In the realm of the senses

One of the most controversial Japanese films ever made and banned in multiple countries upon release, In the Realm of the Senses is an erotic psych-drama about the increasingly heated affair between a maid and the owner of a hotel. Although often dismissed as a film dependent on graphic sex as a gimmick, what lies underneath is an intense story of love and madness that is powerful in it’s own right. Director Nagisa Oshima is the rare shock director with brains, skill, and passion to spare.

Brad has an interesting taste in art. Art. I was going to say art.

The two leads, Eiko Matsuda, as Sade the maid and Tatsuya Fuji as Ishida the hotel owner, are seriously strong and carry the film effortlessly. Sade is a volatile and totally maniacal character. She appears somewhat tragic at first, but her behavior becomes so erratic that you worry about what she could do next. Just when you think Sade reached peak craziness, she keeps escalating ever so further until the unforgettable finale has been reached. Matsuda gives a genuinely frightening performance

Ishida on the other hand is laidback, passive, and has no clue what he’s in for. He’s a lackadaisical type of guy who thinks that he can’t believe his own luck. Ishida always thinks he’s in charge until he comes to the disturbing realization that he really isn’t. And by then it’s too late. Fuji makes Ishida a likable bastard. He does a lot of awful things, including raping an elderly servant to death, but the guy carries himself with such a charm, that you begrudgingly side with him, even when he’s in the wrong.

The naked man is very kind in giving back-rubs, no doubt. Not sure why he had to be naked though.

The appeal is on the ever changing power play dynamic of their relationship. The entirety of their relationship is based around nonstop sexuality. Seriously, almost every other scene in the film is them banging. But what keeps this from being gimmicky, is how their actual relationship changes with each scene. One gets more emotionally involved. Then the other gets less emotionally involved. He gets more needy and she starts becoming more withdrawn. Then vice versa. People get involved. Some get pushed away. Jealousy creeps in. Then inevitable betrayal. And it only goes upwards from there. It’s one of the most fascinatingly destructive relationships in a film. With the whole deal being a middle aged guy finding a 20 something year old honey and getting more than he bargained for, this film feels like a primordial version of Audition. Only a version that is infinitely more graphic.

Graphic is a serious key word for this film. All of the sex is unsimulated, frequent, and skimps on no detail. Oshima created this film to shatter Japanese censors at the time, and any film where you can clearly detect “chafing” on the lead actor has most certainly done that. There is also some pretty serious S&M action that goes places that even jaded audiences would be surprised with. All of it is totally in your face and to such an extent that it manages to leave an otherwise well put together film in limbo. Realm is way too gynecological (and urological) for the viewers able to appreciate the quality of the film) and it’s too talky for the rain coat wearing crowd.

When you try to hard to impress your lover.

The finale of the film features something that will make all men in the audience squirm in their seats. It is so damn painful and realistic looking. Props to whoever had to research that, because it’s one of the all time most brutal looking when it comes to this particular act being in a film. Even Cannibal Holocaust couldn’t keep up with this film, and the Italians were notorious gorehounds.

If you are down for one aggressive, mind bending, occasionally terrifying erotic drama that is more likely to scare the crap out of eager dudes in the audience rather than arouse them, then this is your film. Japan has had tons of screwed up films over the years, and In the Realm of the Senses might be one of the roughest of the lot.

4 out of 5 golden cameras.




Originally banned in it’s native country of Poland for upsetting the Catholic Church with it’s wanton violence and sexuality, Diabel is a bombastic surreal horror film with seemingly limitless energy, style, and audacity. Diabel could very well be one of the most spectacular and powerful European horror films to end up this under the radar.

With help of Brad, we enter a strange new experience.


It is about Jacob, a nobleman executed for a treasonous plot who is given a second chance at life when he makes a bargain with Satan. Little does he know that the bargain involves him being compelled to murder nearly everyone who he comes across. Can Jacob get out of his deal with Satan while trying to save his lady love from marrying his sworn enemy, figure out who killed his father, reuniting with his mother, and avoid getting killed for a second time in a country caught amidst full scale war?

Brads look when Robin has to re-edit his review and thin it out a bit.

Like most of Zulawski’s films, Diabel makes for a visually excellent film. Cinematography is marked with a heavy blue and grey look, as if the movie was filmed underwater. Shadows and natural lighting are used extensively to create a world of mystery and intrigue. The camera sweeps and glides in a manner so effortlessly that it’s hard to believe that it was done before Steadicam was invented. Even the sets are extraordinary. Most likely using abandoned castles and mansions, the scenery is massive and gothic. Through sprucing up worn out structures, Zulawski has created an authentic 18th century environment that looks truly impressive. We get a truly extravagant looking film that resembles what silent film era expressionism and horror would look like when crossed with 70s era psychdelica.

The score of the film consists of loud, thumping guitar licks. Aiming less for period accurate music and leaning towards a Jimi Hendrix Experience meets Goblin sound. The editing of the visuals to the music is handled so well that I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t improvised as it was taking place.
As anyone who has seen the director’s later work (Possession) would tell you, the acting is completely bonkers. Almost every scene is a cacophony of hysterical screaming that viewers will end up loving or hating. Zulawski captures unrestrained madness and insanity like few other directors are able to. The film is able to balance itself somewhat with quiet scenes of mourning and tragedy, but it’s mostly giving the audience preparing for the next bout of rabid behavior.

Brad wants to sue FilmFett and accidently hires a nun.

