Directed By: Naosuke Kurosawa
Starring: Erina Miyai, Yôko Azusa, Yuuko Ohzaki
Trivia: This film's Japanese title more closely translates to Rape Apartments
Zoom in: Sex Apartments is a Japanese Pink film belonging to the “Roman Porno” era, when the country’s major studios threw their hats into the exploitation ring by producing a number of erotically-themed motion pictures. Spearheaded by Nikkatsu, a studio formed way back in 1912, Roman Pornos were notorious for both their high production values and stories jam-packed with nudity and sex. But Zoom in: Sex Apartments goes a step further, paying homage to the Italian Giallos of the ‘70s by featuring an unknown killer in black whose victims meet a particularly gruesome end.
Shortly after her husband leaves to take part in a two-week long bicycle race, Saeko (Erina Miyai) is attacked and raped in a deserted field by a man wearing a black coat. Taking a moment to collect herself, she then proceeds to the apartment of a former lover to return a key he recently gave her, only to find she still has feelings for this man, who works as a professional piano tuner. So, the torrid romance they once shared is rekindled. But when the rapist sets his sights on the residents of her lover’s apartment building, most of whom end up dead as a result, Saeko slowly pieces together the attacker’s true identity, growing more and more convinced it’s someone very close to her.
Along with its killer dressed in black, Zoom In: Sex Apartments also borrows the dream-like ambiance present in many Giallo films, creating a world that straddles a fine line between fantasy and reality. And if you thought Giallos were hard to follow, just wait until you try and figure this movie out! The story that makes up Zoom In: Sex Apartments serves as little more than a means to string together the “money” shots of debauchery and murder, and after a lackluster opening sex scene, in which Saeko reluctantly gives in to her husband’s carnal demands, the film descends to a more dangerous level of depravity, where it will remain for the duration (not satisfied with simply assaulting his victims, the rapist also has a peculiar habit of setting their genitals on fire, and the first to suffer such a fate is an unfortunate schoolgirl).
Zoom In: Sex Apartments was my introduction to Roman Pornos, and while certainly an extreme motion picture, it left me with a longing to explore this particular era of Japanese filmmaking a bit further. How far I take my curiosity remains to be seen, but at the very least, Zoom In: Sex Apartments piqued my interest enough to ensure this first venture into the sub-genre won’t be my last.