Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.
User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 30 Apr 2008, 12:13

A quick look at pinky violence movies still waiting to be released on dvd: Part 5 - Hot Springs Special Service

温泉あんま芸者 (Onsen anma geisha) (1968)
Image
http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1968/cr001560.htm
http://www.ofdb.de/film/125054,Onsen-anma-geisha
http://www.walkerplus.com/movie/kinejun ... h&id=22455

Aka Hot Springs Massage Geisha. Starring Teruo Yoshida, Masumi Tachibana, Yukie Kagawa, Yoko Mihara. Directed by Teruo Ishii

温泉こんにゃく芸者 (Onsen konnyaku geisha) (1970)
Image
http://www.walkerplus.com/movie/kinejun ... h&id=19328
http://www.ofdb.de/film/101500,Hot-Spri ... ued-Geisha
http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1970/ct002110.htm

Aka Hot Springs Devil-Tongue Geisha. Stars Ichiro Araki, Asao Koike, Hosei Komatsu, Miwako Onaya and Taiji Tonoyama. Directed by Sadao Nakajima.

温泉みみず芸者 (Onsen mimizu geisha) (1971)
Image
http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/person/p0377040.htm
http://www.ofdb.de/film/101354,Onsen-mimizu-geisha
http://www.walkerplus.com/movie/kinejun ... h&id=19554

Aka Hot Springs Mimizu Geisha. With Miki Sugimoto, Reiko Ike and Asao Koike. Third in the series. Directed by Norifumi Suzuki.

温泉スッポン芸者 (Onsen suppon geisha) (1972)
Image
http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1972/cv002000.htm
http://www.ofdb.de/film/101356,Onsen-suppon-geisha
http://www.walkerplus.com/movie/kinejun ... h&id=19740

Aka Hot Springs Kiss Geisha, with Miki Sugimoto, Yoko Mihara, Nobuo Kaneko and Ema Ryoko. Directed by Norifumi Suzuki. Fourth (final) in the series.

And finally, unrelated to the Onsen geisha series:

驚異のドキュメント 日本浴場物語 (Nippon yokujo monogatari) (1971)
Image
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203741/
http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1971/cu000050.htm

Aka Pilgrimage to Japanese Baths. Directed by Sadao Nakajima
Last edited by HungFist on 26 May 2008, 15:12, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 05 May 2008, 21:59

Discotek's Bohachi Bushido has been delayed a few times, but it seem like the disc is now available from their website. Other retailers mention 20.5 as the release date.

So, everybody who doesn't own the film yet, order it now. It's the best chambara film to come out since Lone Wolf and Cub.

Image

First reviews:
http://10kbullets.com/reviews/b/bohachi ... ten-eight/
http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/33288/bo ... ten-eight/
http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=67896
Last edited by HungFist on 30 Apr 2009, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Classique
Jackie Chan's little toe
Posts: 23
Joined: 26 Jul 2007, 20:40
Location: Shaolin

Unread postby Classique » 28 May 2008, 15:26

Damn this release is loaded.

Watched the interview with the actress and it was pretty fun.

Spent at least 20-30 minutes reading the manga they included which is a pretty good chunk of it and it's great to see how closely the movie followed it.

Got thru a little bit of the J-Taro interview.He comes off a little bit at first
like a guy who just watches pinky films because he's a pervert :lol:
but as the interview goes further he definately gets in to things alot deeper and shares alot good views and takes on things.

The liner notes/about the film portion is great and informative though the
person who wrote it has the tendency to flex his grammatical muscles
with these ridiculously big words from time to time.

I can't compare on the pq because i'm not too savvy when it comes to
that aspect but from what I remember it looked like a port of the Toei release.

Hooray for Discotek!

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 28 May 2008, 16:20

Good to hear. I hope the Beautiful Girl Hunter disc will be as good.

I ran into a film that went totally unnoticed from before; Aesthetics of a Bullet (Teppodama no bigaku) 鉄砲玉の美学 (1973). It’s a ATG film, but with a full Toei crew; Sadao Nakajima, Miki Sugimoto, Tsunehiko Watase, Asao Koike.... Of couse no dvd ever.

Image

Image

http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1973/cw000330.htm
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0324207/
http://www.ofdb.de/film/146786,Tepp%C3%B4dama-no-bigaku

I also edited a few more missing Toei films into the earliers posts. Check if interested.

The some stuff I found from yahoo

6 CD’s. Reiko Ike and Sanda Julien mentioned somewhere

Image

Image

Image

Image

No, don’t ask. I don’t know.

Another yahoo discovery

Image

No, I don’t know what this is either. But I’d dare to guess it’s a book!

And finally, lets add a bit to the August Toei hype; still for Sukeban Blues: Queen Bee’s Challenge (1972), out soon on dvd.

