Classic Japanese Exploitation (pinky violence & pink)

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.
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Unread postby HungFist » 09 May 2007, 13:47

Female Yakuza Tale (Yasagure anego den: sôkatsu rinchi) (1973)

Teruo Ishii’s sequel to Sex & Fury is often considered the better of the two. I don’t quite agree but I do admit Female Yakuza Tale is a pretty damn good sequel. Ishii’s movie is less about cinematic poetry and more about outrageous fun. Ishii has added some hilarious humour, a totally off the wall plot and amped up the level of sex and violence. In terms of visuals the film is even more colourful than the original. A friend of mine described Female Yakuza Tale as the most colourful movie he has ever seen. He of course had not seen Bohachi Bushido but what he said wasn’t too far from the truth.

The gambling theme is almost fully gone and what remains is just the historical yakuza roots. Ishii however introduces an interesting and maybe a little bit insulting (feminists beware) mystery plot. There’s also several characters who’s motives aren’t revealed until at the end which makes the story unexpectedly catchy. Less unexpectedly there’s an overload of sex but thankfully Ishii keeps things moving fast and never stops to waste too much time for a single scene.

One scene that has to be mentioned is the incredible, insane finale (slight spoilers in this paragraph). An army of naked women armed with swords, guns and hand granades takes on a group of yakuzas. There’s blood, guts and naked swordswomen literally flying through the screen. Something you’re unlikely to ever see again. After the massacre we get to hear the film’s theme song performed by Reiko Ike herself. This was another 70’s exploitation film trend, with Miki Sugimoto singing a Meiko Kaji inspired theme in Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs and Meiko Kaji herself of course singing several classic themes. And speaking of Kaji, Female Yakuza Tale also feautures a certain hilarious Sasori reference.

The Panik House dvd is quite similiar to Sex & Fury disc, except that this time the brightness level is even more optimal. I think I noticed some slight edge enhancement twice during the films but it’s forgivable as the transfer seems sharper than Sex & Fury. Damn near perfect work. Extras offer the usual Chris D commentary, bio and filmographies, bad girl essay, production notes, artwork galleries and original trailer. Sticker and special case were limited to first press as before.

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Ryohei Uchida
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Veteran actor Kanjuro Arashi
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Tatsuo Endo, one of the many Sex & Fury actors returning in different role
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As usual, the original trailer features some action not in the final movie
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Last edited by HungFist on 20 May 2007, 12:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 10 May 2007, 11:25

"The shocking story of a juvenile slut named Rica"

Media Blasters / Exploitation Digital will be releasing Toho’s Rica series (three films) on dvd. The first movie is set to be released on August 14. More info at: http://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2007/05/09/media-blasters-to-release-toho%e2%80%99s-rica-film-series/

Here’s synopsis for the first film:

Konketsuji Rika = Half-Breed Rika (Toho, Japan, 1972). Dir Ko Nakahira. Wrt Kaneto Shindo. With Rika Aoki, Kazuko Nagamoto, Masatane Tsukayama, Fuminori Sato. (90 min, color, 35mm)

Toho's contribution to the "sukeban" genre - actually a sub-genre of the female yakuza genre - featuring the exploits of young female delinquents (or "girl gang bosses"). This was the first in a trilogy, with all three installments written by Kaneto Shindo, director of such classics as Onibaba and The Island. Director Ko Nakahira (Crazed Fruit) is sometimes (as is Shindo) lumped together with the Japanese New Wave filmmakers.

- http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/pickford/pi ... rrent.html

+ a poster stolen from yahoo
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http://page5.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/e66273878

(also thanks to Al Edwards at dvdmaniacs for bringing this to my attention)

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Unread postby HungFist » 13 May 2007, 11:31

Blind Woman’s Curse (Kaidan nobori ryu) (1970)

This is my first touch to pinky horror so I’m even less of an expert this time than usual. But, what we have here looks like a traditional yakuza film spiced with some horror elements. It’s also the concluding part in the Rising Dragon series. The first two films starred Hiroko Ogi who however was busy with another series at the time of the third instalment and Nikkatsu decided to award their new rising star Meiko Kaji with her first lead role. Teruo Ishii, who had directed the first part returned to helm the piece. According to Ishii the horror elements were not in the original scrip and and they were already shooting when Ishii recieved the order to blend in the horror imagery. You might wonder if this could lead to anything good but watching the finished film you don’t really notice it. Which on the other hand is not very surprising. This is a Teruo Ishii film after all. In the Ishii universe anything could and would happen.

The opening scene is wonderful. Meiko Kaji and the gang fighting the rivalry yakuza group in rain. Ishii would later use the almost exact same opening for Female Yakuza Tale, although it’s better handled here. Soon after the opening you’ll notice that the film doesn’t look quite as gorgeous and visually striking as the Toei’s productions of the time. I would assume this is due to lower budget. Several single scenes such as the extremely satisfying ending still look jaw dropping but many others have more casual look. On the other hand it’s in line with the film’s style as the roots of Blind Woman’s Curse lie firmly on traditional period yakuza genre. That old school spirit was one of the things I liked about the movie. If you’re expecting a wild Female Yakuza Tale kind of over the top sex and violence fest you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The horror elements in the film work nicely. Blind Woman’s Curse doesn’t classify as pure horror by any means, it’s more of a yakuza film with horror imagery appearing throughout. Among these elements is the classic sad and creepy hunchback character played by Tatsumi Hijikata of Horror of the Malformed Men. The rest of the supporting cast feautures familiar faces like Yoshi Kato, Toru Abe, Ryohei Uchida (the male lead of Female Yakuza Tale) and Makoto Sato who Sonny Chiba fans know from his roles in The Executioner and Karate Inferno (both directed by Ishii). In the lead role Meiko Kaji once again reminds what a glamorous actress she was. I love Reiko Ike and especially Miki Sugimoto but Meiko Kaji is in a whole different league.

