What They Say:
From the moment she and her fellow students arrive in the mountain village of Yasaka, Mikoto knows that there is something very wrong with this tiny town. Can it really be true that, for 50 years, not a single girl has been born in this isolated community?
Despite the fact that Mayor Amano and the other all male residents have enthusiastically welcomed her and the other three coeds attending Professor Ashihara’s overnight seminar, Mikoto can’t shake the sense of increasing dread that consumes her. Something horrible has happened here. Something that is about to happen again. Because the town has been waiting for her. And the other girls. From the pages of the hit online manga published in Web Comic Gamma, the nightmare is about to begin!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is fairly simple in its approach so it doesn’t have much to work with in the audio department but it functions well as a clean and clear mix that has no problems during playback here. The swords clanging and some of the music stands out a bit more as well as some aspects of the action sequences in general, but a lot of it sticks to a kind of flat standard stereo design that doesn’t work much in the way of placement and depth. It’s totally serviceable and fits the show well though and it’ll please those that are fans of it.
Originally released in 2017, the transfer for this special is in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Clocking in at just 75 minutes, it’s got plenty of room to work with and generally looks pretty good. It’s a very earthy looking film without a lot in the way of material that stands out, though some of the bloody sequences are striking in their color vibrancy. The film looks like most others within this genre that I’ve seen over the past decade and you’d be hard pressed to tell if this was made now or fifteen years ago beyond the aspect ratio portion of it. Fans of the film will like the results here as it’s a clean looking encoding with no problems to be had from the source material.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that utilizes a good looking visual design. The focus on one of the women with their dress torn and bloody while standing in a lake of blood sets the tone well, as does all the murky background elements to it even if it doesn’t make much sense from within the film itself. The back cover has a decent shots from the to the left while the right breaks down the premise. The shots from the show bring the different forms that the special runs and we get a simple list of production credits before hitting the technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Known as Shishûgoku: Ki no hen in its original title, the first of two parts for the Corpse Prison movie series is… largely indistinguishable from so many other films that Switchblade Pictures brings over. Originally getting a limited theatrical release in June 2017, it comes from production company Leone and was directed by Hideo Jojo. While working as a second director on a lot of more traditional films, he does main work on more unusual films like this one where it’s focused on horror and sexuality in pretty standard ways. I can see the appeal for a lot of fans in that it’s something that in a lot of ways has not changed over the years because you could put this with any number of similar handicam films from twenty years ago that I’ve seen and other than crispness of the visual encoding it could have been made then just as easily.
This is based on the manga of the same original name from Makine Muroi that wrapped up with five volumes. The premise deals with a professor coming to a remote village with four female students and a female assistant of his that he’s actually secretly in a relationship with. The village is one that’s a curiosity from a historical perspective because it survived numerous famines and other problems of the last six hundred years or so that has left it in a place where no girls are born to villagers anymore. So how did a village survive back then is certainly worthy of figuring out or at least exploring since it’s so remote and could have curious secrets. Naturally, the college students don’t dress for the occasion as they’d look fine walking down a city street or on campus if they were done up a bit and we see that there are little secrets in here as well, notably with one girl that’s writing the work for another because she’s really, really, interested in her and hopeful to consummate it.
The film is pretty predictable from the opening sequence as it goes back in time a bit and shows a woman running through far too familiar woods, being overtaken by a group of men who accost and strip her so they can hold her down and… chop off her foot. That there’s a foot amputation ceremony taught to the new arrivals in the present as it’s done to welcome new brides is creepy in seeing that afterward. The men in the village are all friendly and there isn’t much leering but we see behind the scenes where they’re essentially just waiting for the son of the chief to make the choice for his bride before they start passing the rest of the girls around for themselves. So they have to do their best to control themselves for the duration, which isn’t easy because these dudes need sex as it’s been so long.
Yeah, it’s pretty much standard shlock material. Again, we’ve seen these kinds of guys and situations so many times before. Corpse Prison in its first part doesn’t offer up too much in the way of new but there’s a fun dream sequence that looks super cheap with the human parts for food and we do again see some of the women taking control and fighting back as best as they can as they try to survive. This is standard fare with some not surviving, a few different threats coming into play, and some help from the inside as well. It’s simply formulaic, though there’s potential for the second part to do something different. But what we get here is just the kind of stuff that doesn’t work for me.
The first of two parts, Corpse Prison plays to familiar ground and doesn’t do anything new. As it adapts the manga, I’m assuming it’s following it fairly closely as the women begin to discover what kind of disturbing secrets exist in this remote village and just how much danger they’re in because of it. Switchblade’s release is pretty basic with the film here being the thing but the encoding is solid and it looks cleaner and more modern, as it should, compared to most of their usual properties. Sadly, the film itself is just more of the usual psycho/sexual slasher material that struggles to do anything more than the most basic of things. Perhaps the second part is where things get changed up and more interesting.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: D
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Switchblade Pictures
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.