Image

DanielN
Jackie Chan's little toe
Posts: 1
Joined: 16 Mar 2008, 20:25
Location: Oregon

Unread postby DanielN » 29 May 2008, 00:02

Hi Hungfist, just thought I'd come out of lurking to thank you for the good job you and other posters in this thread are doing keeping us informed on this fun genre of films.

While there are plenty of available titles I have yet to see, I'd like to add this to the "waiting to be released on DVD" list.

????? (1974)
Image
http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/1974/cx002050.htm

Reiko Ike moonlighting at Nikkatsu studio for what looks like a cool movie.

Sorry, it seems I can't post the Japanese title.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 29 May 2008, 00:42

Thanks and welcome. Nice to hear this thread has been helpful :)

Whoa, I totally missed the existence of that film (黒い牝豹M). I didn't even know Reiko ever worked with Nikkatsu. The film is directed by Koreji Kurahara, who did Bad Girl Mako with Junko Natsu (coming to R1 next year)

I'd love to see 黒い牝豹M on dvd. Maybe some US distributor would be wise enough to license it. Sadly it seems Geneon has stopped releasing Nikkatsu films on dvd, so I can't see anyone releasing it on R2J anytime soon. There seems to be an old VHS, though

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 30 May 2008, 14:53

Mantis Wife’s Confession (Satsuki Midori no Kamakiri Fujin no Kokuhaku) (1975)

Yuuji Makiguchi started his career as an assistant director in several notable Toei productions (such as Teruo Ishii’s The Joy of Torture and Tai Kato’s Red Peony Gamber 3). He later gained popularity among western cult fans with his hyper violent period splatter Shogun’s Sadism (1976). Mantis Wife’s Confession shares little resemblance to those films. Midori Satsuki stars as a vamp who destroys one poor man’s life after another. Finally she seduces a professional killer, which brings a tiny bit of action into the comedy oriented film. Being a Toei production, Mantis Wife’s Confession looks like real movie rather than a cheap exploitation production. Unfortunately the storyline is running circles, and there’s little to get excited about. A couple of good jokes make you laugh a few times, and one surprise has found its way into the film; Ema Ryoko plays a housewife. She gets into a fight, but her shirt stays on and doesn’t even get ripped. Truly amazing.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 30 May 2008, 14:54

Story of a Nymphomaniac (Genroku (maruhi) monogatari) (1975)

And there goes my unquestioned trust for Toei. Why would the greatest film studio on earth even bother to produce such a worthless soft core romp? This Ikuo Sekimoto film has a non-existent and terribly boring plot, and not a single interesting character. There’s one great line of dialogue, a single scene of good comedy, and some nice music here and there but that’s it. The film doesn’t really even manage to disguise itself as high class production - which is something that many of Toei’s exploitation films have succeeded in – because the smutty content and unambitious storyline neutralize the effect of the random pretty images and decent production values. Teaches you to think twice before you spend 4500 yen on a Ikuo Sekimoto film.

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 30 May 2008, 14:56

Ooku ukiyo-buro (Concubine's Palace) (1977)

Ikuo Sekimoto’s previous film (Story of a Nymphomaniac) was so utterly worthless that I didn’t dare to set my hopes very high this time. But Ooku Ukiyoburo isn’t all bad. The most promising part comes around 30 minutes when several moody, audio visually beautiful scenes follow each other. There’s also a bit of storyline and a half-epic shogun’s inner palace setting. But, of course, the endless sex scenes are hard to survive without falling asleep. If 20 minutes of humping was edited out from the current 80 min running time Ooku Ukiyoburo might be a rather decent erotic period drama. Now it’s watchable and occasionally impressive, but takes some effort. The film stars Masaru Shinga and Eiko Matsuda (Ai no corrida).

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 30 May 2008, 15:01

All three dvds are typical Toei releases. Good looking, natural transfer. You can spot a tiny bit of edge enhancement in a few scenes if you look real hard. Extras are original trailers and stills. Teaser trailers, if such exist, are not found on the discs.

Note that the running time of Ooku ukiyo-buro is 80:31. Spannick at advdg reported that this dvd (and the old Toei VHS) is not fully uncut. The old German VHS featured footage not found on the Toei print. However, some bits that were not found on the German release are present on this Toei dvd. It seems alternate versions exist, and no one really knows if a fully uncut master still exists.

I’ll try to get the May Norifumi Suzuki dvds reviewed / commented sometime in the summer. I should be receiving the dvds any day now, but I’m quite busy at the moment. I’ll also try to re-watch Ooku jyuhakkei (Dolls of the Shogun’s Harem) and finish that review that I stared writing last summer (d’oh). And maybe do a comparison to the international version of the film (which is missing half of my favourite scenes).