Discotek’s region free US release is a decent effort at least. The picture quality varies between excellent and poor. Many scenes look a bit raw and boosted, however the most important scenes look mostly pristine. One great thing about the transfer is that it’s very sharp, even if it displays some minor edge enhancement. The transfer is not progressive. Bonus material consists of Chris D commentary, filmographies, original trailer, bonus trailers (including a horrifying new trailer for Red Handcuffs), photo gallery and a very informative text essay. The dvd cover uses the original poster art which is of course a big plus. The menus are nice but spoil the end setting so I recommed blind browsing.

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Makoto Sato and Yoko Takagi
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When the transfer goes wrong; Ryohei Uchida
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Last edited by HungFist on 08 Jul 2007, 21:21, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 15 May 2007, 18:08

Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs (Zeroka no onna: Akai wappa) (1974)

If you feel like you’ve had enough of artsploitation and would like to try something less elegant it’s hard to think of a better movie than Yukio Noda’s Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs. Not to be confused with the 90’s / 2000’s straight to video crap, this original 1974 film is pinky violence at it’s grittiest. Stylish and groovy combination of 70’s crime cinema and ultra violence, this film is like Fukasaku or Friedkin on acid. Those with a weak stomach stay the hell away.

Red Handcuffs stars Miki Sugimoto (who also appeared in numerous films with Reiko Ike before retiring and becoming a nursery school teacher) as an undercover cop who’s mission is to save a well know politician’s (Tetsuro Tamba) daughter from the hands of six kidnappers, and destroy all evidence of the incident... including the kidnappers themself. The leader of the criminals is played by Eiji Go who gives a wonderful over the top performance. In this movie the bad guys are truly bad, only outdone by some truly sadistic good guys (including Hideo Murota). But that makes it all the more satisfying to see Miki taking care of the human garbage at the end. Pinky Violence fans should also recognize Yoko Mihara as one very bad girl.

Other than sex, violence and style the film also features an excellent soundtrack that perfectly accompanies the images and especially the action at the end. The only real flaw in the film would be the fact that some parts may feel a bit heavy because of the strong content and the lack of humour. The last 20 minutes however is such a stylish showcase of ultraviolent action that you’re likely to forget any flaws that might have occurred earlier. As a nice little spice the film also features some strong political references (the american military presence in 70’s Japan). Such themes weren’t rare in japanese cinema of the time and can be found in some other well know pinky violence film such as Criminal Woman: Killing Melody and Nikkatsu’s Stray Cat Rock films.

When it comes to available dvd releases two respectable options exist; HK Video (from Femmes Fatales box set) and R1 Discotek. Toei unfortunately has not released the film on dvd. The HK Video transfer is unfortunately not among their best (and looks better in those caps than as a whole in real life). There’s too much contrast in bright scenes and in darker scenes characters tend to have very pale faces. Sometimes skintones also have slight purple shade. HK Video has given the transfer a bluish tint which doesn’t make things any better. One scene also features noticable print damage in form of a blue vertical lines (doesn’t last for long). I had to do a lot of adjusting (everything from contrast to chroma and colors) but ultimately I managed to make the image look quite alright for most of the time and very good for beginning and ending.

I’ve been trying compare my HK Video disc to Discotek caps I’ve found from internet and it would seem that while Discotek fixes the pale/purple face problem (and looks far, far superior in some shots) it has been given even more visible, however less strong blue/pink tint. In the end, The HK Video may still be better. I’m gonna keep my HK Video till Toei releases the film... although I recall hearing that the Toei masters are in poor shape and Discotek possibly used a french source (the difference between HK Video and Discotek appears to be huge though and nothing would really suggest they come from the same source). The following screencaptures come from the HK Video dvd.

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Hideo Murota
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Eiji Go
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Yoko Mihara
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Tetsuro Tamba... with a purple face
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Last edited by HungFist on 15 Nov 2007, 14:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 15 May 2007, 18:52

HK Video’s Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs dvd is only available as a part of Coffret Femmes Fatales box set. It’s a white card board package that opens like a book and holds two digipacks. The art work is great as always with HK Video

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The other dvd in set is Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion. Note that the sequel, Jailhouse 41, was released by Studio Canal, not HK Video.

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And finally, there’s a 16 page booklet

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Both dvds feature similar extras: introduction for the film, short bio & filmographies, original trailer and bonus trailers for other HK Video releases. The animated main menu on 701 is especially stylish with Meiko's theme song played on the background as a whole and the video / animation running circles so that it starts from the beginning again and again without any break. Bye bye 30 second menu animations.

My next review will be Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion but I’ll be reviewing it from the Media Blasters dvd and not the inferior HK Video release.

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Unread postby HungFist » 17 May 2007, 10:25

Cover arts for Malformed Men and Snake Woman from Fangoria

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Extras

Horrors of Malformed Men

• Audio commentary by film critic and 2003 Ishii retrospective programmer Mark Schilling
• New documentary featurette including interviews with cult directors and Ishii fans Shinya (TETSUO) Tsukamoto and Minoru (THE CALAMARI WRESTLER) Kawasaki
• Ishii’s video introduction from the 2003 Far East Film Festival
• Original Japanese theatrical trailer
• Ishii and author Edogawa Rampo biographies
• Poster galleries and trailers from other Ishii and Rampo films

Snake Woman's Curse

• Audio commentary by Japanese film scholar Jonathan Hall
• Original Japanese theatrical trailer
• Nakagawa biography
• Poster gallery and trailers for other Nakagawa films

More extras are to be announced; each disc retails for $24.95. —Michael Gingold


http://www.fangoria.com/news_article.php?id=4281

And no word about Chris D. I don't want to be mean at the guy (hey, I even have his book) but it's nice to see that they've found other people to do commentaries... I mean other than Andy Klein and Wade Major (that was fucking nightmare pair)


interesting that Panik House isn't even mentioned in the cover. But this only strengthens my suspicions. I don't expect to hear about Panik House again once all of the 6 dvds are out. Such a shame. They're work with Pinky Violence films has been revolutionary.
Last edited by HungFist on 28 May 2008, 18:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 20 May 2007, 13:17

Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion (Joshuu 701-go: Sasori) (1972)

701 is the first part in Toei’s classic Female Prisoner Scorpion series. This and the sequel Jailhouse 41 are widely considered the absolute best in the genre. The original film also marked Shunya Ito’s (sometimes credited as Toshiya Ito) directorial debut. Ito directed two sequels for the film before leaving the series to the hands of Yasuharu Hasebe who directed one more instalment to the original series. All four films starred the glamorous Meiko Kaji.

