Secret Chronicle: Torture Hell/Comments

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< Secret Chronicle: Torture Hell
  • There’s no denying Noboru Tanaka was one of the better Japanese directors of the 70’s. From a technical point of view he’d be almost sure to deliver quality film each time. But he also had a tendency for these distant, dialogue loaded dramas that always seem to score with the critics (A Woman Called Abe Sada being another example). Prostitute Torture Hell stars Rie Nakagawa as a prostitute known as ”death bringer” after many of her customers have died mysteriously. Needless to say the business isn’t blooming for her. As usual for Tanaka’s films, the film mixes sexploitation and arthouse, the emphasis being on the latter. There’s a couple of visual standout scenes, but most of the film consists of dialogue. Prostitute Torture Hell is the middle part in the Secret Chronicle trilogy. The first film, Prostitution Market, directed by Chusei Sone, was a hilarious comedy. Tanaka’s sequel however is a very serious affair with a handful of dark humour. Tanaka also directed the excellent final film, She Beast Market, which was set to modern day and shot in black and white. The (english) title of Prostitute Torture Hell is accurate but misleading; it’s symbolic. There is no torture as Nikkatsu audiences would understand the term. The movie also goes by a commonly used alternate title; Hell Fated Courtesan. --HungFist
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