Also, I found this handy site with some info and pics for Toei pink films:
http://www.otona-eiga.jp/list_6.php

And here's another reason to move to Japan:
http://www.laputa-jp.com/laputa/program/zubekou/#top

Finally, found something for Christina fans

http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... -cover.jpg
(Journey to Japan, coming from Studio S in August)
Last edited by HungFist on 25 Nov 2008, 18:59, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 02 Jun 2008, 09:36

Better late than never, eh?

Horrors of Malformed Men (Kyofu kikei ningen) (1969)

Teruo Ishii’s ill-treated piece of movie history has a reputation as the most notorious Japanese horror movie ever made. This however is not due to the amount of sex and violence but rather because of the politics. Deformation was already a touchy subject in the post WWII Japan and the atmosphere didn’t get any more open minded around the time Horrors of Malformed Men was released. Ishii’s long time dream project didn’t come even close to being politically correct (content and name wise. The original title advices you to be afraid of deformed men) and fell victim to the new policies. A few weeks after its original release Toei themself pulled the prints from circulation. The first international screening wasn’t held until in 2003 in Italy, and Synapse’s 2007 dvd release marked the first time Horrors of Malformed Men was ever made available on home video anywhere.

The film opens in a madhouse where the lead character is harassed by crazy topples women (this is a Teruo Ishii movie alright). Nevertheless, Horrors of Malformed Men takes relatively long before it turns the full on insanity gear on. The first half is dedicated mostly to unfolding the mystery plot. Of course there’s an exploitative moment here and there – like a woman attacked by snakes while bathing – but the low amount of exploitation and shocks may disappoint some of the more impatient shock cinema fans. The storyline is however rather interesting to follow, and the true reward is waiting just behind the corner. In the beginning there’s also a small dose of very silly humour in one scene when Ishii makes fun of priests and doctors. Almost makes you wonder if Norifumi Suzuki visited the set.

Unlike many of Ishii’s late 60’s films Horrors of Malformed Men does not consists of individual episodes but is rather a combination of several Edogawa Rampo stories. A certain western science fiction classic also plays major role in the mix, but to avoid spoilers the title is best left unrevealed. The film stars Ishii reqular Teruo Yoshida. He plays a man who is wrongfully convicted to mental hospital. After surviving a murder attempt and escaping from the institution he becomes obsessed with solving a mystery that will later lead him into a new world of horror, dominated by a mysterious character played by the butoh expert Tatsumi Hijikata.

After setting the story for a good 45 minutes Ishii makes a quick turn from mystery thriller to disturbing horror. What follows is a 20 minute sequence of jaw dropping visual madness and grotesque visions. Although the film is not especially graphic some images could hardly be described as pleasant to look at. Later the film slows down again and goes into dialogue mode for quite some time but it doesn’t take away from the film’s impressiveness. The closing scene for example is legendary. As a whole Horrors of Malformed Men may not be as wild as some people expect it to be but it’s a fascinating film and a real diamond in Ishii’s filmography. Essential viewing for anyone interested in Japanese cult cinema.

Synapse’s R1 dvd is a terrific package. The transfer is on par with Panik House’s work (this being one of the projects they inherited from Panik House when the company went bust). The extras feature not only the usual original trailer and biographies by Chris D but also an audio commentary by Japan Times’ Mark Schilling (with some silent parts but generally pretty interesting to listen to), a 14 minute Ishii at Venice feature, Ishii’s introduction for the film (4 min) and interviews with Shinya Tsukamoto and Minoru Kawasaki (23 min). A Teruo Ishii poster gallery (33 movie posters) is also included, with some hidden trailers. Finally there’s a 8 page booklet with liner notes by Patrick Macias, Tomo Machiyama and Jasper Sharp. The cover art is fully reversible with the original Japanese poster art on the flip side.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 02 Jun 2008, 10:48

Love Hotel (1985)

Looking at the title and poster art, Love Hotel may seem like just another late Meisaku Roman film by the Nikkatsu Studios. That, however, could hardly be further from the truth. The talent involved in this production alone should be a enough to make Love Hotel one of the most interesting films from Nikkatsu’s exploitation era. And, one of the best, too.

Love Hotel was directed by master filmmaker Shinji Somai. It’s not rare that talented directors begin their career in the pink genre before breaking through to mainstream cinema. Somai, however, had already established his position as one of the most acclaimed Japanese directors of the 80’s. In 1985 he surprised the audiences with his one film Nikkatsu collaboration. To make matters more puzzling, Love Hotel was released only four weeks prior to Taifu Club, Somai’s crowning achievement and a landmark in Japanese cinema.

