Tumbling Doll Of Flesh
Released by: Massacre Video
Released on: February 14th, 2017.
Director: Tamakichi Anaru
Cast: Tamakichi Anaru, Yujji Kitano, Kanako Ooba, Kiku Rin
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Written and directed by Tamakichi Anaru, the same man who gave us 1999’s Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts, Tumbling Doll Of Flesh (also known as Psycho: The Snuff Reels) revolves around a woman named Kana (Kanako Ooba). She’s an adult film actress, paid to have sex on camera. She shows up at her latest shoot and things go normally enough – she has sex with her male partner, Kiku (Kiku Rin), and then they break for a bit. After the break, however, things get increasingly unsettling as the director and the cameraman (Tamakichi Anaru and Yujji Kitano) get in on things.
First she’s tied up and penetrated. As this rough play intensifies she makes it pretty clear that this isn’t what she signed up for and once she hits her limit, she puts a stop to it. Temporarily, at least, because soon enough she’s knocked out. From here? She’s tied to the bed and then basically raped and eventually dismembered and disemboweled for the rest of the movie. And amazingly enough, it manages to get even more extreme before it is all over with.
To say this is light on plot would be an understatement but works in the same way that the Guinea Pig films work. Rather than try to pull off the impossible on the low budget he clearly had to work with, Tamakichi Anaru instead manages to get frighteningly believable performances out of his cast members and also deliver some pretty solid effects work. The fact that all of this is shot on tape like the cheap porno it’s supposed to be replicating helps to make things more convincing than they would be otherwise. The down and dirty DIY aesthetic of the ‘movie within the movie’ completely works, and before this starts to get rough, you’d think you really were just watching any one of a million SOV smut flicks. Despite the fact that the mandatory optical fogging/mosaic effects (used to censor anything with actual penetration or visible pubic hair) are in place as required by Japanese law, you won’t have any trouble suspending your disbelief.
Pretty and petite Kanako Ooba deserves a gold medal for her work here. Her suffering is plenty believable and this woman is put through the ringer. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that this is all fake but you wouldn’t know it from her reactions. The three male cast members are all good here too, realistically deviant and cruel, enjoying themselves way too much as they go about cutting her up, gut-fucking her and essentially raping her as she murder her. This movie is pretty fucked up.
Tumbling Doll Of Flesh is presented on DVD in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio. As this was shot on video, it looks like the tape source that it is but it is in quite nice shape. There are no tape lines or tracking rolls to note and while detail is about what a good quality VHS tape could provide, colors look good. There is a ‘Psycho’ watermark in the top left corner of the movie during the entirety of its running time (likely inherent on the tape master).
A Japanese language track is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 with optional subtitles provided in English only. Again, the limitations of the source material are apparent here but overall the audio is fairly clear. The levels are properly balanced and there aren’t really any issues to note.
Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, a still gallery and bonus trailers for Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts, Suicide Dolls, Black Past, Nurse Jill and The Undertaker. Menus and chapter selection are also included. The disc also comes packaged with some cool reversible cover art.
The Final Word:
Tumbling Doll Of Flesh is, if nothing else, a cinematic endurance test. This one is notorious for a reason, it’s pretty sick stuff. The performances are disturbingly convincing and the effects, if not always spot on, are pretty close. Massacre Video brings this notorious Japanese shock film to DVD for the first time in North America looking about as good as it realistically can. Not a movie for all tastes, of course, but for fans of extreme Japanese cinema, here it is.