Nakagawa's most ambitious film, a cult item in Japan, is wildly eccentric. Shot mostly on bare studio sets with a lighting style even more theatrical than the acting, it feels like a weird piece of fringe theatre in three acts. Act 1, in Tokyo, sets up the characters' moral failings. Shiro (Amachi) is a student engaged to his professor's daughter Yukiko (Mitsuya); under the influence of the demonic Tamura (Numata), he's involved in both a hit and run accident which kills a yakuza and a taxi crash which kills his fiancée. Act 2, in rural Tenjoen ('Paradise Garden'), adds assorted dissolute adults and has Shiro fall in love again, this time with Sachiko (Mitsuya again), who turns out to be his sister. Mass poisonings kill everyone. Act 3, in Hell, gives Shiro the chance to redeem himself by rescuing the soul of his and Yukiko's unborn daughter; everyone suffers lurid tortures. A Buddhist twist on the old US film Dante's Inferno, this actually anticipates the traits of Corman's contemporary Poe cycle: guilt-ridden characters, tacky visual effects, outré compositions in 'Scope.
Cast and crew
Ichiro Miyagawa, Nobuo Nakagawa
Shigeru Amachi Yoichi Numata Utako Mitsuya Jun Otomo Hiroshi Hayashi