Legendary Toei director Teruo Ishii tells three stories of moral sickness set during Japan’s prosperous Genroku era in this bloody follow-up to his sexploitation classic Shogun’s Joy of Torture, and the fourth entry in Toei’s ‘abnormal love’ film series. Ishii’s politically incorrect moral lessons paint a trio of tales of tragic heroines caught up in violence, sadomasochism, incest and torture.
Told in anthology style by an impassive physician (Teruo Yoshida), the first story follows Oito (Masumi Tachibana), an innocent young girl deceived by a handsome yakuza and sold into prostitution who finds herself in a doomed love affair with the man who brought her to ruin. The tale of Ochise (Mitsuko Aoi) is about the daughter of a rich merchant whose insatiable appetite for filth and perversion draws her deeper into violence, darkness and betrayal. Finally, the story of Omitsu (Miki Obana) follows a sadistic lord (Asao Koike) whose eye is caught one day by a beautiful member of his harem who shares his strange taste for pain and blood, but who holds a secret of her own that will destroy his entire household.
A stylistic about-face from the director’s prior work for Toei on the successful Abashiri Prison action series starring Ken Takakura, Ishii’s erotic films grew increasingly shocking, violent and strange, and Orgies of Edo finds him combining period film detail with carnivalesque grotesquerie to create his own particular vision of love and sex. This landmark ‘ero-guro’ film allowed Ishii to experiment with elements that would later show up in his masterpieces Horrors of Malformed Men and Blind Woman’s Curse, including the participation of sideshow performers and butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata.
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