Japanese cult cinema thread

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 20 May 2016, 09:16

Crest of the Wolf (狼の紋章) (1973)

This was the first one of the two live action films based on Kazumasa Hirai's Wolfguy manga franchise. There were two Wolfguy mangas being published simultaneously: "Wolfguy" and " Adult Wolfguy", aimed at youth and adult readers respectively. This movie, produced by Toho, was based on the former, which followed its werewolf hero as a bullied high school boy. It's a quite an imaginative and often atmospheric, if sometimes cheesy story that suffers from a couple of slow patches despite the wonderfully short 77 minute running time. Young Yusaku Matsuda does his feature film debut as a villain. Although the material was aimed at younger readers, the films is quite bloody and features copious amounts of nudity, especially by the hero's kind teacher (Yoko Ichiji). As enjoyable as it is, the film however pales in comparison to the incredible Toei adaptation Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope (1975), which was based on the "Adult Wolfguy" manga and upped the sex and violence to a whole new level.

I viewed the VoD version on Amazon (JP) Video, but the movie is also available on Toho DVD. The DVD first came out in 2006, but there has been a number of re-issues and the latest one from 2015 should be quite affordable. The screencaps below are from the VoD version.

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Yoko Ichiji as the teacher
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Matsuda
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DVD
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Jun 2016, 09:13

I finally found time to see this:

Crime Hunter (クライムハンター 怒りの銃弾) (1989)
The very first V-Cinema production; a stripped to the bone action film about a cop avenging his partner's (the very young Riki Takeuchi) death. Running only 60 minutes, there isn't much other than action and a tiny bit of sex in the film. Most of it is mediocre, but the grande finale is a stand out with our heroes blasting bad guys away with grenade launchers and heavy machine guns - first grade weapons pornography. There's a decent bit of pleasant V-Cinema nostalgia to be had - they don't 'em like this anymore. Star Masanori Sera makes a surprisingly uncharismatic hero, though; bad guy Seiji Matano fares much better with his Yoshio Harada looks, and the real Yoshio Harada is in the film too! One interesting thing about the film is that it's not clear where it is set. The main characters are Japanese, the clubs are filled with Caucasians, the signs are in English and "Little Tokyo" is written at the side of the main character's patrol car.

Riki Takeuchi
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Masanori Sera
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Seiji Matano
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 12 Jun 2016, 13:51

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-https://twitter.com/ryuganji/status/741836350903619584

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 18 Jun 2016, 16:01

VoD Review / Not Available on DVD

Kôkôsei burai hikae (高校生無頼控) (1972)
The first film in the Muramasa trilogy. These are relatively obscure films for never having been available on video, despite being Toho films based on a Kazuo Koike manga. Unfortunately, this is not an exploitation movie like most other Koike adaptations, but a comedy. Murasaki is a high school boy who gets all the girls and beats the guys with his karate and kendo skills. But he's not all that much of a badass; in fact he's just a goofy manga hero gone live action character who needs to get to Tokyo to meet his brother. On his journey he meets various silly characters, sleeps with at least half dozen girls, beats an all-gaijin girls' motorcycle gang, and makes some money. Harmless mainstream / family friendly entertainment with some laughs and nostalgia, and quite a few pairs of boobs.

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Junko Natsu
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Gaijin gang
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Marshall » 18 Jun 2016, 16:41

Is that Junko Natsu?! Looks right up my alley.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 19 Jun 2016, 04:22

That's her.

Yeah, if you liked stuff like Girls' Junior High School, you might like this too.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Marshall » 19 Jun 2016, 08:32

I did/do!

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Guro Taku » 24 Jun 2016, 20:17

HungFist wrote:and from Eastern Star, the much awated original language Golgo 13 anime
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Release date: 2012-07-24

Blu-ray, also from Eastern Star, this August:

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 01 Jul 2016, 10:52

Toei will release 4 Tai Kato films on DVD 2016/10/05

真田風雲録 (1963)
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Cast: Kinnosuke Yorozuya, Mickey Curtis, Jerry Fujio

骨までしゃぶる (1966)
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Cast: Hiroko Sakuramachi, Nahoko Kubo, Isao Natsuyagi

懲役十八年 (Eighteen Year Jail Term) (1967)
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Cast: Noboru Ando, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Hiroko Sakuramachi, Asao Koike

昭和おんな博徒 (Showa Woman Gambler) (1972)
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Cast: Kyoko Enami, Hiroki Matsukata, Tatsuo Endo, Kanjuro Arashi, Fumio Watanabe

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby DenPryan » 02 Jul 2016, 03:48

Just great news! I am very happy! Thank you! :clap:

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Re:

Unread postby Guro Taku » 20 Jul 2016, 21:54

HungFist wrote:Moving on, I noticed Shochiku is releasing Noboru Tanaka’s Village of Doom (1983)
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An old UK dvd exists. Here’s a film review:
http://www.mjsimpson.co.uk/reviews/villageofdoom.html

Shochiku's website: http://www.shochiku-home-enta.com/


A BD release happened last year and I missed it until now:

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The old UK DVD had 11 seconds cut by the BBFC, by the way:

Cut required to remove sight of a chicken being kicked and ill-treated, in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 and BBFC Policy on Animal Cruelty on Video.

http://bbfc.co.uk/releases/village-doom

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 26 Jul 2016, 15:34

Another set of Takakura films from Toei on 2016/11/09

流星空手打ち (Ryûsei karate uchi ) (1956) + 電光空手打ち (Denkô karate uchi ) (1956)
Dir: Fujio Tsuda
Cast: Ken Takakura, Takashi Kanda, Susumi Namishima
[two films on 1 dvd... both are just 58/59 min]
[these were Takakura's first film roles]
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989462

黒い指の男 (Kuroi yubi no otoko) (1959)
Dir: Masuichi Iizuka
Cast: Ken Takakura, Yayoi Furusato
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989465

博徒一家 (Bakuto ikka) (1970)
Dir: Shigero Ozawa
Cast: Ken Takakura, Minoru Ooki, Tomisaburo Wakayama
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989464

望郷子守唄 (Bokyo Komori-uta) (1972)
Dir: Shigero Ozawa
Cast: Ken Takakura, Ryo Ikebe, Yuriko Hoshi
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989463

Denkô karate uchi
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Bokyo Komori-uta
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Guro Taku » 26 Jul 2016, 19:25

I'm amazed they're still finding more films with Ken Takakura to release. It feels like he was in almost every Toei film for a while.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 02 Aug 2016, 15:14

HungFist wrote:Another set of Takakura films from Toei on 2016/11/09

流星空手打ち (Ryûsei karate uchi ) (1956) + 電光空手打ち (Denkô karate uchi ) (1956)
Dir: Fujio Tsuda
Cast: Ken Takakura, Takashi Kanda, Susumi Namishima
[two films on 1 dvd... both are just 58/59 min]
[these were Takakura's first film roles]
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989462

黒い指の男 (Kuroi yubi no otoko) (1959)
Dir: Masuichi Iizuka
Cast: Ken Takakura, Yayoi Furusato
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989465

博徒一家 (Bakuto ikka) (1970)
Dir: Shigero Ozawa
Cast: Ken Takakura, Minoru Ooki, Tomisaburo Wakayama
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989464

望郷子守唄 (Bokyo Komori-uta) (1972)
Dir: Shigero Ozawa
Cast: Ken Takakura, Ryo Ikebe, Yuriko Hoshi
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=989463


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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 28 Aug 2016, 09:52

Nikkatsu Mainstream Releases 1971-1988

Contrary to a common belief, Nikkatsu did produce a few dozen mainstream movies during their Roman Porno era. These included comedies, youth dramas, action films etc. Compared to the 1100 or so Roman Porno films released during this period, the number is of course very small.

Here's a list of films I can think of. It may very well be incomplete. I've excluded movies where Nikkatsu participated in production but would not be considered the main producer (e.g. Kadokawa's Proof of a Man or ATG's Distant Thunder). Big thanks to 'Maito Guy' at Rock Shock Pop for helping out with the list.

Men And War Pt. 3 (Sensou to ningen dai san bu) (1973) (Satsuo Yamamoto)
The Sun Falls And Rises Again (Hi wa shizumu hi wa noboru) (1973) (Koreyoshi Kurahara)
Portrait of a Flame (Honoo no shouzou) (1974) (Toshiya Fujita and Akira Kato)
The Red Lantern (Akachouchin) (1974) (Toshiya Fujita)
Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary (Sukeban deka: daati Marii) (1974) (Yasuharu Hasebe)
Black Panther Bitch M (Kuroi mehyou emu) (1974) (Koretsugu Kurahara)
Younger Sister (Imouto) (1974) (Toshiya Fujita)
The Four Roughnecks (Abayo dachikou) (1974) (Yukihiro Sawada)
Virgin Blues (Baajin buruuzu) (1974) (Toshiya Fujita)
Cape Erimo (Erimomisaki) (1975) (Akira Kato)
Sachiko's Happiness (Sachiko no kou) (1976) (Kazunari Takeda)
Evening Primrose (Yoimachigusa) (1976) (Tatsumi Kumashiro)
Ah! That Pep Squad (Aa!! Hana no ouendan) (1976) (Chusei Sone)
Ah! That Pep Squad 2 (Aa!! Hana no ouendan 2) (1976) (Chusei Sone)
Ah! That Pep Squad 3 (Aa!! Hana no ouendan 3) (1977) (Chusei Sone)
The Baseball-Fan's Song (Yakyuukyou no uta) (1977) (Akira Kato)
Panic in High School (Koukou dai-panikku) (1978) (Sogo Ishii, Yukihiro Sawada)
Past Days Won't Return (Kaerazaru hibi) (1978) (Toshiya Fujita)
Eighteen Years of Age, to the Sea (Juuhassai, umi e) (1979) (Toshiya Fujita)
Super Gun Lady: Police Branch 82 (Sûpâ gun redei Wani Bunsho) (1979) (Chusei Sone)
I'm All Yours (Minna agechau) (1985) (Shusuke Kaneko)
The Half Moon (Itoshino Half Moon) (1987) (Yojiro Takita)

