Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Koji Wakamatsu - Okasareta hakui aka Violated Angels (1967)
A voyeur, invited into a dormitory for nurses, remains behind to violate and murder close to a dozen of them. Some of the nurses attempt to talk him out of ending their lives and much of the film is comprised of these conversations, but the talk doesn't do much good. Most of the film is black and white and quite murky, but there are selected snippets of color to illustrate the aftermath of the killer's work. Bleak and slow moving, Wakamatsu attempts to provide a political subtext for the nastiness, but it comes across as pretentious. The stabbings, rapes and beatings are shot mostly at a distance, but the tone is upsetting and the constant screaming and general air of misery is palpable. The score, by Wakamatsu, is hypnotic.
It all feels cold and sincerely misanthropic if not naturalistic, committed to its dark vision, this definitely aided by the stark black and white cinematography, a very much dead and gone palate all the more effective for being spiked by a couple of splashes of lurid colour to show us the bloody extent of what we have seen. There isn't much depth to this one and the ending does spin things out into pretentious territory by aiming for broader social significance but the bulk of the film is as good a study in focused misogyny as I've seen in a while and it has nudity to boot which is a definite plus.
Why kill young, beautiful, compassionate, life-loving nurses? Well, why not, may be Wakamtsu's answer.
One of Koji Wakamatsu’s more infamous productions (and inspired by the real-life case of Richard Speck’s 1966 student nurse killing spree in Chicago,) Violated Angels is a compact celluloid acid trip into one man’s derangement as he kills a group of nurses and regresses to a child-like state. Acting more as a protest piece than Grand Guignol debauchery — although it strongly delivers the goods in that department, with shocking deaths filmed in lurid color by Hideo Ito (In The Realm of the Senses), and a bevy of ravaged beauties — the film draws a strong analogy between the man’s dehumanized actions and the Vietnam War protest movement going on concurrently with its production in 1967. Filmed Corman-style in less than one week in order to seize upon the wave of publicity wafting off of the Speck murders, this melancholy mini-masterpiece plunges the viewer headlong into ice-cold madness.
Subtitles:muxed English and French subtitles.