“Zoom In: Rape Apartments“ (original Japanese title: Zoom In: Bōkō Danchi) is a 1980 Japanese violent porn film. It was produced as one of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno series.
It was the directorial debut by Naosuke Kurosawa, who had joined Nikkatsu in 1972, and had worked as an assistant director on many Roman Porno works during the 1970s.
Set in a new residential area with many housing complexes in the suburbs of Tokyo, it depicts a bizarre serial killing targeting women in the style of giallo.
It contains explicit sexual scenes and cruel violence.
Starring Erina Miyai.
Produced by Yoshihisa Nakagawa.
Screenplay by Chiho Katsura.
Cinematography by Masaru Mori.
Music by Shin Takada.
Distributed by Nikkatsu.
Wide screen. 68 minutes.
A full-time housewife Saeko (Erina Miyai) lives in an apartment of a housing complex with her husband Kōichi (Toshikatsu Matsukaze), who is a bicycle racer.
Saeko goes to see her ex-lover Takaya (Keijirō Shiga) while Kōichi is away from home to participate in local races.
Takaya is a piano tuner and he has just moved into a nearby housing complex.
When Saeko is going to the housing complex where Takaya lives by bicycle, she is attacked by a man dressed all in black (a trench coat, hat and leather gloves) at a vacant site.
The man puts a blindfold on her and rapes her, threatening her with an awl-shaped weapon.
Saeko meets Takaya again for the first time in five years. She has a sexual relationship with him.
The man dressed all in black commits a series of murders targeting women in Kibōgahara Apartments where Takaya lives.
The man dressed all in black attacks a high school girl (Miki Yamaji). He stuffs absorbent cotton soaked in volatile oil into her private parts, sets fire to it and burns her to death.
The next day, it is discovered that a naked body of another woman with burned skin is tied to a jungle gym in a park.
The father of the murdered high school girl goes insane and walks around playing a drum and reciting a Buddhist chant “Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō“.
In a housing complex under construction, the man dressed all in black attacks another woman and burns her to death. Saeko witnesses the man fleeing from the scene.
Saeko suspects Takaya as the serial killer because the man dressed all in black dropped a hammer felt picker (an awl-shaped tool for piano tuning) while escaping.
A vagabond girl Mayuko (Yūko Ōsaki) witnesses the man dressed all in black throwing a naked woman (a young housewife) into a garbage incinerator.
Saeko meets her friend Sachi (Yōko Azusa), a woman who runs a model store. Saeko has a sexual relationship with Sachi.
Takaya, who is dressed all in black, attacks Mayuko and tries to burn her to death in a vacant apartment of the housing complex under construction, but Saeko stops him.
Takaya suggests to Saeko that the serial killer is not him.
Mayuko goes up to the rooftop of the housing complex and shouts that Takaya Nakabayashi on the eleventh floor is the serial killer.
Takaya rapes Mayuko on the rooftop. Takaya and Mayuko fall to their death from the rooftop.
Saeko’s husband, Kōichi comes home. Saeko returns to her old life.
When Saeko is riding a bicycle, she passes a pregnant woman on the road.
The pregnant woman becomes a fireball. Saeko witnesses the man dressed all in black (Hidetoshi Kageyama) running away.
“Zoom In: Rape Apartments“ was produced as Nikkatsu’s second violence porn film following “Zoom Up: Rape Site“ (1979) directed by Kōyū Ohara.
Shōgorō Nishimura, who had directed “Apartment Wife: Affair In the Afternoon“ (1971) and many other Roman Porno films in Nikkatsu, was supposed to direct the film, but Kurosawa was selected as the director because Nishimura declined to direct it after reading the screenplay.
“Zoom In: Rape Apartments“ is a porn film heavily influenced by giallo, especially Dario Argento works.
It can be seen as a psychological thriller or horror film. It is a unique film among Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno series.
As seen in the scene in which the heroine’s vaginal secretions drip to the ground and flare up, fire in the film is a metaphor of sexual desire, which is hidden and repressed in daily life.
The surrealistic style of the film, which emphasizes visual impact more than storyline, is akin to Seijun Suzuki’s avant-garde films, such as “Branded to Kill“ (1967).
The scene of the ending part, in which a pregnant woman who becomes a fireball, is impressive.
The film was shot on location in Tama New Town (around Toyogaoka, Tama City), Tokyo.
The film captures characteristic landscapes which had been seen in the Japanese new town development period since the 1960s: residential land development, vacant sites like wildernesses, and housing complexes under construction.
The film was released theatrically as an X-rated movie in Japan in 1980.
In Japan, the film was released on DVD by Geneon Entertainment in 2006.
In 2012, Impulse Pictures (an offshoot label of the U.S. Synapse Films) released the film on DVD with English subtitles under the title “Zoom In: Sex Apartments“.