+
So Soft, So Cunning (1978) (Toshiya Fujita) [this seems to have been a Roman Porno release, but Nikkatsu is nowadays treating it as mainstream movie]

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 28 Aug 2016, 09:54

Black Panther Bitch M (1974)

Reiko Ike stars in this Nikkatsu produced action film, which came out just the right time. Toei's Pinky Violence genre was starting to wane out while karate films were the new thing. Black Panther Bitch M was a bit of both. The film hit the screens two weeks before Toei's Sister Street Fighter opened.

Ike is a ninja trained assassin ordered by an invisible shadow organization to take out businessman Mikio Narita, who is protected by yakuza goons. Limited production values and some slow patches set this apart from Toei's best action films, but there also are some atmospheric parts and nice bits of ultra violence as Ike takes out her opponents using knives and sadistic martial arts moves. Ike was no karate pro, but stunt doubles and fun ideas like POV action compensated enough. Ike also looks absolutely gorgeous in her frequently malfunctioning blouse that clearly wasn't intended to be used while engaging in hand-to-hand battle.

Supporting cast is mostly Toei actors, including karate master Masashi Ishibashi, who has one fight scene in the film, and who also brought his acquaintance Gogen Yamaguchin in as martial arts advisor. Director Koretsugu Kurahara was one of Nikkatsu's rising action film talents from before the studio shifted to Roman Porno. Even during the Roman Porno period his films were often influenced by action movies (e.g. Sex Rider: Wet Highway, 1972). Bad Girl Mako (1971) and Black Panther Bitch M are his only mainstream action films.

There is a fun story in the dvd booklet about Ike's involvement in the production. One reason why she accepted Nikkatsu's offer was that she was getting a little bit tired of her "sex queen" image at Toei, and was promised that this would be a mainstream film with no sex scenes in it. Ike later found out the filmmakers had added a hotel room sex scene into the screenplay, and she got majorly upset. She had them change the scene into a non-sex nude scene and relocate it to a "safer location" on a rooftop.

Reiko Ike
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Mikio Narita and Masashi Ishibashi
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Ishibashi
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That button ain't gonna hold for long
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POV action
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 12 Sep 2016, 05:44

More Tai Kato coming, this time from Shochiku, on BD

on 2016/12/07

宮本武蔵 第一部 関ヶ原より一乗寺下り松 + 第二部 柳生の里より巌流島 (Miyamoto Musashi ) (1973)

江戸川乱歩の 陰獣 (Beast in the Shadows) (Edogawa Rampo no injû) (1977)

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on 2017/01/06

男の顔は履歴書 (Otoko no kao wa rirekisho) (By a Man's Face Shall You Know Him) (1966)

阿片台地 地獄部隊突撃せよ (Ahendaichi jigokubutai totsugekiseyo) (1966)

These two star Noboru Ando.

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on 2017/02/08

ざ・鬼太鼓座(1981)

This seems to be a music documentary film. Made in 1981, it had theatrical release in 1994.

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+ one that was only written by him and only comes out on DVD

竹久夢二物語 恋する(1975)
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 12 Sep 2016, 16:58

Kanto Woman Yakuza (関東女やくざ ) (1968)

Nikkatsu Noir meets Girl Gang Films at Daiei. Michiyo Yasuda, one of the studio's few female action stars, leads a group of three girls who make their living playing on the clubs. They soon run into trouble with the yakuza. The film has a phenomenally energetic opening with great music, fantastic cinematography and Yasuda kicking ass. It's just a shame the storyline gradually takes a more conservative turn with emphasis shifted towards the male characters, who do the dirty work in the climax. It's still a very stylish film with superb cinematography and amazing moments where director Akira Inoue sets scenes to a blazing rock score. The film also does great job capturing the streets and clubs populated by the lower class. This is a small discovery, although more noirish and down to earth than the likes of Stray Cat Rock that would make a passable comparison point.