The explanation for Somai’s sudden Nikkatsu dive is found in the production credits. While Nikkatsu indeed took care of the distribution Love Hotel was actually produced by The Director’s Company. It got tagged as Nikkatsu Meisaku Roman film afterwards, but it didn’t begin as their original production nor was it based on one of those 3 page screenplays Nikkatsu were notorious for. The storyline was crafted by the acclaimed manga artist Takashi Ishii, who later used the same storyline, although in heavily altered form, in his directorial debut; Angel Guts – Red Vertigo (1988).

Love Hotel begins with the downfall of Tetsuro Muraki (Minori Terada). His company goes bankrupt and he fails to pay back the money he owes to the yakuza. Not being able to get money out of him the loansharks rape his wife in front of him. The desparate Muraki plans to end his life in a Love Hotel after sex with a prostitute but finds himself too weak. The film continues two years later. Murakami has divorced from his wife in order to protect her from the debt, and become a taxi driver. One day he meets Nami (Noriko Hayami), a woman he believes might understand him due to being in a similar situation.

The first 10 minutes of Love Hotel is as graphic as any exploitation film. But that’s only the introduction. The remaining 79 minutes play purely for story and characters. The film never goes back to the yakuza themes again, and the amount of sex scenes is lower than what Nikkatsu’s own genre cinema guidebook would require. In fact, appart from the beginning and occasional Eirin censorship here and there the film would be hard to associate with the pink genre if it wasn’t for the Nikkatsu logo in the opening and closing credits.

Still, there is a reason why Nikkatsu acquired the film. Compared to the director’s earlier work Love Hotel is definitely a griettier and more sexually explicit film. That, however, does not equal to decreased quality. Fans of Somai will recognize his touch easily. The long takes, stylish use of music (with Momoe Yamaguchi’s Yoru he playing during the pier scene) and deep focus on characters are all here. The cast is pretty good with very decent performances from both leads. The brilliant cinematography is courtesy of Noboru Shinoda, a frequent future collaborator of Shunji Iwai.

Reportedly Somai shot the film in 10 days, but the rush doesn’t show. The film features several terrific sequences but also holds up as a whole. There’s maybe a little bit of melodrama but that was also the case with Gyoei no mure (1983). The ending is excellent and beautiful – as you’d expect from Somai. In Nikkatsu’s Meisaku Roman catalogue Love Hotel is somewhat an oddity; an exploitation release that is almost not exploitation at all. Nevertheless, or perhaps for that very reason, it was awarded as Nikkatsu’s best film of the year.

Pretty good remastered dvd by Geneon. Some scenes don’t look overly crisp, but the transfer gets the job done rather nicely. Note that the film was also released by Uplink in 1998. I believe that dvd was non-anamorphic (although I’m not 100% sure) while this new release is anamorphic and progressive. Extras consist of trailer, filmographies and 4 page booklet.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Nov 2008, 14:52, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 03 Jun 2008, 14:43

Woman of the Afternoon: Incite! (Hirusagari No Onna: Chohatsu!!) (1979)

Nikkatsu titles such as ”Woman of the Afternoon: Incite!” don't get your hopes very high. But director Nobuyaki Saito surprises, more than once. The film has an unpromising opening, but almost immediately after turns into a upbeat romantic drama. Decently acted with a nice audio-visual touch from the director, Woman of the Afternoon feels more fresh than most of its genre sisters. Unlike many other cheapskate Nikkatsu directors Saito keeps the film moving, literally. The storyline follows a woman (Natsuko Yashiro) who runs away from her husband, and bumps into a gay hitchhiker who’s on his way to meet his boyfriend. After this the film takes another interesting turn that works best when left for the viewer to discover. If you want to know more, keep reading, otherwise stop here. When the main character arrives a small countryside village, the film suddenly moves to tense thriller territory. The local inhabitants turn out to be good old school rednecks with nothing but rapes and brutal assaults in their mind.

Image

Image

Image

Image

plus one cap from the second half
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... WotAI4.jpg

and a very stylish, very spoiling original trailer
http://youtube.com/watch?v=PiD9_iFkB7Q&fmt=18

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 03 Jun 2008, 14:45

Image of a Bound Girl (Shoujo Shibari Ezu) (1980)

Masaru Konuma has been responsible of some truly disgusting classics, but this time he surprises positively. Image of a Bound Girl is a strong character drama with good performances and challenging storyline. It’s is also somewhat romantic, although the main theme of the film is obsession. Konuma uses long takes succesfully and sometimes even seems to be analyzing the genre with pieces of dialogue that appear to be pointed towards the audience. Some of the plot twists towards the end are not totally satisfying, and there are some off putting scenes that are typical for the genre, but the relationship between the main characters – a socially disregarded university professor and a suicidal high school girl – has enough depth to carry over some weaker moments. Casting Tatsuya Hamaguchi, one of the sleaziest Nikkatsu villains, as concervative father, works as fun little anecdote.