What that made Ito’s entries in the wip genre so special was his extremely ambitious visual approach. Even though the prison setting doesn’t offer very colourful surroundings Ito has filled the film with first grade camera work and surreal images. No wonder the production took approximately five times longer than the average Toei film of the time. Aside the visuals the music is also used wonderfully, including Meiko Kaji’s famous theme song Urami Bushi. However, despite the technical brilliancy Ito doesn’t forget the films manga origins. Although the source material was cleaned up a bit 701 is still very much an exploitation movie with gratuitous violence and nudity throughout. There’s a bit of political attitude as well but I’m unable to say whether it originates from the manga or not.

One major factor behind the film’s success is Meiko Kaji. She was a perfect choice for the role of Nami Matsushima, a woman betrayed by her lover (Isao Natsuyagi) and sent to prison for life. Kaji has more charisma and dignity than five average pinky violence stars put together, and the fact that she has no more than a dozen lines of dialogue in the whole film makes her appearance even stronger. 701 being one her first Toei films it’s interesting that here she finally agreed to do nudity. I don’t think she ever did that for Nikkatsu, the company she left when their films started becoming too driven by the erotic content.

Speaking of Nikkatsu; Hiroko Ogi, the actress Meiko Kaji replaced as the lead of Blind Woman’s Curse, can be spotted here as one of the prisoners. Another remarkable star in the film is Fumio Watanabe who does excellent job playing the sadistic warden. He and the two guards played by Hideo Murota and Chinzo Hotta come close to stealing the show a few times. Watanabe would later co-star in another all time pinky violence classic, Norifumi Suzuki’s School of the Holy Beast.

Muldoon at asiandvdguide confirms that the R1 Media Blasters dvd is a Toei port but encoded with a lower bitrate. This being a rather barebones disc and the film running less than 90 minutes it thankfully didn’t cause any compression problems that I would’ve noticed. The transfer itself is nice.You might argue that the blacks are less than solid but I’d rather take my image like this than manipulated and unnatural looking like HK Video’s transfer. Playing a bit with contrast and brightness I managed to make the image quite pleasing. Extras include 4 page liner notes by Chris D (he’s everywhere), original trailer and a good photo gallery plus bonus trailer for other Media Blasters releases. The cover art uses one of the films original posters.

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Meiko Kaji
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Fumio Watanabe
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Shinzo Hotta
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Hideo Murota
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Hiroko Ogi
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Yumiko Katayama
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Yoko ”my middle name is pinky violence” Mihara
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Rie Yokoyama
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Yayoi Watanabe
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The great Isao Natsuyagi
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A picture comparison between HK Video and Media Blasters can be found here:
http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... 2683#42683
Last edited by HungFist on 05 Nov 2007, 21:06, edited 3 times in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 27 May 2007, 15:25

I was subbing Dario Argento’s [spoiler]Suspiria (1977)[/spoiler] (top) and there was a shot that reminded me a lot of Norifumi Suzuki’s [spoiler]School of the Holy Beast (1974)[/spoiler] (bottom) which was made three years earlier. Some reviewer commented the Suzuki film saying [spoiler]"Dario Argento meets the Marquis de Sade"[/spoiler] but maybe it was actually the other way round

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spoiler tags to hide the film titles

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Unread postby HungFist » 30 May 2007, 15:32

Received Toei's Jailhouse 41 dvd today. While it's badly cropped the image is otherwise far superior to Studio Canal dvd. Will compare and review later.

But that's not why I'm writing this post. I was fixing subs and everything went to hell timing wise. Why? There's no other logical explanation that that there's a difference in running times (other than the PAL / NTSC issue, I have that covered). While the beginning and ending were in sync the middle part was far from it. After picking up timings for a more than dozen random lines throughout the film and seeing how the sych changes I could finally track down the problem point:

The Studio Canal dvd is cut. The rape scene in the beginning runs approx 12 second longer on Toei. The NTSC / PAL difference doesn't come even close to explain such difference in a scene that runs about 90 seconds.

Next comes the nasty part. I gotta to take a pen and start writing down the shots in the scene try to see what's missing on Studio Canal dvd. It's not a graphic scene so there's no obvious shots that might be missing.

Anyway, now I know where to split the subs. Hopefully there won't be further problems. I'll get back to edit issue when I get the film subbed, watched and reviewed... hopefully later this week.

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Unread postby HungFist » 23 Jun 2007, 14:40

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (Joshuu sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bo) (1972)

Shunya Ito’s second instalment in the Sasori series is, if possible, even better than the terrific original film. Ito moves further away from anything you could label as typical women in prison movie, or typical exploitation. The first big surprise comes soon after the technically brilliant but storywise not so surprising opening scenes. Seven female prisoners manage to escape while being transported to the prison, and the whole rest of the movie takes place outside the prison walls. Among the escaped prisoners is Scorpion (Meiko Kaji) who holds personal grudge against the sadistic warden (Fumio Watanabe).

