The Roman Porno + Pink thread

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The Roman Porno + Pink thread

Post by HungFist »

March 10, 2020 EDIT

I finally did what I should’ve done more than a decade ago. I split this thread in two.

1. Toei Pinky Violence thread:
- Toei Pinky Violence + Toei Porno + comparable big studio (non-porno studio) productions by Toho (e.g. Rica), Daiei (e.g. Decapitation Island) etc.

2: Nikkatsu Roman Porno + Pink thread:
- Nikkatsu Roman Porno + Pink Films e.g. Shintoho, Wakamatsu, independents

It’s still work in progress. Some posts may be in the wrong thread.

Don’t stress too much about the split. If you don’t know which thread to post in, just pick one that feels more suitable. The main idea was the separate Toei’s Pinky Violence and Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno, and the rest shall go in whichever feels more suitable (the Toei thread for the more mainstream type of films with eros flavour, the Nikkatsu thread for the more genuine pink / sleaze type of films).

We also have the Japanese Cult Cinema thread to cover films that don’t have the pinky violence / girl gang / pink / eros emphasis (anything from yakuza to karate to samurai fits there).

End of March 10, 2020 EDIT

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Nikkatsu titles available with english subtitles (listed with english title)

Angel Guts: High School Co-ed (Jokosei: tenshi no harawata) (1978)
- director: Chusei Sone
- review: review 1, review 2
- availability: R1 US Artsmagic
- forum ratings: HungFist: 4/5, Thelostdragon: 2/5
-notes: review in this thread
- sub-genre: drama, rape, gang

Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Tenshi no harawata: Akai kyôshitsu) (1979)
- director: Chusei Sone
- review: dvd review
- availability: R1 US Artsmagic
- forum ratings: HungFist: 4/5
- sub-genre: psychological drama, rape

Angel Guts: Nami (Tenshi no harawata: Nami) (1979)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- review: dvd review
- availability: R1 US Artsmagic
- forum ratings: HungFist: 4/5
- sub-genre: drama, rape, horror, surrealism

Angel Guts: Red Porno (Tenshi no harawata: Akai inga) (1981)
- director: Toshiharu Ikeda
- review: dvd review
- availability: R1 US Artsmagic, R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3/5
- sub-genre: drama, rape

Angel Guts: Red Vertigo (Tenshi no harawata: Akai memai) (1988)
- director: Takashi Ishii
- review: dvd review
- availability: R1 US Artsmagic
- forum ratings: HungFist: 4/5
- notes: More Angel Guts films would later be made by other companies
- sub-genre: drama, rape, surrealism

Assault! Jack the Ripper (Boko Kirisaki Jakku) (1976)
- director: Yasuharu Hasebe
-review: imdb user comments
- availability: R2J Geneon, R1 Mondo Macabro
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3/5
- sub-genre: violent pinku, ultra dark comedy

Beautiful Girl Hunter (Dabide no hoshi: bishoujo-gari) (1979)
- director: Norifumi Suzuki
- availability: R2J Geneon, R1 Discotek (no release date announced)
- notes: aka Star of David

Cloistered Nun: Runa's Confession (Shudojo Runa No Kokuhaku) (1976)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- availability: R1 KimStim (remaster)

Erotic Diary Of An Office Lady (OL Kanno Nikki: Ah! Watashi No Naka De) (1977)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- availability: R1 KimStim (remaster)

Flower and Snake (Hana to hebi) (1974)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- review: review 1, dvd times
- availability: R2J Nikkatsu, R1 Media Blasters
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1,5/5
- sub-genre: sm
- notes: this is the original film

Flower and Snake: Sketch of Hell (Hana to hebi: jigoku hen) (1985)
- director: Shogoro Nishimura
- review:
- availability: R2J Geneon, R3HK Panorama
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1/5
- notes: 1st in the 80's Hana to hebi series
- sub-genres: sm