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 04 Jun 2008, 23:52

Woman in the Box: Virgin Sacrifice (Hako no naka no onna: Shojo ikenie) (1985)

Sometimes the history behind film production is more interesting than the final product. With Nikkatsu movies they tend to be equally boring. Here however is something out of ordinary. Highly successful star director Masaru Konuma (Flower and Snake, Wife to be Sacrificed) was preparing his latest project, with the green light already given by the studio. The film would be another SM story where a woman who gets captured and tortured, a world Konuma knows better than most other directors. Everything was set to go. Then, at the last moment, Nikkatsu changed their minds. The time was ready for their new roughie line, they thought, and Woman in the Box would be the one to start it.

What this meant in practice was that Woman in the Box would be a straight to video hard core sex film. The year was 1985 and VHS players had started to gain popularity. AV was stealing its share of Nikkatsu’s usual pink film audience, and the studio wanted to strike back. ”Presenting to you the most exciting Nikkatsu Roman X rated film”, was the answer. From a historical point of view such twist could be anticipated. Large scale pink cinema was born a few decades earlier when TV had ill-treated the box office numbers, and film industry had to find a way to attract audiences back into the dark cinemas. It’s only natural the genre would meets its fate in similar fashion when the technology takes yet another leap.

Konuma was not happy, not at all. He had been helming ambitious and critically acclaimed genre films since the early years of Roman Porno. Jumping into the cheap hard core sex wagon was not what he had on mind. He pulled out his original scrip and froze the production. Finally, after negotiations with the studio, a conclusion was found. Konuma would agree to deliver Nikkatsu what they were asking for, and in return the studio would finance his original script as a sequel. Woman in a Box 2 would also be a theatrical feature, shot in widescreen, unlike the cheap full screen ”original”.

Woman in the Box Part 1 is pain. For the lead character, and the audience. Recent films like Hostel and Saw have brought up the expression ’torture porn’, but here Konuma tries to live up to the term (which I’m not sure existed back then) in a literal sense of the word. The attempt is doomed as the violence, although mean sprited, takes mostly place outside the frame, and the sex is as censored as usual. Nikkatsu was having hopes of finding a blind spot in the censors’ eye in the video market, but no such ”luck” here. The fogging is so strong you sometimes can’t see the performers head. It’s a shame, as the the lead actress (Saeko Kizuki) has a cute face that is one of the few positives that have found their way into the film.

Another, and well, only, thing worth mentioning is the ridiculously cool ending. In fact, I warmly recommend skipping the first 75 minutes and only watching the last 7. Then the seriously bad news; your math is not failing you, nor did I make a mistake with the numbers. Woman in the Box runs 82 minutes. Typically Nikkatsu’s genre movies run approximately 70 minutes, even those that are based on screenplay. Woman in the Box is based on matchbox. It took me four attempts and 2 ice hockey games to finish the movie. There is no storyline, no quality in film making, not even trashy fun. Only sex, sadism and boredom, which in this case are the very same thing.

Note: I usually try to post captures that give you a somewhat 'true and fair view' of the film's content and style (or how I experienced it) (edit: sometimes saving you from the ugliest stuff). However, this time I didn't want to start polluting this thread with the filth Konuma included in this movie. In reality the (optically censored) hard core sex is very much present, while the violent content (which dominates these three caps) is secondary. If you need more captures to decide whether to watch/buy the movie, pm me and I'll email you a dozen caps.

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 05 Jun 2008, 00:16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 04 Jun 2008, 23:53

Woman in the Box II (Hako no naka no onna II) (1988)

Sequels have bad reputation, but it was obvious from the beginning that Woman in the Box II would surpass the miserable original. The first film was a hard core filled compromise effort, made direct to video, that Masaru Konuma only directed to get finance for his original story. The sequel is the film he would’ve delivered in the first place if given a chance. It’s also not hard to guess that the preceding disaster motivated Konuma to put some extra effort into this production.

Indeed, Woman in the Box II redeems even before the storyline kicks off. While the first film showed how a maniac couple kidnapped an innocent girl, and then later moved to the torture phase, the sequel opens with the camera panning in a dark cellar prison where the victim is lying naked on the floor, already tortured and being kept in captivity for a longer time. The atmosphere is lifted directly from horror films, with skillful camerawork and excellent score making it all the more effective.

It turns out that the opening is not just a lucky shot, nor is it misleading. Woman in the Box II is not a pink film with horror, it’s a horror film with pink. And it’s mostly impressive. The story is set on a ski resort where a lonely man lures tourists into his trap and kidnaps and tortures them. Not too far off from Psycho and Norman Bates, actually, but without the mother. While the film is filled with dark images and even darker content, Konuma creates effective contrasts by mixing in beautiful mountain landscapes and outdoor scenes. The soundtrack is used effectively throughout the film.

