The Film (5/5)
On a dark and stormy night, a tireless doctor invents the Dream Ring, a device that's inserted into a woman's womb and can video record every detail of her dreams or nightmares. Before doctor and his faithful nurse Naomi can put forth their groundbreaking female psychotherapy achievement, they're suddenly hanging from ropes around their necks, ropes strapped to the rafters of the doctor's basement lab. Sometime later, the lovely Reiko suffers from genophobia (fear of sexual intercourse) after a graveyard romp goes South with her boyfriend Jun. Reiko institutes herself at the Tachibana Clinic where the Dream Ring is being inserted in and experimented on Reiko to explore the inner workings of her wildly erotic subconscious state. At the same time, Reiko's also being hypnotized and exploited by a mystery person at the clinic whose using a small bell to trigger Reiko's hypnosis. A sinister plot is a foot at Reiko's sexual expenses and between her personal doctor Ayako, an oversexed head doctor of the Dream Ring project Dr. Katsuragi, and the powerfully lustful chairwoman of the Tachibana Clinic, one of them, or all of them, might be involved in this dastardly scheme.
As part of the ever wild, ever erotic Nikkatsu Roman Porno Collection series, “Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon” receives a honorable DVD release from Synapse’s most provocative label Impulse Pictures. The 1982 Japanese pink film is the third and final story unassociated installment of the “Nurse’s Diary,” aka Kangofu Nikki, series, helmed by “Zoom In: Rape Apartments” director Naosuke Kurosawa and stars pink actresses Maiko Kazama (Madame Caligula), Miki Yamaji, also from Zoom In: Rape Apartments, Jun Miho in one of her first feature length performances, and the late, experienced pink starlet Eimei Esumi of “Sexaul Assault at a Hotel.” The rosters fill outs with Maki Kawamura, Hideo Shirayama, and Kôzô Murao to complete the hetero carnalities.
You have to admit, “Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon” is an oddly titled film, but, then again, no pink film ever hones in on normalcy. The Kurosawa directed, Yuki Miyata penned outrageously offers explicit extremities in the parameters of uniquely splits genres that spliced in necessary primal acts of uninhibited sex with vengeful motivations, a giallo-style mystery villain, and a supernatural element bringing up the rear. Each facet is intertwined with the deeper understanding of our subconscious inhibitions and how they're controlled by outer influences - much in the way Sigmund Frued suggests, in his dream residue theory, that dreams are comprised and twisted from of our daily experiences. Kurosawa's film takes this notion to the extreme with vividly personalized suggestions spiked with unscrupulous motivations.
However, "Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon" is a pink film that's routinely laced with the upmost absurdity and, in this case, the "Dream Ring," with the built-in microcomputer, has to be inserted into the woman's vaginal canal, because, naturally, to obtain a woman's inner most private dreams you must first go through her womb. Additionally, the womb can be the warmly inviting and fleshly inner lining to attach and dangle a miniaturize hypnosis bell that fits snuggly against the pioneered Dream Ring, making Reiko the perfect test subject for a sinister scheme. To further the eccentricity, "Beast Afternoon" extravagantly takes advantage of it's namesake with color characters going purely instinctual by twisting their bodies into a hot heap of sweaty entanglement, especially in the caged orgy scene hued in a spicy red tint blanketing the dingy basement.
The orgy sequence peaks at Nobumasa Mizuno'o and director Naosuke Kurosawa's ability to deliver an unbelievably talented mise-en-scene structure, sprucing up an outlandish softcore film with horror, science-fiction, and lacivious undertones. Heading into the Reiko's dream sequences, Kurosawa adds pops of color dyes that mushroom cloud into quietly exploding and floating moments of dreamlike serenity. The soft touches of Kurosawa, like the dreamscapes, are throughout the entire film and executed very vividly in more than just one way. The details of precision placement, whether with props, angles, or even as simple as silhouettes, remarkably tell an attractive story saturated with a murder mystery and spectral abstract. Tailgating silence with only shoes click-clacking away on the sidewalk reminds me of great giallo suspense and, brief, very brief, moments of a hidden entity just, again, reminds me so much of the Italian horror element that I tend to forget Kurosawa's film is a Japanese product.
Impulse Pictures presents the 1982 "Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon" in anamorphic widescreen and I've forgotten how impeccable many of the Nikkatsu films have been presented by the Synapse label since months have passed since their last Nikkatsu release. The depth and range denotes a well attended to transfer with no signs of compression artefacts or edging enhancements. Colors, from natural skin tones to intendedly vivid hues, robustly pop and dream sequences are well done with soft and pillowy touches that don't lose the details. The shadowy blacks are deep, defined, and with little-to-no digital grain.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono stereo mix with optional English subtitles is good too. I'm not hearing any pops, hisses, or other distortions. The subtitle synchronization with the audible dialogue is right on the money and well timed. All audio tracks are balanced respectfully, giving the dialogue track the forefront, and not over doing the LFE during more action heavy moments.
Only extras included are the original theatrical trailer and DVD liner notes from Japanese Film Scholar Jasper Sharp.
"Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon" is one of the best pink films, in my humble opinion, with the genre-bending content strewn throughout the 66 minute runtime to make the film not only sexually alluring, but thought provoking, colorfully intense, and absolutely enjoyable. Impulse Pictures revives this 80's pink film back to modern life, making Kurosawa's unique flick seem agelessly encased from over three decades of destructive wear and tear. Recommended