In his book Gun and Sword, Chris D. calls this the first film in the Kanto Woman series. However, that is almost certainly not correct. Based on Japanese databases, the spelling of the title (hiragana instead of kanji) and supposedly different approach (ninkyo instead of modern) the other three Kanto Woman films are a series of their own, unrelated to this one.

The screencaps below are from a VoD stream. Kadokawa also released the film on DVD a few years ago (I have it, but I'm too lazy to take new screencaps, so these will have to do).

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 01 Nov 2016, 02:59

TV Review / Not Available on DVD

Robbery, Arson and Killer Convicts (Japan, 1975) [TV]
Strangely unbalanced prison escape film plays out like a jazz tuned buddy flick, except its heroes often engage brutal violence and rape. The contrast is distracting yet too weak to generate any kind of shock value. Truly bizarre, but not in an entertaining way. As it stands, this is another example of ninkyo film master Kosaku Yamashita losing his edge in the 70s. The film kind of works in the beginning until the viewer realizes there is little point to anything that unfolds on the screen. Hiroki Matsukata and Tomisaburo Wakayama star as the odd couple attempting to escape together. One would've expected a far better film from this trio.

Original title: Goto hoka satsujin shu. Third and final film in a loosely linked series of prison films, all starring Matsukata. The first two, which I haven't seen, were directed by Sadao Nakajima.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Guro Taku » 27 Nov 2016, 13:53

Keita Amemiya's ZEIRAM (1991) and ZEIRAM 2 (1994) will be getting a BD release on February 24th from Bandai Visual.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 01 Dec 2016, 07:36

It has taken them a while, but Toei is finally releasing Yusaku Matsuda on BD. The Yugi series is coming out March 8, 2017.
- http://www.toei-video.co.jp/BD/yuugi.html#ca40th

The films are
- The Most Dangerous Game (1978)
- The Murder Game (1978)
- The Execution Game (1979)


3 Disc box set. Extras contain trailers, booklet, lobby cards and a mini size reproduction of the original pamphlet for Excecution Game.

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It's a very popular series, although I personally don't rate the films that high. The first film is a relatively entertaining and amusingly sexist action flick with ridiculous action scenes where the bad guys can't hit Matsuda no matter how close they are. The same problem plagues the entire series. The second one throws in more comedy and somewhat tones down the sexism, which wasn't a good move. The third one is more of an 80s style underwhelming neo noir drama with an uninteresting storyline and characters, and not nearly as stylish as its poster would have you believe.

Matsuda is of course the best thing about the series, and I wish he had starred in better films. He's got a couple of very good action films - Classroom of Terror, Resurrection of the Golden Wolf - but he became an action star too late, just when Japanese action films started to go down the gutter and it became fashionable to make story and character driven films even if you didn't have interesting story and characters.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Guro Taku » 15 Jan 2017, 13:08

Toei are finally getting back to doing some more catalogue releases on May 10th with 4 Bunta Sugawara flicks:

Yokohama Underworld: Machinegun Dragon 横浜暗黒街 マシンガンの竜 (1978) dir. Akihisa Okamoto

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The cast also includes Sonny Chiba and Renji Ishibashi.

実録飛車角 狼どもの仁義 (1974) dir. Shinji Murayama

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Three Sworn Brothers 懲役三兄弟 (1969) dir. Kiyoshi Saeki

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まむしと青大将 (1975) dir. Sadao Nakajima

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby HungFist » 16 Jan 2017, 08:11

Glad to see Toei releasing more films, although it's sad that the only way for an actor or director get his film released by Toei these days is to be dead.

Yokohama Underworld: Machinegun Dragon is a pretty terrible action/yakuza/comedy, though. Chiba appears in it for about 3 minutes.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby Varrick » 26 Jan 2017, 11:59

HungFist wrote:
Yokohama Underworld: Machinegun Dragon is a pretty terrible action/yakuza/comedy, though. Chiba appears in it for about 3 minutes.


Sugawara plays his character with the biggest rubber face he's ever put on... beside Chiba's cameo, it features a small role for Kyôko Enami as well...and they stole "They call me mr Tibbs" theme music! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Mx4wqVXfk

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread postby DenPryan » 08 Feb 2017, 20:29

Robbery, Arson and Killer Convicts, It will soon be available on DVD


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