Flower and Snake: Shiiku hen (Hana to hebi: shiiku hen) (1986)
- director: Shogoro Nishimura
- review:
- availability: R2J Geneon, R3HK Panorama
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1/5
- notes: 2nd in the 80's Hana to hebi series
- sub-genres: sm

Flower and Snake: White Uniform Rope Slave (Hana to hebi: Hakui nawa dorei) (1986)
- director: Shogoro Nishimura
- review:
- availability: R2J Geneon, R3HK Panorama
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1,5/5
- notes: 3rd in the 80's Hana to hebi series
- sub-genres: sm

Flower and Snake: Ultimate Rope Discipline (Hana to hebi: Kyukyoku nawa chokyo) (1987)
- director: Masayuki Asao
- review:
- availability: R2J Geneon, R3HK Panorama
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2/5
- notes: 4th (final) in the 80's Hana to hebi series
- sub-genres: sm, thriller

Hellish Love (Immortal Love) (Seidan botan-doro) (1972)
- director: Chusei Sone
- availability: R2 UK Pagan, R2J Geneon
- review: dvd review
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3/5
- notes: review in this thread, original poster
- sub-genre: drama, ghost story

Street Of Joy (Akasen tamanoi: Nukeraremasu) (1974)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2 UK Pagan,
- review: review 1, review 2
- notes: Pagan dvd cover, original poster

Tattooed Flower Vase (Kashin no irezumi: Ureta tsubo (1976)
Kashin no irezumi: ureta tsubo (1976)
- director: Masaru Konuma
review 1 (french)
- availability: R2 FR Cinemalta, R2J Geneon, R1 KimStim (remaster)
- notes: more info in this thread, teaser, picture gallery, french title: ’La Vie secrète de Madame Yoshino’

Watcher in the Attic (Edogawa Rampo ryoki-kan: Yaneura no sanpo sha) (1976)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- availability: R2 UK Pagan, R2J Geneon
- review: film review
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3/5
- notes: original poster
- sub-genres: drama

Wet & Rope (Shudojo: nure nawa zange) (1979)
- director: Koyu Ohara
- review: dvd reviews
- availability: R2 NL Japan Shock
notes: original poster
- sub-genre: nunsploitation

Wife To Be Sacrificed (Ikenie fujin) (1974)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- review: review 1 (french), review 2, imdb user comments
forum ratings: HungFist: 1/5
- availability: R2 FR Cinemalta, R2J Geneon, R1 US KimStim (old), R1 US KimStim (remaster)
- sub-genres: sm

Woman Called Sada Abe, A (Jitsuroku Abe Sada) (1975)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- availability: R2 UK Pagan, R2 DE R.E.M, R2 FR Cinemalta, R2J Geneon, R1 US Image
- review: review 1, review 2, imdb user comments
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1,5/5
- notes: Considered one of the best roman pornos. Based on true story (several adaptations exist, including Nagisa Oshima’s Ai no corrida), Pagan dvd cover, french title: ’La Veritable Histoire d'Abe Sada’
- sub-genres: drama

Woman With Red Hair, A (Akai kami no onna) (1979)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- review: dvd review, imdb user comments
- availability: R2 FR Cinemalta, R2J Geneon, R1 US Image
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1/5
- notes: more info in this thread, french title: ’La Femme aux cheveux rouges’

World Of Geisha, The (Yojohan Fusuma no urabari) (1973)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- review: review 1, imdb user comments
- availability: R2J Geneon, R1 US Image
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1,5/5
- sub-genres: drama

Nikkatsu titles not available with english subtitles (selected titles only)
Bikyoshi Jigokuzeme (1985)
- director: Masahito Segawa
- availability: R2J Geneon
- review: review 1, imdb user comments
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2/5
- sub-genre: sm, thriller

Hakkinbon Bijin Ranbu Yori: Semeru! (1977)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- availability: R2J Geneon, R2FR Cinemalta (July, 2008)
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 4/5
- sub-genre: torture, sm, psychological drama