It’s almost a shame this film, too, is a Nikkatsu production. Konuma is still bound by the (soft core) genre requirements, which mean some ’less than vital for the storyline’ sex scenes. The film would work better as pure horror, although it’s very effective in this form, too. There isn’t much graphic violence, but the atmosphere is very threatening and intense. The cast doesn’t feature memorable performances, but no one goes below the (admittedly low) bar either. A small, hidden gem.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Both films have been released on R2J by Uplink, not Geneon. The transfers are non-anamorphic and interlaced. Note that WitB I caps are taken in de-interlace mode as finding frames without heavy interlacing proved next to impossible. WitB II is a less interlace heavy so the caps are taken properly. The aspect ratio should be correct (WitB I was direct to video feature, hence the full screen presentation).

Quality is not great but it’s not terrible either. WitB II looks maybe a bit worse in caps than in reality. The film is loaded with dark scenes, and I’d imagine some of the smuttiness is intentional. I believe you can see most of what you’re supposed to see, and you’re not supposed to be able to see everything. No problems with audio. No subs as usual. Extras are limited to filmographies and distributor info / bonus trailers (but no trailers for the WitB films).

Below are poster links for both films:
Woman in the Box
Woman in the Box II

*************************

And then to France for a second. Cinemalta's Masaru Konuma box set (Wife to Be Sacrificed and Wet Vase) is supposed to hit the stores June 10, 2008. However, I can't find the final cover art anywhere.

The Tanaka box (Abe Sada and Beauty's Exotic Dance) is set for release on July 1, 2008, according to asia-diffusion. I think I read somewhere that the Kumashiro Box (Ichijo Sayuri and The Woman with Red Hair) would be released in August.

A few months ago the German distributor R.E.M also released Ichijo Sayuri as 'Wet Desire'. You can find it from amazon. The same company released Tanaka's Abe Sada in 2005. I don't know about these releases but R.E.M dvds have a bad habit of being conversions according to my experience. This may or may not be the case with Cinemalta as well, so be careful. Everything these companies have released is also available from Geneon. Abe Sada also has ancient UK and US dvds available, but those suck.
Last edited by HungFist on 16 Aug 2008, 10:14, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 05 Jun 2008, 00:17

Rope and Skin (Nawa to hada) (1979)

Rope and Skin is mostly remarkable for being Naomi Tani’s farewell movie. According to the 31 year old sm starlet herself, she wanted her fans to remember her as a ”forever blooming flower”. Retiring from the movie industry before the effect of aging took its price was the way to achieve this. To honor her decision Nikkatsu decided to make her last film something special; a period pink actioner with a budget.

The picture was scripted by the acclaimed Toei professional Takeshi Matsumoto (who had been working on such classics as Showa zankyo den and the Furyo bancho series). He delivers a screenplay that combines elements from Nikkatsu’s own sm films and Toei’s more classy ninkyo yakuza pics. Novelist Dan Oniroku is also given credit for the storyline, although that seems to be the case with almost every sm film Nikkatsu ever produced. The directing duties were given to Shogoro Nishimura, one of the studio’s most experienced Meisaku Roman experts.

The film’s key scene is placed in the very beginning. Naomi Tani, dressed in white kimono, introduces herself to the audience as a gambler who’s about to participate in the last match of her career. ”Let it be one of my best”, she says. Obviously this scene is referring as much to her acting career as anything in the film. The fact that’s she’s talking directly to the camera only underlines this.

However, the true significance this scene is elsewhere. From Naomi Tani’s appearance to storyline (a female yakuza helping a young couple) and characters everything is made to resemble Toei’s legendary Red Peony Gambler movies. As the film advances it becomes very clear the filmmakers are attempting a sort of Meisaku Roman Red Peony. The comparison is utterly unfavourable, even to miss Tani. She may have been a genre queen, but she doesn’t stand a chance againts someone like Junko Fuji.

Another problem is that despite all the ambition, the film runs short on yakuza ingredients. Make no mistake, this is a Meisaku Roman sm movie and very little else. There’s only a couple of short action scenes and while it’s indeed fun to see a tattooed Tani jumping around topless with a sword in her hand, the quality of these scenes is nothing to get excited about. The storyline is simple and characters have practically zero depth. The soundtrack borrows heavily from Nikkatsu’s own, pre-roman film Blind Woman's Curse (1970).

The amount of torture and degradation scenes is lower than in most films in the (sub) genre, but they’re there alright. Director Nishimura mercifully saves us from the most disturbing details but all the nastiness is still present, even if sometimes off screen. If you had a problem with some other Nikkatsu sm films, you may have to add Rope and Skin to the avoid list as well. On other hand, you can’t really blame the filmmakers for the content. This is a Naomi Tani’s movie after all.

