Assault! Jack The Ripper (1976)

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Overall Rating 62%
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Ranked #7,811
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Two restaurant employees begin a torturous and sexual killing spree after they accidentally kill a hitch hiker and find that murder and mutilation is their mutual aphrodisiac. --IMDb
Review by Tristan
Added: August 06, 2008
Just like any other night I'm out doing my internet rounds, searching for some obscure film that sounds interesting. Somehow I stumble across Assault! Jack the Ripper. The name catches my interest, so I decide to check it out. How I find these movies is beyond me, but the better question is why do I never find them sooner. I've seen a handful or so of the Japanese "pink films" but never felt that they were anything beyond a sleazy softcore film. Then I came across this one and while it wasn't the best movie I've seen all year, I still found it quite enjoyable and felt it deserved a place on our little site.

Our film focuses on a young waitress (Tamaki Katsura) and pastry chef (Yutaka Hayashi) who work at the same restaurant. One night he offers her a ride home and while in transit, they stop to pick up a hitchhiker. Unbeknown to them, this hitcher is suicidal and completely crazy, brandishing razors at them from the back seat. They quickly get rid of her, but end up killing her while trying to drive away. The waitress persuades the chef to not report the accident, and to instead hide the body. This sparks a moment of extreme sexual passion between the two, and they end up fornicating like rabbits in the man's apartment. The two realize that taking a life is the ultimate aphrodisiac, and go on a murderous spree to try and get that first night's passion back again. The end result is a trail of dead bodies, a lot of sex, and some twisted dark humour.

This is regarded as one of the best and most notorious violent pink films released by Nikkatsu studios. Don't think for a second I knew this information off hand, as I had to do a little research into this particular genre to learn this stuff. Thank you Wikipedia. Like I said, I've only seen a small amount of these films, but I can see why this one is among the most popular. While showing very little on screen violence, it manages to shock and disturb the audience with its relaxed and subtle murder sequences. Director Yasuharu Hasebe didn't use the traditional build-up-to-the-kill style of filming, nor did he go for the cheap scares. Everything flows along at a normal pace until suddenly, someone is dead and you have to go back and see how he snuck it in on you. On the other hand - to completely contradict myself - there is an exception where the kill scene is built up so much, you're on the edge of your seat, yelling at your TV for him to just get it over with. In the scene he slowly carves a girl's chest and neck with his knife, before finishing her off with a stab to her nether regions. I think Hasebe intended this to be "the kill" of the movie. It certainly was effective.

The sex isn't great, the murders aren't great, the acting isn't great, but for some reason I could not stop watching. With a run time of roughly 70 minutes, it could have almost been an episode of a horror themed TV show. Even better, it could have been trimmed down a little and stuck in some foreign horror anthology pack. 70 minutes is short for a feature film, but this one didn't really need the full 70. It didn't drag at all, but I could definitely see where cuts could be made. The focal point of the film was obviously the sex scenes, and there certainly were a lot of them. Almost every 5 or 6 minutes someone died, leading to another sex scene. Normally I wouldn't complain about something like this, but when there is so much potential for a really great Mickey and Mallory type story, I would have liked to see them go in that direction a little bit more. I also would have liked more blood and violence, but you can't win 'em all, right?

This one doesn't get an official Region 1 release until the end of October, but if after reading my review you're frothing at the mouth to see it, there's plenty of copies floating around on import DVD sites. Personally I'd wait for the official release, because imports tend to be of a horrendous VHS-like quality. I for one plan to pick it up, just because of how fun it was. A sex filled murderous dark comedy; could you really ask for anything more?

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