by Pamela Torres
Released on DVD by Unearthed Films, RUBBER'S LOVER is a 1996 cyberpunk sci-fi nightmare written and directed by Shozin Fukui. Shot entirely in stark black and white and wrapped in futuristic S&M bondage, it is an underrated art film with a plot line resembling David Cronenburg's SCANNERS and the shocking flesh/metal aesthetic of Shinya Tsukamoto's TETSUO: THE IRONMAN.
The movie takes place in a secret warehouse known only as The Centre. Here, a pair of scientists named Motomiya (Sosuke Saito) and Hitosubashi (Norimizu Ameya) conducts a series of cruel and lethal experiments on human test subjects, including members of their own medical staff. Aided by a naughty slaphappy nurse named Akari (Mika Kunihiro), they force patients to wear skintight rubber diving suits to suffocate the skin, inject the victims' blood with ether, and use gigantic speakers to bombard the eardrums with unbearably high decibels of sound. The purpose of all this was to unlock an individuals telepathic abilities. Unfortunately such torture only caused the brain to hemorrhage and explode. Even worse, Motomiya and Hitosubashi snatched the research plans away from their former partner Shimika (Yota Kawase) and force enough ether into his veins to turn him into a paranoid, jabbering junkie. There is one uncomfortable but fascinating scene where he foams at the mouth and imagines seeing insects crawling all over his body.
Sure enough, the corporation responsible for funding the unorthodox project sends an innocent secretary named Kiku (Nao) to officially shut down the operation. To say the least, it doesn't go very well. In a desperate attempt to salvage results, Hitosubashi mounts a monstrous Digital Direct Drive onto Shimika's head and straps him down on a table while Motomiya (being the arrogant loose cannon that he is) kidnaps poor Kiku and holds her hostage. I have to warn readers here that the latter half of RUBBER'S LOVER includes a brutal rape scene that is hard to watch. After enduring what seemed to be hours of unforgiving trauma, Kiku and Shimika form post-modern Adam & Eve bond and take revenge against the despicable bastards who abused them. Shimika is granted enough psychic energy to pulverize a man's muscles and sinews into a pile of dust. During the film's mind-reeling climax, there is a confrontation between him and his former partners shot in a dizzying strobe light effect which shows glimpses of blood vessels popping everywhere and biceps being horribly scorched by electrical currents.