The cast features some interesting names such as Junko Miyashita, who was perhaps Nikkatsu’s most popular star of the time along with Tani. Her role in this movies is more like a cameo, though. The main female support Yuri Yamashina has a cute face but her role isn’t too special. Shohei Yamamoto plays the stripped down Ken Takakura role, without memorable results. The best supporting actor is Tatsuya Hamaguchi, whose villain performance is loaded with enjoyable sleaziness.

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Nov 2008, 14:45, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 05 Jun 2008, 00:24

Yakuza Goddess: Lust and Honor (Yakuza kannon: Iro jingi) (1973)

Young monk gets into trouble and later turns into a lonely yakuza. Tatsumi Kumashiro’s pink coloured crime drama has an unusually long running time, 84 minutes. It exceeds the typical Meisaku Roman length by nearly 15 minutes. As funny as it sounds, such amount of extra minutes on a Nikkatsu feature is almost always a sign of a director’s ambition on the storytelling front. That is the case here, too. Although the film suffers from some pink diseases, the plot is rather decent and interesting especially in the end. Some dead moments and unengaging scenes have slipped into the first half, though. The pay off however comes in form of an excellent and satisfying finale. The also film surprises with the level of stylized brutality; some scenes are quite bloody even by yakuza film standards.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Nov 2008, 14:50, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 05 Jun 2008, 00:29

Path of the Beast (Shoujo shofu: kemonomichi) (1980)

It’s strange, I’ve been a bit disappointed with many of Kumashiro’s most celebrated classics, but found some real treasures among his less appreciated films. Path of the Beast is one of them. It’s a terrific character drama that uses one of my favourite character close ups; long takes. While the whole film is filled with long takes, there’s at least half dozen instances where Kumashiro allows the camera roll more than four minutes continously. This is of course challenging for the actors, but they succeed rather well. Especially the leading lady, Ayako Yoshimura, is terrific and her acting is good by any standards. The cinematography is amazing and captures loads incredibly beautiful images. The theme muisc leaves no room for complaints. Only a handful of ’not so vital for the story’ sex scenes reveal that this, too, originates from Nikkatsu’s exploitation factory.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 14 Jun 2008, 10:21

Attacked (Osou!) (1978)

A shy, raped policewoman becomes obsessed with capturing the criminal and starts using herself as a bait in Yasuhare Hasebe’s pink thriller. The idea is somewhat interesting and clearly more ambitious than the cheap rape and sm movies by some other directors. Here the main character is a victim, but willingly exposes herself to further danger. Unfortunately the execution is left a bit halfway, and never comes close to reaching the psychological depth of the greatest Nikkatsu film (such as Tanaka’s Beauty’s Exotic Dance: Torture).

The visual side is okay - with some nice images and framing here and there - but not as violently graphic as you might expect. For some reason Hasebe, who undeniably is a talented filmmaker, has decided to include more sex than the Nikkatsu guidelines require. The soundtrack by Ludwig van Beethoven however is pretty cool, and the ending goes against genre conventions to some extent. A little disappointing but interesting film, one of the better ones of its kind.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 25 Nov 2008, 18:55, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 14 Jun 2008, 10:22

Secret Chronicle: Prostitute Torture Hell (Maruhi: Joro Seme Jigoku) (1973)

There’s no denying Noboru Tanaka was one of the better Japanese directors of the 70’s. From a technical point of view he’d be almost sure to deliver quality film each time. But he also had a tendency for these distant, dialogue loaded dramas that always seem to score with the critics (A Woman Called Abe Sada being another example). Prostitute Torture Hell stars Rie Nakagawa as a prostitute known as ”death bringer” after many of her customers have died mysteriously. Needless to say the business isn’t blooming for her. As usual for Tanaka’s films, the film mixes sexploitation and arthouse, the emphasis being on the latter. There’s a couple of visual standout scenes, but most of the film consists of dialogue.

Prostitute Torture Hell is the middle part in the Secret Chronicle trilogy. The first film, Prostitution Market, directed by Chusei Sone, was a hilarious comedy. Tanaka’s sequel however is a very serious affair with a handful of dark humour. Tanaka also directed the excellent final film, She Beast Market, which was set to modern day and shot in black and white. The (english) title of Prostitute Torture Hell is accurate but misleading; it’s symbolic. There is no torture as Nikkatsu audiences would understand the term. The movie also goes by a commonly used alternate title; Hell Fated Courtesan.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 16 Jun 2008, 16:38

Eros Schedule Book Concubine Secrets: Tattoo Contest (Irogoyomi ooku hiwa irezumi hyaku-nin kurabe) (1972)

