Pinku softcore porn films were big business for Japanese studios throughout the 1970s; so lucrative were these films, that when Nikkatsu was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1971, they were able to save themselves by focusing almost their entire output on the soon-to-be highly successful Roman Porno line. It wasn’t just big studios such as Nikkatsu making bank on the genre either; an entire ecosystem of small independent studios were able to sustain themselves purely by making pinku films. One particularly notable studio was Watanabe Production.

Formed by visionary pinku filmmaker Mamoru Watanabe, the studio, much like its founder, carved out an important niche for itself with surprisingly well-plotted films, which belied their paltry budgets, and elevated themselves to far beyond your typical skin flick. During this time, it wasn’t uncommon for larger studios such as Nikkatsu and Toei to distribute works from independent studios, both to pad out their catalogue, and to also bring a sense of spice to contrast their regular output. Watanabe Production became a regular collaborator with Nikkatsu, and in 1974 they released possibly one of the studio’s most bizarre films as part of their Roman Porno line: Semi-Document: Occult Sex.


One major benefit of the independent pinku studios was how quickly they could produce a film. With tiny budgets and hour-long run-times, indie pinku films could be pumped out in a matter of weeks. Much like South Park nowadays, where episodes can be made in as little as six days, this meant that filmmakers could react almost instantaneously to hot topics nationwide – an important skill for a genre that relied so much on scandal, and one that Watanabe Production arguably perfected. In 1973, magician, psychic, and charlatan Uri Geller became a worldwide sensation after appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

In 1974, his worldwide media tour would take him to Japan, where he appeared on popular shows 11PM and Thursday Special. During these appearances, he would bend spoons and move a stopped clock through the TV screen via “telekinesis”, which sparked a boom in all things psychic and ESP across Japan. The psychic theme was in such high demand, that it even influenced the live-action adaptation of Lupin III from the same year, hence the bizarre title Lupin III: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy. Ever masters of the zeitgeist, Watanabe Production, and writer-director Shinya Yamamoto, were quick to react, and seem to have made Occult Sex almost as soon as Geller made his first Japanese TV appearance – the film even shows actual footage of the 11PM show. This isn’t super-imposed either, it is very clearly an actual TV broadcast (just a reminder that VCRs weren’t a thing back in 1974.)


At first glance Saito (Masayoshi Nogami) is a very lucky man – he has a well-paid job, but more importantly, a beautiful wife (Yuki MinamiYuki MinamiYuki Minami) with an absolutely sky-high sex drive. However, rather than living a life of luxury, Saito has one major problem: he can’t keep it up. No matter how hard he tries, or however sexy his partner might be, he always loses his erection halfway through intercourse, and can’t reach climax. Things are looking dire for poor Saito, with the muggy summer heat getting to both his and his wife’s nerves. Tensions are fraught, and his wife is becoming so frustrated, that one night Saito even has a nightmare where she turns into some possessed sex-starved witch. He has enough on his plate without having to worry about hiring an exorcist! One day, he happens to see Uri Geller showing off his spoon-bending powers on Japanese TV and instantly makes a phallic connection to the spoon. If Uri Geller can use his psychic powers to turn a rigid steel spoon flaccid, then surely the opposite might be possible for his penis…

Unfortunately, Saito is all too aware that psychic powers belong firmly in the realm of sci-fi – or do they? At work, he notices his boss (Katsuro Sakai) making prolonged eye contact with an attractive female co-worker (Rina Nagisa). Almost inexplicably, she then stands up and walks off with him like a zombie. It turns out that Saito’s boss has mastered the art of telepathic control, and uses his powers for sleaze; making attractive young women accompany him to love hotels. After realising the powers that his boss possesses, Saito and a male colleague (Kanpei KagamiKanpei Kagami) beg him to teach them how to develop their own psychic powers. It’s no walk in the park, with plenty of failure and embarrassment, but Saito finally masters the power of telepathic control for himself. However, whilst he can make almost any woman he wishes to go to bed with him, he still hasn’t gained the same sort of control over his own sex.

After further honing his powers to the ultimate level, Saito feels that he might have finally developed Uri Geller’s power of telekinesis, and the ability to manipulate his penis with his mind. Now as a self-proclaimed “sexorcist”, he finally tries out his powers with his wife. Focusing all of his mighty psychic power on his penis, he finally succeeds and reaches unheard-of states of virility. He is a sex machine – bigger, and harder, than ever. Shockingly, Saito is a victim of his success, and his weak, fleshy body cannot handle such feats of greatness. Midway through the best sex of his life, there is a sickening crack as his penis literally snaps in half.


