around the subject matter, talk about the arty ness and almost apologise for the movie. Well I didn't make it, I don't neccesarilally condone it and so I won't be apologizing for it. For a piece of nasty, raw, low budget cinema, this movie blew me away. Chusei Sone a director I previously knew nothing about and who directed this and the very visually different second movie in the series Red Classroom is a genius. Anyone that can achieve this kind of movie in a 6 week turn around (Including all post production) and within the seemingly limited confines of Nikkatsu's Roman Porno genre (Pinku films) is a powerful talent.

Great as I think this movie is let me make one thing very clear, women get raped in this movie, in extended scenes that run the gauntlet of being tastelessly designed to be erotic (Don't forget Roman Porno is an erotic genre). Pretty much the second scene of the movie is a brutal rape, and before you start thinking about all the western rape revenge movies you have seen, the women in this movie get rapped, they get beaten and that's it, there is no fantasy nonsense in which the character gets all tooled up and comes back to pick off her assailants one by one. She gets used, then she gets thrown away, end of story (Nearly). The three protagonists in this describe women as being just "A bag of guts" and that’s just how they treat them!

The interplay between three of the most despicable leads ever put on film is fantastic as they fight for position in their micro biker gang, basically all three are alpha male types,Kawashimi the fighter, Kajima the sexual master (I can't call him a lover, he is a nasty piece of work) and Sada the Psycho. Unlike the other films in the series which centre on the female character Nami and her coming to terms with sexual assault and its after effect in this film she is more just a catalyst, a schoolgirl whose planned rape, causes strains in the micro gang which are irreparable.

Most problematic for me, other than the obvious rape and its depiction within the confines of erotica, was the very young look of the schoolgirls who are assaulted partially the character Megu who could easily have been 14 years old (And may well have been as her rape scene appears not to be as vivid)

The rape of Nami in the middle of the film is one of the single most brutal and shocking scenes I have come across, ok it may not have lashings of gore, but that's what this is about, this is the total degradation and use of the female character, which she is powerless to do anything about. As her assailant tells her "You're going to get raped and there is not a dam thing you can do about it", he goes on to point out it's all her own fault anyway.

Chusei Sone gritty sty-lings, fantastic high contrast black and white inserts and use of the thumping punky title track make this a movie that for all its unpleasaness deserves to be seen.

27 years ago this must have been one of the most shocking films ever to grace a screen and 27 years later, this is still one them. Raw, noisy, dirty, artistic, offensive, amoral and beautiful all at the same time, a must see for those who like to walk out on the thinnest branches of acceptability and taste.

Angel Guts: High School CoedAngel Guts: High School CoedAngel Guts: High School CoedAngel Guts: High School CoedAngel Guts: High School CoedAngel Guts: High School Coed

Buy It: amazon.com (Only available as part of the 5 disc box set which is now OOP and rare)


Angel Guts: Red Classroom

When a pornographic magazine worker becomes obsessed with the star of a rape film, he discovers the implications of the sex industry are wider reaching and much darker than he ever could have imagined.

The second edition in the Angel Guts box set sees director Chusei Sone, who also directed our initiation into this disturbing Pandora's Box, High School Co-ed, once more at the helm for the next, and equally uncompromising, glance down the dirty alley-way of sexual assault. Made a year later than its predecessor, Red Classroom is just as powerful in its portrayal of what is a notoriously problematic area for film. Taking the common Angel Guts theme of rape, Sone turns Takashi Ishii's manga to life once more with startlingly different effect to his previous work. Where High School Co-ed focused on the brutality of the act itself, Red Classroom looks at the horrific aftermath with frighteningly forceful results.

Red Classroom is not only, for me, the most stylistically competent of the series, but also the most compelling from its point of view. The only rape that actually takes place in this film is in its opening, where a group of middle-aged men gather for a seedy, smoky session around a 'blue' projection of a school girl rape. When one of these men, our pitiful protagonist Muraki (Keizo Kanie), becomes almost fetishistically obsessed with the female ‘star’ of this grainy and voyeuristic show, believing her to have a rare quality about her for a porn actress, he has no idea what a dangerous eye-opener this infatuation will become. You see Muraki works for amusingly titled porn magazine company Pornoc, where Carry On style joviality is all in a days work when your willing subject submits to gynecologically based titillation. Jaded with the sex industry, Muraki seeks out the object of his strange affections and finds her, Nami, not to be the lady he had imagined. You see Nami (Yuuki Mizuhara), far from the image of shattered innocence that once flickered on the screen before him, is now a prostitute with a voracious sexual appetite. In a hotel room rendezvous she tells him "Fuck me right now ... you'll see me vanish to some other place." But if Muraki isn't picking up the clues, he certainly latches on when he traces her after a missed encounter puts a three year separation between them. What he discovers in the distressing finale, as the film completes its full circle, is not only the devastating knock-on effect of sexual assault but of the dangerous blurring fluidity between the presentation of sex in the media and the actuality of its effect.

Intelligently and expertly directed, Sone presents a different view point of rape from a fittingly different style. Where High School Co-ed was rough and fast-paced as its biker gang subjects, Red Classroom is a slower, more deliberate study into a horrendous aftermath. Where the former took the voracity of the immediate situation, the latter is spiked with the elongated and bitter reality of mental and emotional turmoil. Replacing gritty realism with a sometimes surreal, sometimes Noir-ish tinge and an always ominous bass line, Sone shows the hulled shell of a former person is a very dark and disturbing thing indeed.

A striking, clever and stylish film, Red Classroom reaches far into the shadowy recesses of sexual assault and plucks out its dark, diseased heart 9/10 

Buy It: amazon.com | amazon.com


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