Eros Schedule Book was one of Nikkatsu’s very first Meisaku Roman franchises and ran a total of 9 instalments (from 1971 to 1974). Tattoo Contest, directed by Yukihiko Kondo, was the third film in the series. I haven’t seen any the preceeding or succeeding parts and this movie offers little motivation to do so. It’s a very decent looking period film, but the catch is missing. The film lacks originality and feels breathless (not breastless, the cinematographer obviously has much love for female assets). The only sparks of hope come in form of some tattoo related scenes. Unfortunately the dealing of this subject, too, leaves a lot to be desired. Watch Teruo Ishii’s striking Toei film Inferno of Torture (which also deals with tattoos) for the fourth time instead.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Nov 2008, 14:50, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 16 Jun 2008, 16:40

Showa Woman: Naked Rashomon (Showa onnamichi: Rashomon) (1972)

Despite the title, this Chusei Sone film bears little in common with Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon... not to mention only part of the film is set in the Showa period. The movie begins as a rather dry pink drama about marquis Katsuragawa (Hideaki Ezumi) whose prostitute mistress (Hitomi Kozue) bears him twins. After giving birth she takes the baby girl with her and leaves the boy to Katsuragawa. This is when the movie gets interesting. After 19 years Katsuragawa finally meets his daughter for the first time. Soon after the twins also meet each other by chance - without knowing they that they are actually are related – and fall in love.

Naked Rashomon is not your standard Nikkatsu offering. The surreal scenes and twists make the film more challenging than most genre films. Unlike many other Meisaku Roman productions this one requires some concentration. Taking a quick look at credits explains some of the content and style; Sone started his career as Seijun Suzuki’s assistant director, while screenwriter Atsushi Yamatoya wrote Branded to Kill. There’s also an interesting twist in the cast; Ezumi and Kozue both appear in double roles; they play both the parents and their children.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by HungFist on 27 Nov 2008, 14:49, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 16 Jun 2008, 16:53

Rape! 13th Hour (Reipu 25-ji: Bokan) (1977)

Serial rapist takes a student while being chased by a homosexual gang whose leader had become a victim of his. You don’t see synopsis like that every day. Director Yasuharu Hasebe (who was originally reluctant to follow Nikkatsu to pink cinema, but eventually ended up helming some of the genre’s most notorious achievements) continues to explore his favourite theme; a sudden change (to worse) in a norman person. In Assault! Jack the Ripper a nice guy restaurant worker turned into a mass murderer after being provoked by his girlfriend. Attacked was a story of a shy female cop who became obsessed with capturing the man who raped him and started using her own body as a bait. In Rape! 13th Hour a criminal forces a gas station worker to follow him till he discovers the pleasures of forced entry.

Rape! 13th Hour goes pretty far. Far enough for the studio themself to think they had gone too far. However, I’d imagine the fuss was mostly for the ultra violent last 10 minutes. Which is still not to say the rest of the movie is happy go lucky entertainment. What it is, however, is an extremely slick thriller. Hasebe often accompanies violent images with classical music and here the effect really works, sometimes up to the perfection. The film also moves at fast pace with the secondary main characters not only being a hunter himself but also prey to gang that has swore to capture him. The actual main character (the gas station worker) is partly a bystander, but also has a chance to part in the action whenever he wants to. This gives the movie more depth.

Although it’s not a psychological deep analysis that Hasebe aims at, the film feels more accomplished than the director's previous film, Assault! Jack the Ripper (1976), which had an enormous amout of potential but sacrificed half of it in the pink shrine. 13th Hour aims a little lower, but hits the target accurately and feels more compact. Every sex and rape scene is written into the story and has their effect on the character developement. Hasebe is not afraid to occasionally drift further away from the usual pink ”entertainment”. Acting is good enough and lacks the camp factor for the most part. Yudai Ishiyama is almost horrifyingly believable in the lead role. Genre fans may spot Asami Ogawa, the lead of Hasebe’s later film Attacked (1978), as one of the victims.

Rape! 13th Hour is often mentioned as the most extreme of Nikkatsu’s violent pink films (the critical disapproval actually lead the studio to tone down their violent pink line for a few years, until the genre returned with Koyu Ohara’s Zoom Up: Rape Site in 1979). The wild reputation is a bit exaggerated, though; the violence and rapes are not overly graphic and there’s a tiny bit a dark humour to be found. The storyline and plot twists however are more or less questionable, and what’s worse, thought provoking. Metaphors for the state of the Japanese 1970’s movie industry are also not hard to find, even if the director himself denies them.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10261
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Unread postby HungFist » 16 Jun 2008, 17:05

Poster scan for Yukihiro Sawada’s terrific cop film Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland

Image

I’m taking a break. Don’t expect updates anytime soon.


Return to “Asian Film/DVD Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 18 guests