Wife to Be Sacrificed (1974)
Director: Masaru Konuma
Writers: Yōzō Tanaka
Starring: Naomi Tani, Nagatoshi Sakamoto, and Terumi Azuma

The Plot: Makiko (Naomi Tani) is a middle-aged domesticated woman who has her world turned upside down when she runs into her estranged husband, Kunisada (Nagatoshi Sakamoto), who is sitting on the roadside watching a pre-pubescent girl urinate at the time of their re-acquaintance. It is inferred that he has kidnapped this little girl, and later the little girl turns up looking for Makiko because her “uncle” has disappeared. Makiko turns the girl over to the police and later the cops return to Makiko asking for information on Kunisada. It seems that Kunisada went missing three years ago after being arrested for sexual advances on a high school girl. The psychotic Kunisada isn’t done yet, though, as he follows Makiko one day and kidnaps the poor woman so that he can bring her to the mountains and perform numerous degrading sexual acts with her. Kunisada eventually brings another couple into his den of sexual horrors and the rest of the film will detail their attempts to survive.

The Review
When Nikkatsu, Japan’s oldest film studio, decided to get into the pinku film business, I’m sure that their intentions were never to create films like Wife to Be Sacrificed. While nowhere near as bleak or mortifying as many latter day roman porno films tended to be, Wife to Be Sacrificed shows the quick turnaround that the genre was making in order to turn a profit. As with all things, without change the norms become stagnant. Although Nikkatsu had revived their studio in 1971 with the roman porno line, by 1974 they were once again having troubles. If stories are to be believed, the studio had been actively trying to seduce actress Naomi Tani into signing with their studio. Tani had become well known within the independent pinku market as being an actress who was very comfortable with the S&M genre. Tani, knowing what buttered her bread, refused to join Nikkatsu because of their reluctance to touch the S&M genre. Yet, money talks, and in 1974 they entered into the realm of whips and chains by bringing Flower & Snake to life. This would be the first pairing together of director Masaru Konuma with Naomi Tani, but it certainly wasn’t their last. Within the same year Tani and Konuma starred together in this S&M-heavy roman porno that stands out as a very influential and important title in the genre, even if it isn’t a spectacular movie.

Wife to Be Sacrificed is a film that immediately jumps into some very harsh territories. The main antagonist of the film, the vile Kunisada who is played by Nagatoshi Sakamoto, is in fact immediately shown to be a child molester. In an uncomfortable sequence at the start of the movie, he can be seen watching a young girl use the bathroom on the side of the road. In the next scene we find out that the girl is indeed only a child that he has kidnapped and was using for his sick gratification. By the time he actually captures Naomi Tani’s character, we know that this movie stands zero chance of being another variation of Blind Beast. By the time the movie reaches its infamous “outhouse” scene, there’s no question that this is a Nikkatsu movie that has left the realm of “romantic” erotica. While the movie doesn’t delve deep enough into the excesses of exploitation to become excessively disturbing, Wife to Be Sacrified is pretty blatant in its willingness to shatter taboos. This was indeed part of Naomi Tani’s artistic sensibility, and it seems that Masaru Konuma was more than happy to go along for the ride.

The previously mentioned “outhouse” scene is one that will go down in infamy. It takes place early within the movie, after Makiko is dragged to the cabin, and in one of her first degradations she is walked to an outhouse while held on a leash. Yet, things get worse for Makiko, as her master – and the audience as well – watch in detail as she defecates onscreen. The camera lingers just long enough to catch a quick glimpse of the excrement, from a side angle, and yes, it is incredibly disgusting. Whether or not it was real, I can not say. However, it is a very blunt way of showcasing our villain’s power of Makiko. I think it goes without saying that Konuma could have possibly handled the scene with a little more tact, but this is the world of exploitation. This is certainly a way to grab the attention of potential viewers. This is a scene that few viewers will ever forget, because it isn’t every day that filmmakers are this crass. The rest of the degenerate activities in the film include rape and various forms of rope and wax torture. Then, of course, we also have the use of an enema as well, but it’s better that I not go too far into all of the disturbed nastiness that awaits viewers who sit down to watch the film. At the end of the day, unfortunately, the nastiness is the main draw for Wife to Be Sacrificed. Although some elements of it are fun or engaging, it is mostly holds a “car crash” appeal. Sure, there might be something worthy of titillation to some viewers, but primarily it’s the fecal matter and insensitive dehumanization that has gathered a viewing audience for the movie.

Wife to Be Sacrificed is ultimately quite typical of what the roman porno genre would become. It is a movie filled with shocking content and a dirty mind, but aside from being a piece of genre excess, based upon the principles of showing its audience how daring it is willing to be, it doesn’t take the viewer into many new areas. The basic concept is that this is a feature that isn’t afraid to delve into the S&M genre with an uncompromising approach, but for viewers with more than a few late era roman porno titles under their belt, this may not be the most “fresh” film that they will come across. I would also dare say that our leading antagonist, being a child molester and a rapist, is hardly the ideal candidate for a role model in the S&M subculture. With more in common with the true-to-life Marquis De Sade, this character is unfathomably villainous. It creates another strange paradox in the film and is partly why the movie has lasted and retained such a high reputation in some circles. Despite being so horrible, it seems as if we are supposed to warm up to this character. Despite the movie being beautifully shot, it deals with some very profane content. Despite this being a “romantic porno,” our main protagonists are bent on destroying love. This is the strange world of Wife to Be Sacrificed.

The Conclusion
To be honest, I don’t know what to make of the film. Ultimately, it is thoroughly well made and is certainly a pivotal and important movie within the genre, but it doesn’t bring a tremendous amount of new content to the table. A story of sexual liberation set within cramped quarters could describe a dozen other movies from this period. Seeing a woman covered in hot wax also doesn’t hold the cinematic punch that maybe it once did. Still, judging it based purely on the story and content, Wife to Be Sacrificed is well worth searching out. It’s bizarre, disturbing, shocking, beautiful, and packed with a strong enough story that it holds everything together in a fairly convincing manner. I give it a three out of five. It’s a bit on the average side, knowing what came after it, but some of the visuals and the shock value make this one worth owning. Currently, as of February 2013, the movie is available on Netflix instant watch. If you get the chance, give this one a spin and judge its shocking content for yourself.