True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues (1975)
Director: Koyu Ohara
Writers: Koyu Ohara and Akira Momoi
Starring: Kozue Hitomi, Arikawa Mihoko and Yoshii Akiko

The Plot: True Story of a Woman in Jail picks up where the first film, Sex Hell, left off. Mayumi has been released from solitary confinement, where she has been handcuffed and living in the dark, and now she is placed in a new cell with several other inmates. These girls are similar to her former roommates, but only nastier. These women have a tendency to bully on the new girls, and they begin by forcing bottled liquids into some very private orifices of the new girls. As our story progresses, we see that this small gang of bullies are also closely tied with one particular guard who has affiliations with the yakuza. The yakuza are looking to use this prison as a form of recruiting girls, and this inevitably leads to blackmail, violence, and even rape. Will Mayumi find a way to fight against this corrupt system, or will it finally swallow her whole?

The Review
Throughout my journey into the Synapse/Impulse “Roman Porno Collection,” it has become obvious that it is far more difficult to pinpoint what a true “roman porno” is in comparison to other sex-related genre pictures made in Japan during the same era. The only true tie between roman porno titles seems to be that they were produced by the same studio, which was Nikkatsu. At the start of this entire craze, the world was introduced to a series of independently produced sex movies which became part of a genre known as pinku. These were often-artistic endeavors that explored human sexuality in very carnal ways. Eventually Nikkatsu got into the sex-movie game with their Roman Porno line, which was described as “romantic porno,” and at the same time another big stuido, Toei, developed their “pinky violence” line. This was the landscape, and while early pinku movies were noticeably a part of the same world, and the pinky violence line had a definitive look and feel to their movies, the titles that I have seen within the roman porno world hold only one primary characteristic: sleaze. Despite their romantic title, a film such as True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues is hardly anything that I would recommend watching while on a date. Not unless your partner is fairly open and wants to have a randy time.

For those who are coming into this title looking for sleazy content, you will not leave disappointed. True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues is a smorgasbord of nudity, exploitation, and violence, all wrapped up in a package that provides very little content that could be considered “safe for work.” Indeed, going through this movie and looking for proper screen captures is like walking through a minefield. Although this may be a tiny bit hyperbolic, there seems to be less than three minutes between each sex scene within the movie. I know that on one occasion I counted less than one minute between scenes where one character was molested, and the next where a group of characters began to shed their skin. Even though the Japanese are notorious for hiding their pubic regions, there is an intense amount of nudity to be found in Continues. This is both a positive and negative aspect regarding the film, depending on the viewer, but I have never been one to complain about a little nudity. The audience that a film like this attracts should of course have no troubles with nudity either, but I believe that even the most sleaze-adoring audiences will expect a bit more plot and narrative than what Continues manages to provide. This is something that I will get to in a moment, but for now, I’ll delve into the trashiness that this movies packs.

This isn’t a movie that is going to be filled with subtle content. I can assure audiences of this. If the “golden shower” scene from the first movie didn’t push the boundaries of good taste enough for you, well how about a bath tub full of women urinating on our leading lady? True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues certainly takes the perversity level up a notch, that much can definitely be said. Nearly every scene features women carousing around whilst naked or having hidden lesbian sex scenes of some sort. When we’re not watching numerous girls sexing each other up or having some other form of forbidden intercourse, we’re watching an instance of disturbing violence. Along the way, as a combination of the aforementioned sex and violence, we’re even dealt a very graphic and extended rape sequence that seems to run on forever. I mean, this movie gets downright nasty at times. From human slavery to trading sexual favors in exchange for pleasantries, this movie thrives on sensationalism and it encourages everything that an audience member can possibly drain from this sort of excess. If you’ve come for nudity, then be prepared to leave happy. The sex is fervent and unrepentant. As I’ve already said, the nude scenes come so frequently that there’s barely any time that passes between sex scenes. Truly, there are more scenes featuring cast members naked than there are with cast members wearing clothes.

There’s some fun with censorship throughout the movie as well. There are mosaic censor bars that show up on occasion, but sometimes they are bit odd. The Japanese censorship laws require that pubic hair be blocked from general viewing, but here in Continues we find that the backside of some cast members are blurred out during sequences that involve heavy petting and thrusting. These moments are decidedly odd, but they tend to catch the viewer’s attention. Ultimately, the relationship between these girls is the aspect that is supposed to make this movie thrive, as opposed to the insane amount of nudity, but unfortunately there’s not much going on other than the sensationalism. While there seemed to be a driving force behind the story within Sex Hell, this is all mostly abandoned for Continues. Instead, all semblance of plot and narrative are thrown out the window in order to watch two lesbian cooks sneak off to a closet so that they can have a sex scene. The characters aren’t very well developed, and I realize how silly this complaint sounds when you realize that I am talking about a movie named True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues, but the point remains valid. By the time the movie ends, there are very few recognizable faces within the cast. Few manage to stand out, and it becomes easy to lose sight of what should be important. Afterall, why must we see Masumi’s mother have a full sex scene with a random yakuza. Sure, it shows the hard reality surrounding these women and it ties back in with another accompanying storyline that focuses on said yakuza, but was there need to fill up this much screentime with such fluff?

If the job of a sequel is to take all aspects of the first movie and then amplify them, then sure, Continues might be considered a resounding success. However, if the job of a sequel is to remove the aspects that didn’t work the first time around, while also amplifying the things that did work, it is a lot trickier to argue that this is a great successor to the original film. While I find the raising of the sleaze factor to be commended, and no doubt that this is a very gritty women-in-prison movie, but the lack of plot and by-the-book genre conventions can be frustrating. There are points in the movie where the plot seems to completely stall. Eventually the movie seems to flow from one sex scene to the next with very little else going on. Yet, when the plot does start to move, Continues offers very little that audiences haven’t seen before. Truthfully, it offers very little that audiences didn’t see in the first movie. From the initial “girl gang” who intends to initiate the new girls by torturing them in sexually-sadistic ways, to the “scorned woman who seeks revenge” motif that forms during the second half of the movie, there’s not a lot in the plot of this movie that will surprise audiences. However, the same could be said about numerous Lucio Fulci films. So, this is a question that audiences will have to wrestle with themselves while watching.

The Conclusion
There are numerous negatives and positives within True Story of a Woman in Jail: Continues, and I sit somewhere on the fence about its ultimate merits. The exploitation bar is set very high in this one, but the meandering plot certainly hinders how much fun audiences might have with it. For women-in-prison fans though, this one certainly seems worth checking out. I give it a three out of five.

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