Edogawa Rampo Ryokikan: Yaneura no Sanposha
Tanaka Noboru's atmospheric and darkly sensual adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's short story gets a fine presentation on DVD in this edition from Mondo Macabro. Yaneura no Sanposha (aka The Watcher In The Attic) has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 2.35:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. The transfer is excellent; the source materials are flawless, and the image is sharp and well detailed with an attractive and realistic color balance, and the presentation honors Noboru's elegant visual style. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo, retaining the film's original monophonic sound mix, and the fidelity is very good, sounding clean and crisp throughout. The dialogue is in Japanese, with optional English titles but no multiple soundtrack options. Bonus materials include a The Erotic Empire, a short documentary on Japan's Nikkatsu Studio and the "Romantic Pornographic" films that were their bread and butter in the 1970's and 80's (the same documentary appears on several other "Roman Porno" releases from Mondo Macabro); an interview with Jasper Sharp (author of Behind The Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema) in which he discusses The Watcher In The Attic and Noboru's work; text essays on the film and Nikkatsu; trailers for five Nikkatsu titles available from Mondo Macabro, and a seven-minute montage of clips from other Mondo Macabro releases. Given the rarity of The Watcher In The Attic in the United States, the mere fact that Mondo Macabro has released it on DVD in North America will be good news for fans of Japanese genre cinema, and it's even better that they've made it available in an edition that looks and sounds this great.