With a story like that, it should be clear that Occult Sex is, first and foremost, a comedy film. As a sex comedy, it works surprisingly well, and watching a middle-aged salaryman making shonen anime-esque faces when trying to harness his telepathic energy – all while the camera comically zooms in and out – is always going to be hilarious. A particularly amusing scene sees Saito and his colleague hiding in some bushes, hoping to gain control over a woman sitting on the park bench. After a furious psychic battle, both men think that they are the victors, although when they go to claim their prize, it turns out that his colleague’s aim isn’t quite precise enough, and he ends up accompanied by a man who happens to be sitting nearby instead. Admittedly, the topic of consent is a serious grey area in the film, and with it being a 1970s sex comedy, it predictably stays well clear of any examination of ethics. Surely using your telepathic powers to control a woman is just date rape with extra steps. That being said, all the characters are so dopey and non-threatening that it never feels too overtly sleazy or rapey. Certainly compared to European sex comedies from the same era, it doesn’t feel too extreme, so can be explained away as a product of its time.

Since this is still technically a porno film, I suppose the sex scenes ought to be reviewed as well. Due to telepathy being the main psychic power of focus throughout Occult Sex, this means that the sex scenes themselves are largely free from the weirdness of the rest of the film. They are your usual pinku softcore fare: lots of boob squeezing, some rolling around and moaning, and a camera that firmly keeps itself above the waist. The main focus of the sex in this film seems to be quantity over quality, with a fairly high number of sex scenes for its run-time, featuring a range of different actresses with a range of different body types for the audience to admire (after all, if the characters can truly get any woman they want, then why not aim for some variety.)


I don’t make a habit of watching independent pinku films, so I don’t know if this is a typical example or not – but interestingly, Occult Sex proudly states in the opening credits that it is made in collaboration with the “Hotel Meguro Emperor” love hotel, which I assume means that it provided the setting for the love hotel scenes. With a medieval castle-themed room and other rooms with rotating beds and mirrors, this does bring a decent level of production value to such a low-budget film. I assume the hotel also intended for this film to act as a free advertisement, hoping that cinema-goers would want to try it out for themselves afterward. The film takes the opportunity to include plenty of exterior shots of the hotel so that you know where to find it. It still exists today and looks just like it did in 1974 (it’s shaped like a faux-Bavarian castle, so you can’t miss it.) Here’s their website if you fancy it yourself:

With Occult Sex being a low-budget indie production, it is perhaps not unsurprising that we don’t get any proper telekinetic weirdness (I was hoping for some Carrietype scenes with dildos flying around the room on strings, but oh well), though director Shinya Yamamoto does his best to create a weird tone with his limited toolbox. He indulgently introduces a nice amount of psychedelic music, with jangling distorted guitars and some pretty cutting-edge electronica; by 1974 standards, Occult Sex sounds incredibly futuristic. However, the true crowning glory of Occult Sex is its internal sex scenes. Yes, that’s right – internal.


Somehow Yamamoto managed to rig up a weird avant-garde puppet vagina thing, which the camera often sits inside. We even get a POV penetration shot from inside the “vagina”, which is probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Of course, being a Japanese film, they can’t show a penis, so instead they use a hotdog with a frowny face drawn on it. I can dig that. If you think that this all sounds ridiculous, then you’ve thought wrong. Almost as unbelievable as the visuals themselves, is the fact that they actually work. Ignoring the frowny sausage dick which only appears in a short sequence, it is a cool effect and does bring an abstract, but believable, sexuality to the film. And then you see Saito’s penis snap in two and blood spurts out… Full points for going all-in.

Overall, Semi-Document: Occult Sex is a decent sex comedy and certainly delivers on the weirdness of its title, though admittedly could have been a tad more adventurous with the theme. Despite Shinya Yamamoto’s best efforts, telepathy isn’t overly cinematic, so a bit more focus on the telekinetic aspects could have nice, though pinku films aren’t known for their SFX budgets. As a porno film, there’s not anything of note, with fairly typical and ordinary sex scenes. At the end of the day, Occult Sex is only 67-minutes long, and probably only a shade over half an hour if you were to fast-forward the sex scenes, so it is certainly worth a watch – if only to experience the sheer insanity of seeing a guy using telekinesis to snap his dick in half.

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