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FAIRY IN A CAGE
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by:  Koyu Ohara

Starring:
Naomi Tani
Hirokazu Inoue
Reo Okamoto

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
An evil Judge is super mean and loves to torture people after kidnapping them. A pretty girl and a Kabuki actor get snapped up and tortured. One of the Judge's men falls in love with the girl, and goes against his master to try and set her free.
Is it good movie?
This 70's exploitation flick is another one of those movies with very little plot and a whole lot of rope bondage, which is great if you're into that sort of thing. This one mixes all kinds of rope bondage with primitive torture techniques which are designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. Some people apparently really like this bizarre, erotic form of torture and I'll admit that the flick is shot artfully, though it more than occasionally leans into porn. Seriously, there's a ton of nudity throughout this movie. If you're not into dudes forcing themselves on naked, bound women, avoid tis. It's not for kids.

If you can't stand forced sex acts of genital torture and other weird things like that, you might want to avoid this. At one point, people are covered in itchy liquid and have to just rub up on one another to satisfy that. Weird, I know. There's even a strange pee scene thrown in for good measure. Though this is not the kind of film that turns my crank, Naomi Tani is our "rope queen" here and she plays the role quite well. She's both attractive and pretty sympathetic at the same time.

The movie claims to be ultra controversial, but after so many years having gone by, is a bit tamer than you might think. The film is shot quite well, and seems to have a higher budget than most exploitation films I've seen. The WWII setting is a bit of a throwaway excuse to tie up a couple of people and torture them, but the setting is put together with a certain authenticity and care. It's kind of jarring to see a film of this nature filmed with care and a certain theatrical sheen, if that makes any sense. Still though, I feel like over half of the film takes place with the poor girl screaming with almost no dialogue.

There really isn't much else I can say about Fairy in a Cage. It's not my style of flick, it didn't turn me on and didn't overly disturb me (though the film is quite hard on its female protagonist and I don't advocate this sort of thing being done to anyone, period!). If you're a big fan of this sort of genre (Japanese Exploitation), then you'll want to add this one to your collection. Otherwise, unless you're into plenty of torture veiled by thin historical motivation, you might want to avoid this. It's a bit random and specialized for the average horror fan.
Video / Audio
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen that holds up really well, coming off quite colorfully given the age of the print.

Audio: Japanese mono 2.0, relatively unimpressive. Thankfully, not dubbed.
The Extras
All you get are liner notes from Japanese Film Scholar Jasper Sharpe, which provides some historical context, and a few other notable things about the history of the film and some of its cast.
Last Call
I can't help but feel like this film has a pretty specific audience, but I don't think I'm included in that audience. I'ts neat to get a foreign perspective on an older genre, but I can't say I identified with it enough to recommend it. Again, if you love the art of rope bondage and seeing a pretty girl all tied up, this is one for your collection!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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