Most of the film plays out like a surreal road movie. The storyline itself is simple but slightly spiced it up with some sensitive subjects like echos of Japan’s wartime crimes. Visually the film is exceptional with terrific cinematography and use of colours. The surreal content is perfectly balanced with the more realistic parts and never feels out of place in the story. Sound effects, music, silence and songs by Meiko Kaji are used extremely well and deserve a special mention. The ending is not quite as satisfying as in the first film, but what preceeds it is one hell of a memorable trip.

The main star Meiko Kaji dominates every scene she’s in, despite the fact that she has no more than two lines of dialogue in the entire film. But her eyes say more than a thousand words ever could, and this is certainly not left unnoticed by Ito who takes full use of close ups of her eyes. As far as male cast goes Fumio Watanabe, Shinzo Hotta and Hideo Murota all return from the first film.

The dvds

I own two dvd editions of the film. The japanese dvd by Toei (used in this review) is interlaced and heavily cropped, which is a serious problem in such a carefully framed film. The colour and brightness however is pretty much perfect. The french Studio Canal dvd is not cropped but is overly bright, which hurts the films colours which in case of Jailhouse 41 is an extremely big deal. The film is full of discreet color and brightness details that go missing on the Studio Canal dvd. The background detail is also a mess, plus there’s edge enhancement. It also features burn it french subtitles for credits and for one song in the middle of the movie.

The Studio Canal dvd is cut. The rape scene in the beginning is missing the last 12 seconds. There’s no graphic footage, just men laughing. On the Toei dvd the sound goes mute near the end of the scene (I’m sure this is intentional). My guess is that some french smart ass though it wasn’t intentinal and cut that footage out. I don’t see a reason to avoid this dvd because of this specific flaw, but it does make the scene worse as the sudden transition from the horror to complete silence is very effective.

There’s a third transfer for the film which was used on the old OOP US dvd by Image (NTSC) and the recent UK dvd by Eureka (NTSC to PAL), but that transfer seems very poor (although not cropped) and comes with burnt in english subtitles. I really wonder why Eureka went for the US transfer instead of the native PAL Studio Canal transfer... especially when Studio Canal are well known for licensing their transfers to other companies. Aside these four editions there’s also a German dvd by R.E.M which is very likely to a port of the Toei transfer (but NTSC to PAL).

Extras wise Studio Canal has the edge with their exclusive Shunya Ito, Romain Slocombe and Risaku Kiridoushi interviews. There’s also an introduction for the film (by Jean-Pierre Dionnet), picture gallery and text infos. But where the hell are the trailers? Well, they’re on the Toei dvd, which comes with both the original trailer and the original teaser. The usual photo gallery is also included, and Toei has used the original poster as cover art. Studio Canal too went for the original poster, it’s just that the idiots picked the wrong movie. They’ve used artwork from the third movie (Beast Stable)! The titles found in the cover are ”Beast Stable” (in japanese) and ”Elle S’appelait Scorpion”. The back cover claims the original title is Female Convict Scorpion (which is the first half of the US title). And they have four or five different spellings for the director’s name....

EDIT:
Pathe later released all 6 movies in a box set in France. For Jailhouse 41 is seems they have used the Studio Canal, but they have remastered it. It is sharper than Toei and does not feature the cropping present on Toei’d dvd, but the colours are a bit bluish, and not as accurate as Toei in my opinion. The cut remains, but no burnt in subtitles anymore. It’s a good release but I still consider Toei the best edition.

Discotek / Eastern Star has also licensed Jailhouse 41 and will release it in 2009 or 2010.

Toei screencaptures
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Footage missing from the french dvd
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Picture quality comparison between Toei, Studio Canal and Pathe dvds can be found here:
http://www.bulletsnbabesdvd.com/forums/ ... php?t=3693
Last edited by HungFist on 25 Apr 2009, 19:17, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 23 Jun 2007, 16:44

Here’s the Studio Canal dvd cover art. This must be the first time in the history of dvd there’s two wrong titles in the covers plus one local translation no one’s ever heard of and no mention of original one. And the artwork of a wrong movie of course. D’oh!

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As if that wasn’t enough, they have four different spellings for the directors name: Shunia Ito (back cover), Shunya Ito (front cover), Ito Shunya (opening credits) and Shinya Ito (inteview).

The Toei dvd comes with the correct artwork

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Unread postby HungFist » 29 Jun 2007, 18:53

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (Joshuu sasori: Kemono-beya) (1973)

Shunya Ito’s third instalment in the series could be considered the final proof of his exceptional skill. After turning the original women in prison movie – which was never a strandard offering of the genre to begin with – into a surreal trip to madness Ito once again turns the table upside down and delivers a movie that differs from the previous instalments like day and night. The fellow prisoners, the sadistic warden, the surrealism, even the prison setting are all gone. The third film follows the escaped Sasori who tries to settle down in a big city while being chased by a persistent cop (Mikio Narita)

Despite the outrageous opening scene Beast Stable is more of a character study than anything else. Ito uses long takes, often without any dialogue or music, and really lets the silent Meiko Kaji shine. The soundtrack features some incredibly beautiful tunes that accompany the images flawlessly. While these moments are the film’s very best offering, they don’t unfortunately last till the end. The second half is very solid genre cinema but after the unexpectedly impressive and melancholic first half you can’t help but to feel slightly disappointed. There’s still some more discreet moments but much of the content would actually work even better in a different movie.

While the second half doesn’t go exactly where you’d hope it to go, there’s no denying of it being thoroughly entertaining. Content wise the film moves closer to the previous films, which depending on the viewer is either a good or a bad thing. The very last is simply wonderful and would be a perfect way to end the series. The Toei bosses however would not let the series rest and the next film would be produced without Ito’s participation. The original trilogy however remains one of the greatest achievements in exploitation cinema history.

