Inferno of Torture appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a watchable but erratic image.
Sharpness bore the brunt of the transfer’s issues, as definition seemed less than stellar. While some scenes offered good clarity, other felt somewhat soft and fuzzy.
I suspect that these issues stemmed from the source, but I couldn’t figure out why the movie came with so much softness. I discerned no storytelling rhyme or reason, so I found myself left with an image that usually demonstrated adequate clarity but that varied a lot.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. With a healthy layer of grain, noise reduction didn’t appear to become an issue, and print flaws remained absent.
Colors tended toward a sense of greens and reds, none of which boasted much vivacity. While not bad, the hues felt somewhat less than appealing.
Blacks seemed fairly deep, while low-light shots boasted mostly positive delineation. Really, the mediocre sharpness became the main issue here.
As for the film’s PCM monaural soundtrack, it fared even less well, mainly due to an awful lot of distortion. Speech always became rough and edgy, with a persistently brittle tone.
Music sounded shrill and harsh, and effects followed suit. The two-channel monaural lacked the centered quality I’d expect and leaned toward the right side of the spectrum. Though likely the fault of the source, this nonetheless became a pretty awful soundtrack.
A few extras appear, and we open with an audio commentary from film critic Tom Mes. He brings a running, screen-specific look at the background of studios and genre and the Japanese film industry of the era, director Teruo Ishii, cast and crew, and a few other areas.
Overall, Mes brings a pretty good look at the subject matter. While not the deepest exploration of the film itself, Mes offers useful insights about the genre and those involved, so this becomes a pretty informative chat.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find Erotic Grotesque Nonsense and the Foundations of Japan’s Counterculture, a 29-minute, 55-second lecture from film historian Jasper Sharp.
He discusses genre and cultural domains that connect to filmmaker Teruo Ishii and writer Edogawa Rampo. Though a fairly dry presentation, Sharp brings a fairly good history lesson.
A brutal exercise in nudity and violence, Inferno of Torture eventually attempts to redeem itself. Unfortunately, the movie seems so aimless and sadistic so much of the time that its eventual half-hearted stabs at narrative development fall flat. The Blu-ray comes with inconsistent visuals, poor audio and a few bonus features. Despite the ample views of attractive semi-clad women, this becomes a long slog to nowhere.