There are moments of intense beauty to be experienced at the New York Asian Film Festival and, in turn, there are moments of violent gratuity. The U.S. premiere of Horny House of Horror last Friday was one of those latter moments. Jun Tsugita’s directorial debut, HHOH is a delightful sleazefest with enough boobs, blood and dismemberment (emphasis on the member) to make Russ Meyer break into a wide, posthumous grin.
Dedicated to the men of the world, the film is a riff on Japanese massage parlors as three ne’er-do-well friends pony up 3000 yen apiece for a jag at the new Shogun Massage Parlor. You see, one of the group is not only about to get married but is still a virgin, and if he’s really going to quit the baseball team he sure as hell better grow a pair and get laid. Seems reasonable enough, right? Well, reason quickly gives way to penile pandemonium. With gore effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura of Tokyo Gore Police fame, these johns are ripped to shreds in the most imaginative of ways. From metallic vagina dentata to rolling a prick up like sushi (and eating it, of course), Horny House of Horror wastes no time moving from pink film to exploitation splatterfest.
Speaking of pink films, HHOH doesn’t stray far from its genre roots. The film evolves to become quite reminiscent of the “Pinky Violence” films of the 1970s. Down-on-her-luck Shogun employee Nagisa (played by Saori Hara) takes control of the second half of the film as she rallies the newly-castrated men in a fight to the death against her fellow cannibalistic hookers (the beautiful Asami and Mint Suzuki). The second act is an incredibly well done, irresistibly gross homage to hyper-empowered femsploitation flicks – but don’t worry, Tsugita isn’t pandering to his audience, he’s giving them exactly what they want.
Horny House of Horror doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a tongue-in-cheek lampoon on sex workers and the men who love them. Tsugita doesn’t bother to moralize or veil commentary, instead using his directorial debut to have fun with his audience – and who doesn’t want to have fun?
Horny House of Horror is screening again on Tuesday, July 12. The NYAFF is having fun at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center and the Japan Society through July 14. See the full lineup here.