It’s unclear whether the R1 Media Blasters dvd is a direct port of the Toei dvd or not. The source print is almost certainly the same but MB may or may not have done some further tweaking for the image. What we have here is a nice, slightly digital looking interlaced transfer. The colours look good and there’s no problems with edge enhancement. The extras offer a picture gallery, original trailer, original teaser and bonus trailers. The good looking cover art is very similiar to the original theatrical poster, minus the text and the edges.

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Unread postby HungFist » 03 Jul 2007, 17:28

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song (Joshuu sasori: 701-go urami-bushi) (1973)

When Ito left the series directing duties were handed over to Yasuharu Hasebe, best know for his work at Nikkatsu. Hasebe directed several yakuza pictures as well as some super stylish pop cinema classics like Black Tight Killers and three of the five Stray Cat Rock films (all starring Meiko Kaji) in the late 60’s and early 70’s before diving deep into roman porno in the late 70’s and helming some of the most notorious violent pinku films ever made. His visit at the Toei studios did not produce exactly the kind of movie Sasori fans were expecting. That however is not to say the movie turned out bad.

Hasebe’s instalment in the Sasori series would be best considered an individual movie and not much so of a continuation of the series. The truth is that Grudge Song shares little resemblance with the three other films. Although Ito’s films too were highly distinctive from each other, Grudge Song feels like an outsider in the series. Except from the ending, there’s no familiar themes or elements, nor are there shiny visuals. Instead Hasebe delivers an impressive crime drama circulating around characters abandoned by the society. The the muted visual look may disappoint the fans, but is in fact a perfect fit for the style.

The contast to the previous films when it comes to content is actually so high the viewer is even likely to forget the character played by Meiko Kaji is indeed the same Sasori as in the previous films (although Kaji herself acts the role in similiar fashion). But that’s how it should go, it’s the key to enjoying this movie. Myself I didn’t really start to appreciate Grudge Song until on the second viewing. Hasebe’s direction is indeed very different from Ito’s but not really inferior. The soundtrack is terrific and the supporting characters prove out stronger than in any of the previous films. Especially the scenes between Kaji and Masakazu Tamura are excellent and often haunting. There’s a small notch in quality after the halfway but the last 15 minutes is very satisfying and marks the second time the series gets a fitting end.

The R1 Media Blasters is slightly problematic. The film is meant to look very muted but probably not quite like this. Adjusting contrast and brightness will however lead to a moderately pleasing image, although it’s impossible to say exactly how the film is supposed look. Otherwise the disc is much like their Beast Stable dvd. Interlaced transfer, good audio, and original trailer (no teaser), picture gallery and bonus trailers as extras. The cover art is nothing like the original poster, but is thankfully very stylish.

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Last edited by HungFist on 17 Dec 2007, 08:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 03 Jul 2007, 18:25

Media Blasters cover arts for Beast Stable and Grudge Song

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Plus some stylish production stills for the first two films from 'outnow'

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check out http://outnow.ch for more and non-resized
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Unread postby HungFist » 04 Jul 2007, 15:44

The Sasori series was later exploited with new instalments that were not a part of the original series and do not feature Meiko Kaji. The most interesting of these would be New Female Prisoner Scorpion (Shin joshuu sasori: 701-go) (1976) starring Yumi Takigawa (the star of School of the Holy Beast, as well as several Kinji Fukasaku films), Ema Ryoko (more about her in the upcoming pinky violence reviews) and Nobuo Kaneko. I haven’t seen the film, but it could be worth a check.

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(ebay stolen image)

The 90’s (and possibly 2000’s) direct to video films like Scorpion's Revenge (aka Sasori in USA) look like something you want to avoid. (as reminder, also remember to stay the hell away from the 90’s Zero Woman films).

A bit more interesting looks HK producer/director Joe Ma’s upcoming HK – Japan co-production starring Miki Mizuno (as Sasori) and Simon Yam (as an old martial arts master). The film should throw a martial arts twist in the series, which basically sounds awful, but considering what are the options it actually sounds like a decent idea. It could turn out decent trash, but naturally light years from anything made in the 70’s. The main star Mizuno is apparently no newbie to kung fu moves as she studied Shorinji Kempo in her youth. Check out her blog for more information about the film: http://www.628drive.net/profile.html
(I haven’t been reading that recently but some months back there were nice some behind the scenes photos)

flyer stolen from twitch
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behind the scenes images:
http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/6191 ... 86anu9.jpg
http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/233/dscf1060aqv5.jpg
http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/2610 ... 51acp6.jpg

(rest assured, this was my final Sasori post... for now at least)

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Unread postby HungFist » 07 Jul 2007, 10:18

Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai) (1971)

Worthless to Confess, the fourt part in the Deliquent Girl Boss series, opens with a scene where the girls are watching Abashiri bangaichi film in prison and going crazy over Ken Takakura. Reminded me of how I watch some idol films myself... okay, back to the movie; One year later the girls are all out, although released at different times, and trying honest living and staying out of trouble. The film follows mainly Rika, played by the sweet Reiko Oshida.

Worthless to Confess is nice fresh air in the pinky violence genre. None of the usual madness and psychedelia of Ishii and the likes is here to be found. Instead the film is enormously entertaining and loaded with humour, music, ultra cool 70’s fashion, positive girl gang attitude and a very cute lead. I’m happy Reiko Oshida never agreed to ”go low” in the series nor would the director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi have allowed her to. Yamaguchi in fact stood against the Toei bosses and said that if they wanted Reiko to do nudity he wouldn’t shoot it.

Without spoiling too much it has to be said that the ending alone makes the film essential viewing for all action fanatics. It’s the only action scene in the film but in this case quality more than makes up for quantity. You’re gonna have to watch quite a few genre films before you find an ending as satistying as this. Worthless to Confess is simply a great film and stands out in a very positive way.

