Tokugawa Irezumi-shi: Seme Jigoku
1969 / 94m - Japan
Horror, Crime
Inferno of Torture poster


July 24, 2020


A classic Teruo Ishii feature. Torture and tattoos, featured in equal measures. Ishii made a name for himself directing films with rather taboo subjects and Inferno of Torture fits the bill. The nice thing is that Ishii is actually a rather gifted director, so his films are never truly cheap or sleazy.

The film highlights the "industry" of tattooed virgins and a professional feud between two tattoo masters, as they try to come up with the most unique tattoo set on the fairest skin. The contrast between their skill and aristry and the abuse of their human canvases is pretty effective and keeps the film interesting.

Performances are decent but a little overdone, the cinematography is nice though and aptly captures the beauty of the tattoos. It's a pretty impressive spectacle, though it probably should've been a little shorter as the story isn't really beefy enough to support the 90-minute runtime.