As stated in the official Toei thread... ehm, I mean JP Cult Cinema thread
, in April Toei will release 3 pink dramas directed by Yuuji Makiguchi.
Makiguchi is hit or miss for me but Toei finally getting around to him is exciting news as far as I'm concerned. I could never figure why they released his 五月みどりの かまきり夫人の告白 (Satsuki Midori no Kamakiri-fujin no Kokuhaku) (1975) in 2005 and then didn't follow that up with anything else, specifically his more notorious efforts... until now. I was lucky enough to already watch the two 玉割り人ゆき / Virgin Breaker Yuki films via a recording made off the Toei Channel. As the title suggests they are about a woman whose job it is to break-in virgins after they've been sold to a brothel. It's period stuff, must have had a decent budget and overall among Makiguchi's better works. らしゃめん (Rashamen) I have never seen and frankly know nothing about. There is a LP / CD with the same title and the movie poster as the cover art and supposedly sung by Haruko Wanibuchi. So is this a musical, a concert film, an opera or what? Guess I'll find out in April.
I hope Toei will not call it quits after this batch for another 5 years and get on with releasing the rest of Makiguchi's not-too-numerous theatrical effiorts later in 2010:
This films (the title translates to something like "Bizarre Crimes of Post-War Japan) is similar to Ishii's Love and Crime, except that it focuses on famous and shocking crimes in the 30 years between the end of WW2 and the mid-70ies. Makiguchi managed to turn it into an entry in the decidedly Japanese genre of "rape comedies". The VHS is comparatively easy to find and I wasn't too impressed with this one. The TV show host who presents the cases seriously got on my nerves.
広島仁義 人質奪回作戦 (1976)
This is the only contemporary action film Makiguchi directed and that's a shame because this proto-heroic-bloodshed effort kicks some serious ass.
徳川女刑罰絵巻 牛裂きの刑 (1976)
Shogun's Sadism, yeah. One of the more mean-spirited films I have seen, party because
the second episode is played for laughs. I have some doubts that, should Toei release this in Japan, that they can beat the genuine PAL transfer of the now OOP Dutch DVD.
女獄門帖 引き裂かれた尼僧 (1977)
This weird mixture of period splatter movie and Japanese nunsploitation is about a girl called Omino, a young woman who flees from her master and ends up in a convent full of man-hating, murderous nuns. But not after an obligatory scene of bandit-rape in the forest. Seriously, if you're a good looking chick, don't go and friggin pee in front of sex-starved bandits. There's really only one way that can end.
There was a VHS release in Japan sometime in the early 80ies but it was pan & scan 4:3 instead of 2.35:1 and as such the film is in dire need of a DVD release. It still gets occasional theatrical screenings in Japan and has a dedicated cult following. The complete screenplay along with director interviews and essays was published in the "Japanese Cult Cinema" series of books.
Another movie based on the exploits of Oden Takahashi
. Her story was also adapted, among others, by Teruo Ishii in Love and Crime
and Shogoro Nishimura in Kouyamu
. This and Rashamen are the only Makiguchi films I haven't seen yet.