The Panik House dvd is just great. I can’t be bothered nitpicking this time so I’ll just say the transfer is perfect. Perfect colour, good sharpness, edge enhancement nowhere to be found... extremely pleasing for the eye. Extras feature very short biographies, nice picture galleries, rather useless production notes, the usual monotonic Chris D commentary and the original trailer that does not feature any notable ’not in the film’ footage.

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Last edited by HungFist on 14 Nov 2007, 16:14, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postby HungFist » 07 Jul 2007, 17:41

One more cap of Reiko Oshida sweetness:

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I've only seen one movie from her but so far I’m impressed. She’s full of energy and she’s got a real cute voice. I’d love to see more of her work. I’m a fan of many other pinky violence stars too, like Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto but them I only love because they’re so cool and such badasses. But to be honest, those girls scare me a bit. If I was thrown into a pinky violence movie (ala Last Action Hero) I’d like it to be a Reiko Oshida movie :D

Thinking of it, Reiko Ike would probably sleep with me before killing me (using a sword or poison on her body)... while Miki Sugimoto would probably take her shirt off and then shoot me dead with a tiny red pistol... and Meiko Kaji would stab me dead without ever saying me a word. :D

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Unread postby HungFist » 08 Jul 2007, 10:53

Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (Zenka onna: koroshi-bushi) (1973)

Killing Melody is the only film in the box set that is not a part of a longer series. Although the original trailer refers it as ”first in the new series” I don’t think any sequels were ever made. I don’t know what got Toei into changing their minds as the film is awesome. Helmed by first time director Atsushi Mihori and starring a wide variance of genre stars from the electrofying lead couple Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto to such excellent supporting stars as Shinzo Hotta. You can also spot many familiar girls you’ve seen in Deliquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Yumiko Katayama), Seiju gakuen and the Sasori films.

Killing Melody begins as a women in prison flick but once the girls are released and Reiko Ike decides to go after the man who killed his father the film turns into a super slick crime thriller. Although Mihori leaves the usual over the top colour play to his collegues the film is extremely stylish from start to finish. I don’t think Reiko Ike has ever looked this good (some of the dresses she wears are amazing). She also sings the nice but less-than-memorable theme song. The rest of the soundtrack is actually notably better and the theme melody is very beautiful. The best part of the movie is without a doubt the incredibly stylish last 15 minutes.

The director deserves recognition for how swiftly he keeps thing moving. Despite some genre violence and incredibly long cat fights the film is rather ”light” in tone and time goes past really fast while watching this. This is a great ’feel good’ pinky violence flick, even if we once again have some political attitude in form of the American G.I.s. But while in Red Handcuffs Eiji Go was pissing over (not quite literally) the americans immigrants here the G.I.s are given a much softer treatment... even if they’re all shown as sex hungry gun dealers...

The dvd has very slightly too much contrast and there some minor edge, too. There’s also more slight scratches that I expected. But as a whole, those are such small flaws this is a pretty stunning transfer. Japanese 70’s films have never looked this good on dvd before. Same extras as before, except that the commentary is by film critics Andy Klein and Wade Major. Both make complete fools of themselves. The original trailer does not feature any deleted footage.

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Unread postby slasher13 » 09 Jul 2007, 14:36

DVDTimes has reviewed, Blind Woman Curse, Love the coverart for it

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Unread postby HungFist » 09 Jul 2007, 18:45

Girl Boss Guerilla (Sukeban gerira) (1972)

Norifumi Suzuki’s third instalment in the Sukeban series isn’t quite what it seems. It’s a biker gang film but goes agains most genre traditions in both story and style. It’s also one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Once again we get to witness Suzuki’s grudge against the authorities as he spends the first 20 minutes making fun of almost every authority figure imaginable. Monks and nuns get their share, as do doctors, husbands and men in general. There’s a few short glipses of strong violence later in the film but mainly Girl Boss Guerilla is all about light weight entertainment and girls kicking ass. Most of the film takes place in Kyoto where many scenes shot on public areas with real people instead of fully staged scenes with studio actors. This works nicely and brings some freshess to the outdoor scenes.

While Reiko Ike (who’s plays a supporting role here) really got to shine in Criminal Woman, this is Miki Sugimoto’s moment of glamour. Well, maybe not glamour but she looks really good and even a little bit sweet in Girl Boss Guerilla. Miki also sings one of the songs on the soundtrack. While she not the greatest singer it’s always nice to have one of the main actresses singing instead of a professional singer. There’s another and much better song in the film when Ichiro’s (Michitaro Mizushima) old pal arrives and writes a song for the lovers. You could argue there’s a minor glitch in the scene where he performs the song as he’s using a guitar but all you can hear coming out from the speakers is piano tunes...

Suzuki often revisits the same themes in his movies and in Girl Boss Guerilla I spotted one of the more interesting ones. There’s s brief moment of Reiko walking on the streets of Kyoto that kinda reminded me of the numerous festival scenes in Suzuki’s hugely popular mid/late 70’s Truck Yaro series (although I’m not sure if anyone else is gonna see a connection here). In Truck Yaro Bunta Sugawara (and usually Kinya Aikawa) would visit one local festival around Japan in almost every movie. The scene in Girl Boss Guerilla is not a festival scene but has similiar feel and immediately brought Truck Yaro to my mind.

One thing I love about the movie is that it has the most awesome nude scenes. These scenes are cool as hell and often humoristic (especially some of the sex scenes) and Suzuki has managed to shoot them basically without any perverted voyeurism fell. Miki arriving the beach toppless is my second favourite nude scene of all time right behind Michael Caine in Get Carter. Suzuki’s always been good with these scenes and I think it’s because he himself would get easily bored and always felt the need to spice the scenes up and do things differently compared to other directors. But then again, it’s hardly surprising Suzuki excels in this area as too. There’s no denying he was one of the most gifted men working on japanese cinema in the late 60’s and 70’s. Although Girl Boss Guerilla does not rank among his most ambitious work it’s an extremely enjoyable film for those who don’t mind some very lowbrow comedy.

