Studio: Impulse Pictures
Theatrical Release: June 10th, 1983
DVD Release: April 10th, 2012
Directed By Hidehiro Ito
Review By Craig Sorensen
Ami (Ryoko Watanabe of Love Hard, Love Deep) is a dissatisfied wife. Sure, her husband is a successful doctor and provides any material need she may want but sexually speaking, she’s dissatisfied. So when she hears about the Madame Michiko Society Club her curiosity is aroused. She immediately gets a job during the days servicing clients. Things go downhill from there.
Well, Debauchery certainly tries it’s best to live up to it’s namesake. I think for the most part it falls a little short of that descriptive title. A lot of the film plays like any other eighties/nineties erotic thriller (even though this is from ’83 it feels much later to me for some reason). You’ve got some extremely overwrought melodrama involving a sexually dissatisfied wife. You’ve also got her sexually frustrated best friend and her old college friend who still holds a strange obsession with her. Of course you’ve also got the whole prostitution angle which has always lent itself rather well to melodrama. So far all this sounds fairly standard. This could be the plot of any number of bad Cinemax films or Red Shoe Diaries episodes. Not that that is particularly bad or anything, its just not all that inspiring. One strange thing though, the film feels more like a horror film than something designed to titillate.
Of course, where Debauchery really comes alive is during the sex scenes. They’re not all that explicit in terms of nudity (at least compared to your standard American Shannon Tweed film) but they make up for that in kink. There’s a lot of strange bondage going on here. You also get Watanabe fucking what looks like a crazy wrestler (which seems to go on forever) and being led around on a leash like a dog. Yeah, there is a kind of a nasty undercurrent of misogyny through the whole thing. Maybe it’s the cultural differences, viewing this as a westerner on the outside, I don’t know. Not that everyone who is into bondage is a misogynist or anything, but it is about power and subjugation.
Anyway, beyond my misgivings of the bondage, there is still a lot to enjoy here. The acting is uniformly good from everyone involved. Ryôko Watanabe easily carries the film and the rest of the cast is great in their roles. In similar American fare, something like this would be kind of half-assed, filled with ditzy models who couldn’t act to save their lives. Debauchery is treated like a real film. The film is well shot by Minoru Yoneda and director Hidehiro Ito keeps things tightly paced. I did really like the end of this, which comes completely out of left field. I don’t want to spoil it but it wouldn’t feel out of place in a late 80’s Cronenberg film.
Debauchery looks great on Impulse Pictures new DVD. Colors look very natural, including the flesh tones which are pretty important in a sex film. Colors really pop in the brothel scenes as they should. The print is in very good shape. I didn’t notice any kind of damage or dirt. Everything looks really good here. The only audio option is the original Japanese mono. Dialog and music both sound great and the slimy sound effects (use your imagination) come through crystal clear. The only extra you get is the film’s original theatrical trailer.