Assault! Jack the Ripper Review
The FilmThe second of Mondo Macabro's recent Nikkatsu releases is an excellent example of how desperate the roman porno and pink sub genres became in trying to find an audience. Like other exploitation genres like spaghetti westens and gialli, violence and growing levels of explicitness offered a way of making products more intense and unlike what people could catch on their TVs. In fact, this film actually seems to be so deliberately extreme that it is almost a satire on the genre it represents.
After ploughing the furrows of geishas, kinky sex and sadomasochism, filmmakers turned to the taboo of rape and murder. Much as American filmmakers looked at outsiders in works like Badlands, this film found inspiration from real life to offer a supposed record of social perversion. Truthfully though this was sleaze for tired palattes and Yasuharu Hasebe's film seems to hammer home just how exhausted the audience's appetites have become.
Objectively, the director seems to give his audience what they want whilst satirising his own work at the same time. This story of a chef who discovers his sexual bloodlust through his relationship with a rebellious waitress is never quite what it seems. For a start, the female lead, supposedly the leading eye-candy, is far from an oil painting, and the initial drive of this couple to carry out a social rebellion as oppressed workers taking vengeance against more powerful types is eventually abandoned for the simple excess of meeting depraved tastes.
On one level this is clearly very offensive material which equates sexual assault with erotica. And that seems to be the point as Hasebe satirises and unsettles as the film builds to the deeply disturbing resolution. Some probably leave the film having had their cheap thrills, but I am not sure you are meant to leave it thinking better of yourself or the appetites that you have sated through watching it. I do rather think that you are meant to dislike how this mild mannered killer affects you and I think the proof of that is the choice to end the film as the director does.
If you enjoy knowing transgression in your cinema, then you may very well enjoy an interesting work. If you don't, then this is certainly something you need to avoid.
Transfer and SoundIronically, for such an unpleasant movie, this looks very nice indeed. The picture is relatively sharp with strong colours and confident contrast, and the film is presented in anamorphic at 2.35:1. Edges betray no hint of excessive enhancement and Mondo Macabro have done a fine job here.
Discs and Special FeaturesAnother all region dual layer disc containing almost identical special features to the ones on the Watcher in the Attic disc. The same episode of the Mondo Macabro series is included on Nikkatsu, the same trailer reel, and the same trailers and text essay on the studio find themselves on this disc as well. There is a different interview with Jasper Sharp who explains how the director left the studio when it started making roman porno films and was lured back. A text essay on the film completes the special features
SummaryIt's not going to win any humanitarian awards, as Assault! Jack the Ripper is sick and depraved. It is very well made and satirising the genre it represents though and if you want to watch the nastiness you may enjoy the verve of the film-making.
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Last updated: 18/04/2018 21:27:23