Year of Release - 1996
Rating - Unrated
Director - Hisayasu Sato
Running Time - 76 Minutes
Distributor - Discotek Media
One of the more notorious low budget Japanese gore-fests to see limited distribution outside of its native land (the film was released on DVD in Europe by Japan Shock out of Holland), Hisayasu Sato’s Naked Blood (or, as it’s titled here on this new region one release from Discotek Media – Splatter: Naked Blood) is an interesting mix of intelligent storytelling and flat-out nasty gore effects.
Eiji (Sadao Abe, who has shown up in Uzumaki and Miike’s The Great Yokai War) is not your typical teenage boy. He might look that way on the outside but he’s actually a bit of a boy genius. His studies have lead to the genesis of what he describes as sort of an ultimate painkiller, a narcotic that will completely revolutionize the medical industry as we know it. Eiji’s problem is that he’s unsure how to go about testing his newfound drug until inspiration hits him – his mother also works as a scientist in the field of contraceptive technology. She’s got plenty of willing female subjects at her disposal and so, without her consent, he adds his painkiller to a new contraceptive that she’s working on. Soon enough, three beautiful young women have opted to work as guinea pigs for his mother, and unwittingly for Eiji as well.
To document his findings and ensure that his research is actually valid, Eiji secretly follows each of the three subjects so that he can document his findings. He soon realizes that things are not going as planned – rather than acting as a simple painkiller his drug instead has turned the principal of pain into pleasure for his three unwitting subjects. As he videotapes what happens to them he finds himself a spectator to some of the most depraved acts one can imagine as the three girls begin to mutilate themselves in search of a new sexual high.
Naked Blood has enjoyed some notoriety over the years for its gore effects, and for good reason. It isn’t often in a film that you see a woman slice off her own nipple and then eat it nor do you see a girl pierce her own flesh or stick a fork into her eye socket on a regular basis either.
While it’s true that these completely repulsive set pieces are going to be the main draw to the film for most horror movie fans, there is actually more to the film than simple shock value, even if that does play a very large part in not only what the movie is saying but also in how it chooses to say it. Sato’s movie seems to be questioning the merits of experimenting on people with pharmaceuticals and by throwing in a twist or two along the way it also seems to be taunting the audience, asking us if we want to see more and then delivering it whether we like it or not.
This is a provocative film to say the least and it is considerably smarter than its reputation as a gore film would have you believe. The acting at times is a little too quirky and there are a few questionable holes in the plot that could have been fleshed out if the movie were a little longer (it’s on the short side at seventy-six minutes) but fans of the more extreme side of Japanese cinema should find much to ‘enjoy.’
Discotek’s Region One DVD debut of Naked Blood arrives in a (sadly non-anamorphic) 1.85.1 widescreen transfer that lacks a lot of fine detail and shows some minor compression artifacts. It’s watchable, but it’s not going to win any awards for quality. The stereo track is in the film’s native Japanese language with optional English subtitles that are typo free and easy to read. Extras are on the lighter side, limited to a brief still gallery, a text biography and filmography for Hisayasu Sato, and trailers for five other Discotek properties either already on DVD or arriving soon.