The characters remain strong, with just about everyone holding their weight of the story. Jacob is a fascinating protagonist, as he goes from an honest man looking for answers to an insatiable serial killer almost every other minute.You will spend the entire film fearing for his life or cheering for his demise.The other central character is an unnamed pale man in a dark cloak who we are to assume is meant to be Satan. He gives Jacob back his life, but he also demands a steady body count in return.

There is also Jacob’s fiancée who has left him for a former friend that has become a wealthy aristocrat. It’s treated like a betrayal, even though it only occurred because Jacob died. Things get worse when Jacob’s fiancée sends mixed signals to both men and the wealthy friend starts a manhunt to end Jacob’s killing. These moments don’t really add much to the story aside from heightening the already decadent atmosphere.

Diabel is an exhilarating high concept slasher film about the mania of a populace when a country is on the brink of annihilation. It is one of the great underseen horror offerings of it’s time.





Written by the guy who drew Fantastic Planet, it’s Marquis, the story of the Marquis De Sade, as told with anthropomorphic animals. For those not familiar with that name, he’s the guy whose Sadomasochistic writings inspired Salo. Yes, in 1989, there was an adult-oriented puppet film that WASN’T called Meet the Feebles.
Marquis is a period drama/sex-comedy about a libertine writer who is imprisoned for obscenity and blasphemy. While locked away, the Marquis De Sade spends his time waxing philosophy, smuggling in supplies in order to write twisted stories, and talking to his penis. Yes, you read that correctly. On the sidelines, we see the struggle of Justine, the poor woman who the Marquis is accused of raping and impregnating, but who is actually involved in a much deeper political conspiracy. There is also a secret plot against the King of France that can throw the nation into a full-on revolution.
Brad you vile copycat you,me (Markus) already gone done did this one in 2015, read that Shit up HERE

The plot might be intricately designed, but it’s the truly wacked out visuals that will stand out first. The characters of the film are created through actors wearing animatronic puppet faces. These faces are designed to resemble various animals from dogs, pigs, chickens, rats, horses, camels, fishes, eagles, and so forth. They aren’t the most detailed, but they still have blinking eyes, mouths that are able to open and close, and capable of numerous facial expressions. Even the most normal looking of these creatures makes those found in the Land of Confusion music video look like a Sesame Street character. They are some of the freakiest and creepiest looking puppets to make it into a film. They are so intricately designed and bizarre looking, that even the dullest moments in the film hold our attention with ease.

As far as the characters and writing are concerned, we have quite a memorable cast. The Marquis makes for a likable protagonist, a quick witted intellectual and an advocate for freedom of speech. He is a lone man of reason in a country gone mad. I seriously doubt the real Marquis was ever this noble (especially with his numerous documented murders) , but a film this hallucinatory is able to get away with a romanticized take. The other primary lead is the aforementioned talking penis, Colin. Colin is highly mischievous and hedonistic, always trying to find to get some action. They both fight over who takes credit for inspiring Marquis’ writings and are often engaged in some pretty humorous debates about the virtues of the big head vs the little head. Their scenes together have serious chemistry and great comedic timing, which leads to many humorous moments where the rational minded Marquis has to resist the urge to not hump everything in sight. So prominent is his role in the film, that Marquis is basically a buddy comedy between a talking dog and his member.
Shut up dickhead, HAH got em

Sadly the other characters just weren’t given that much care. Justine is basically a whiny damsel whose brief romantic relation with the Marquis comes off underdeveloped and contrived. For supposedly being each other’s inspiration to living, there really isn’t a whole lot of interactions between them. Marquis has more of a relationship with his own member than he does with Justine. This could be intentional, but her segments still feel like filler. Juliette is another character that was capable of much more. A revolutionary who poses as a dominatrix in order to get closer to the Bastille in order rescue her comrades. Outside of a few clever gags where she uses bondage games to extract information from the royal guards, her character is underwritten to. Later on in the film, they do have her get involved with the Marquis, but this happens to close to the ending of the film to make much of a difference. The more effective side characters are the sneaky warden who keeps making passes at the Marquis, and the hypocritical Padre who chastises the Marquis on his obscene writing but gets off to his writings in private. The best writing and most humorous scenes involve these two cleverly written villains. They exist to serve the films theme of authority condemning artists for writing about the kinds of things that they do in private.
Next up, Brad reviews the Ridskolan franchise

The writing and story aspects of Marquis are intelligent and complex. It is a tale of censorship, hypocrisy, oppression, and political and artistic rebellion. Marquis cannot be accused of having no ambition. The problem is that there are so many topics and issues that it wants to discuss, that it’s short run time leaves a lot of these themes half-baked. All of it’s possible areas of discussion are left fighting over the precious few minutes of the film. It leaves a lot of the drama to be unengaging, the politics undercooked, and a lot of the side plots to be unimportant. The film works best when delivering raunchy gags, because it fits the fast paced and rushed nature of the plot. They are the parts that require the least amount of explanation and set up, and become the most rewarding. The only problem being that this ends up leaving the audience to grow tired of any moments of character development or plot movement just to move on to the next outrageous scene. Those who stick with the film in hopes of seeing insane racy humor are guaranteed to be satisfied, but the potential for a better film always seems to hover in the distance.

Marquis is a high concept raunchy comedy that doesn’t always hit the mark, but still remains an enjoyably baffling film for those with offbeat senses of humor. It is an appropriately wild sendoff for painter, political cartoonist, animator, and author Roland Topor. 2.5/5 golden cameras