The dvd

There’s some edge enhancement at times which prevents the transfer from being perfect. It does not however prevent the transfer from being one of the best looking presentations I have ever seen for a 70’s movie. On the audio commentary we have asian cinema columnist Wyatt Doyle and the (former) Panik House president Matt Kennedy. I haven’t listened to the whole track but it seemed like a great improvement over the previous Panik House commentaries. Both men seem to know what they’re talking about and tell some interesting behing the scenes stories.

The original trailer comes with a few glimpses of interesting deleted footage + footage from some other film, possibly another instalment in the series. Toei often promoted their films with footage taken from other pictures that sometimes had no other connection than the leading star. Interestingly the sunset scene looks totally different in the trailer. In the film it’s all yellow and orange, but in the trailer there’s no sunset anywhere. Pure daylight colour scheme. And the thing is, both look 100% natural. I don’t know what to think of it so won’t. The rest of the extras consist of photo galleries and useless production notes by Chris D.

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Ema Ryoko, who never survives a fight without ripping her shirt :D
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I can’t believe it, Yoko Mihara has once again found her way into a pinky violence film
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Unread postby HungFist » 10 Jul 2007, 15:57

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom (Kyofu joshikoko: boko rinchi kyoshitsu) (1973)

What do you get when you mix all girls’ high school and pinky violence? Lots of lesbian sex in the school bathroom that’s for sure. But since were’re not interested in such things, what else? Well, first of all, this is no ordinary high school but a school for girls that didn’t quite fit the normal schools. The young chicks the government couldn’t handle. The opening scene with the girls punishing the poor deliquent by draing her blood out should give you some taste of what’s to come.

Terrifying Girls' High School is the second Norifumi Suzuki film in the box set and comes with the same leading cast as Sukeban gerira; Miki Sugimoto as the lead, Ema Ryoko (who once again gets her shirt ripped in a fight against Miki) as the villain, and Reiko Ike, who’s given probably the coolest introduction scene of the decade, in a supporting role. Yoko Mihara also appears in small role. But unlike Girl Boss Guerilla, this film is much darker in tone and more violent. Some scenes are genuinely disturbing although there’s also lots of humour and a very cool soundtrack to lighten the tone a bit.

Suzuki’s usual mockery of the authorities goes so over the top that it’s hard to say if he’s really aiming at a political target or just having fun his own way. However, when the torture methods used by American soldiers in Vietnam find their way into the movie I don’t think there’s two ways about it. Suzuki himself has stated that he liked to insert (more or less) indirect political and social messages to his movies, as did many other japanese directors of the 70’s. In terms of exploitation content Lynch Law Classroom is clearly stronger than the other three films in the collection. It’s an excellent, anarchistic film although not my favorite of the four films. But it’s quaranteed to find its fans.

The transfer features edge enhancement and sometimes an occational notch in quality. But this is still better than what most other studios can come up with, so generally speaking the transfer is very good. Extras are the usual ones (and Chris D back for commentary). The original trailer features shots from what seem like another instalment in the Terrifying Girls' High School series (Lynch Law Classroom was the second film in the series).

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Unread postby HungFist » 10 Jul 2007, 16:10

The box set is nice (pink of course) and not too big. It opens like a book and carries 4 dvds, a cd and a 26 page booklet written by Chris D. The booklet is decent but hardly great. Chris D goes though the movies and the series they are a part of (spoiling the endings almost every film) and writes something about the genre’s history. If you’ve read his liner notes on the Panik House dvds then there isn’t much new in this booklet. It’s should still be useful for those not very familiar with the genre and not afraid of spoilers.

The audio cd is called Reiko Ike no miryoku and features 15 tracks of singing and, uhm, moaning by Reiko Ike, apparently recorded in 1971 (not in the mid 70’s like Panik House claims). While some of the content wasn’t exactly to my liking (thanks to the moaning) I found some of the later track pretty good. The opening track also gets better every time I hear it. The ideal way to experince this music would’ve been back in early 70’s alone in a small shabby hotel room in Tokyo in the middle of the night with the lights off. Or that’s at least the image that comes to my head when listening to the cd.

The inclution of the cd is great of course but there’s some issues. First of all, it was apparently not licensed, and secondly, it was sourced from a cassette tape. Track listing is also nowhere to be found, and the liner notes feature mistakes as mentioned before. Official japanese cd release titled ’Koukotsu no Sekai’ should feature the same content, and should be an improvement on all areas. The liner notes are even in english (as well as in japanese). Read more here: http://adg.invisionzone.com/index.php?s ... c=98&st=40

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In the second picture you can see the back side of the cd, weirdly placed inside a cardboard ’page’. The fourth dvd is under Girl Boss Guerilla dvd. There’s two separete disc holders (like you see in the first pick) but you can’t see the one underneath from this angle. Overall a stylish looking and convenient box set that doesn’t take too much space.

Here’s two stolen pictures of the japanese cd release ’Koukotsu no Sekai’

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Unread postby HungFist » 12 Jul 2007, 15:26

While Japanese girls often look younger than they are (at least to me), Reiko Ike I always thought looked older than she really was. She was no more than 19 years old in Girl Boss Guerilla (1972). According to jmdb her first film was Norifumi Suzuki’s pinku flick Onsen mimizu geisha (温泉みみず芸者 ) (1971). IMDB incorrectly claims it was made in 1972. Onsen mimizu geisha also stars Miki Sugimoto, and jmdb is listing it as her film debut as well. She’s the same age as Reiko Ike, minus a few months.The rumor is that Miki was street girl discovered by Toei’s talent scout. She left film industry at the end of the 70’s, married an old classmate and became a nursery school teacher (what a sweet story). Ike too disappeared from movie industry at the end of the 70’s. While most films she appeared in were pinky films she also had some supporting roles in ”high profile” films such as several Kinji Fukasaku yakuza films, and Teruo Ishii’s The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge.

