Rape! 25-ji Bokan marked the point at which Nikkatsu studios took their violent <i>pinku eiga</i> sex melodramas to the limit of the Japanese public's admittedly lenient tolerance. Although the film made a great deal of money, public reaction was so negative (anticipating the I Spit on Your Grave controversy in America) that Nikkatsu halted production on all similar ventures for nearly two years. Akira Takahashi plays a gas-station attendant by day who is a ruthless serial rapist called Crimson by night. He does things like dragging waitresses to an old movie theater and brutally raping them. The police can't catch him, and after an appalling assault on a famous ballerina, various vigilante groups form to stop the reign of terror. The film's (literally) jaw-dropping finale has a gang of gay punks beat Takahashi senseless, knock out his teeth with a hammer, and gang-rape his bleeding mouth one by one. It has been argued that the picture is veteran filmmaker Yasuharu Hasebe's metaphor for his disgust at the sadism of 1970s cinema in Japan (some of the victims are named after popular <i>pinku eiga</i> starlets), but the same "metaphor" argument was used by Pasolini in 1975 and Zarchi in 1975 for their respective assaults on audience tastes. Just as in those cases, any point which Rape! 25-ji Bokan may have is lost in the barrage of sickening violence. Needless to say, it is quite a popular cult item on videocassette.
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