Reiko Ike, 19, in Girl Boss Guerilla
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Poster for Onsen mimizu geisha
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No dvd release available, but Toei’s September 2007 release エロ将軍と二十一人の愛妾 (1972) stars both Miki and Reiko, and is directed by Norifumi Suzuki.

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Unread postby HungFist » 14 Jul 2007, 16:59

Fans of Miki and Reiko (and pinky violence in general) might be interested in Hotwax’s Miki Sugimoto vs. Reiko Ike (杉本美樹vs池玲子) cd, featuring music and song from their movies. Myself I don’t usually buy movie soundtracks, especially prior to seeing the films but since many of these will never see the light of day on dvd I thought what the hell. The package is very nice and there’s a collectible card (b/w pic of the front cover) included (limited to first pressing I think) so it’s gonna be a nice collectors item as least.

Popping in the cd it took me about three second to realize I had hit the gold with this purchace. Pure awesomeness, polar bear coolness from the north pole. The cd opens with Miki Sugimoto’s Zero Woman – Red Hancuffs opening theme, followed by Shunsuke Kikuchi’s (Karate Bullfighter, Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion) super funky "driving tunes" from the same movie. Other recognizable tracks include for example Reiko Ike’s Criminal Woman – Killing Melody theme, opening and closing themes from Female Yakuza Tale and two tracks from Sex & Fury, among others. Some of my other favourites include the spaghetti western esque track from Terrifying Girls’ High School - Animaru Dokyusei, and Ichiro Araki’s ジュテームはさよならの始まり from an unrecognized (by me) movie. As as a single weakness the cd includes maybe one Zero Woman theme variation too many, and it doesn’t cover quite as many movies as I’d like it to. But all things considered, this is a kick ass cd.

Track List
01.0のバラード -女の瓜あと-(唄:杉本美樹) *
02.0課の女 赤い手錠 M-18(音楽:菊池俊輔)
03.女番長 タイマン勝負 M-5(音楽:広瀬健次郎)
04.0のバラード -女の瓜あと-part.2(唄:杉本美樹) *
05. 温泉みみず芸者 M-3(音楽:鏑木創)
06. 温泉スッポン芸者(唄:杉本美樹) *
07. 恐怖女子高校 アニマル同級生BGM(音楽:鏑木創)
08. 女番長流れ者(唄:杉本美樹) *
09. ふうてんぐらしpart.1(唄:池玲子) **
10. 0課の女 赤い手錠 M-20(音楽:菊池俊輔)
11. 不良姐御伝 猪の鹿お蝶 M-2(音楽:荒木一郎)
12. ふうてんぐらしpart.2(唄:池玲子) **
13. 温泉スッポン芸者 M-24(音楽:荒木一郎)
14. 温泉スッポン芸者 テーマ(音楽:荒木一郎)
15. やさぐれ姐御伝 総括リンチBGM(音楽:鏑木創)
16. お蝶のブルース(唄:池玲子) **
17. 徳川セックス禁止令 色情大名 C-1(音楽:荒木一郎)
18. ジュテームはさよならの始まり(inst)(音楽:荒木一郎)
19. 0課の女 赤い手錠 M-9(音楽:菊池俊輔)
20. 0(レイ)のバラード -女の瓜あと-(カラオケ)
21. 0(レイ)のバラード -女の瓜あと-part.2(カラオケ)
22. ふうてんぐらし(カラオケ)
23. ふうてんぐらしpart.2(カラオケ)

For quick reference (aka you can’t read japanese) I’ve marked songs by Miki (*) and Reiko (**) with stars. For more information see Hotwax’s official site: http://www.ultra-vybe.co.jp/hotwax/sugimotovsike/

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The movie in the poster is the first Terrifying Girls’ High School movie - (Onna) Boryuku kyoshitsu (恐怖女子高校 女暴力教室) (1972).

For more information about Hotwax cds, dvds and magazines see the asiandvdguide Hotwax thread. Muldoon knows so much more about this matter than I do that I won’t even bother pretending I know what I’m talking about. So, go here: http://adg.invisionzone.com/index.php?s ... &hl=hotwax
Last edited by HungFist on 28 May 2008, 18:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby Classique » 14 Aug 2007, 21:34

HungFist wrote:Classique, I hope I didn't disencourage you to write reviews. I could really use some help with movie introductions and reviews, in case you any have interest for it. I'll see if I can get Tokugawa onna keizu, Love & Crime and Ooku jyuhakkei reviews done at some point but I probably won't have much time for anything else.

and btw, do you think we should start some sort of "japanese cult cinema thread" or something. For films that don't fit exploitation and chiba threads? (aka Toei dvd releases kick ass :D )


No actually I started playing a new video game and it's eating ALL my time.

The thing that actually kinda discouraged me was the fact that some of the stuff I listed like Gincho Watadori 1&2 and some of Meiko's other stuff has not been released on dvd and only vhs and I didn't know if that would be alright to put info about the films here since this is a dvd forum. :D

I too had thought about creating a thread that was one giant Toei love fest but maybe we should just turn this one in to it?! :twisted:

On other notes.

Rica - Not the greatest of it's kind but it is a blast.Even without any time i've managed to watch it twice now and I can't wait for the sequels.
The dvd, eh i'm not an expert but I saw one moment were an area of Rica's shirt looks "blotchy" in the beginning.Otherwise it's suffice to me.


And lastly a certain bootlegger I will not mention but i'm sure you know who i'm talking about has put the first Stray Cat Rock film in his 'upcoming titles' section which is were he puts everything that's essentially done sub wise and just has to be worked out for the rest of the stuff.
So the good that will come out of this is that we will be getting sub scripts to match up with the r2j's since he's going to eventually do the others as well!!
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