Hako no Naka no Onna Shojo Ikenie (1985)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- availability: R2J Uplink
- review: review 1, imdb user comments
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 1/5
- sub-genre: torture, sm, hard core, straight to video, crap film

Hako no Naka no Onna 2 (1988)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- availability: R2J Uplink
- review: review 1, imdb user comments
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 3,5/5
- sub-genre: horror, good film

Hirusagari No Onna: Chohatsu!! (1979)
director: Nobuyaki Saito
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3/5
- sub-genre: drama, thriller, rape

Hirusagari no joji Koto-mandara (1973)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- availability: R2J Uplink
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2,5/5
- notes: review in this thread
- sub-genre: drama (some violent and disturbing content)

Ichijo Sayuri: Nureta yokujo (1972)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2 FR Cinemalta, R2J Geneon, R2DE R.E.M
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2/5
- notes: Kinema jumpo winner
- sub-genre: drama

Irogoyomi ooku hiwa irezumi hyaku-nin kurabe (1972)
- director: Yukihiko Kondo
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1/5
- notes: 3rd in the 9 part series
- sub-genre: period drama, tattoo

Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi) (1980)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2,5/5
- notes: based on manga by Dirty Matsumoto
- sub-genre: comedy, rape

Kifujin shibari tsubo (1977)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 1/5
- sub-genre: sm

Koibitotachi wa nureta (1973)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2,5/5
- sub-genre: character drama

Love Hotel (1985)
- director: Shinji Somai
- availability: R2J Geneon, R2J Uplink
- forum ratings: HungFist 4/5
- sub-genre: drama
- notes: damn good film

Maruhi: joro ichiba (1972)
- director: Chusei Sone
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist 3,5/5
- sub-genre: comedy
- notes: first part in the Secret Chronicle trilogy

Maruhi: joro seme jigoku (1974)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- availability: R2J Geneon
HungFist: 2/5
- sub-genre: drama
- notes: aka The Hell-Fated Courtesan. Second part in the Secret Chronicle trilogy

Maruhi - Shikijo mesu ichiba (1974)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist 3,5/5
- sub-genre: drama, b&w
- notes: third part in the Secret Chronicle trilogy

Momojiri musume: Pink Hip Girl (1979)
- director: Koyu Ohara
- availability: R2J Geneon
- Forum ratings: HungFist: 4,5/5
- sub-genre: youth drama, comedy

Monzetsu: Donden Gaeshi (1977)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2J Geneon
- Forum ratings: HungFist: 4/5
- sub-genre: yakuza, dark comedy

Nawa to hada (1979)
- director: Shogoro Nishimura
- availability: R2J Geneon
- Forum ratings: Hung Fist: 1/5
- sub-genre: sm, yakuza, period, action

Nureta Koya O Hashire (1973)
- director: Yukihiro Sawada
- availability: R2J Geneon
- Forum ratings: HungFist: 4/5
- sub-genre: cop, corruption
- notes: One of the tougest cop movies ever. Read my review.

Oniroku Dan nawagesho (1978)
- director: Shogoro Nishimura
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 1/5
- sub-genre: sm

Osou! (1978)
- director: Yasuharu Hasebe
- availability: R2J Geneon
- Forum ratings: HungFist: 2,5/5
- sub-genre: rape, cop, crime

Pink Cut: Futoku Aishite Fukaku Aishite (1983)
- director: Yoshimitsu Morita
- availability: R2J Geneon
- Forum ratings: HungFist: 2/5
- sub-genre: youth comedy

Reipu 25-ji: Bokan (1977)
- director: Yasuharu Hasebe
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3,5/5
- sub-genre: thriller, rape

Sengoku Rock: Female Warriors (Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi) (1972)
- director: Yasuharu Hasebe
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1,5/5
- notes: pink loose sequel to Stray Cat Rock

Sex Hunter (1980)
- director: Toshiharu Ikeda
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 2,5/5
- sub-genre: sm

Shikijo ama midare tsubo (1976)
- director: Saburo Endo
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 2,5/5
- sub-genre: drama, shell diving

Shirobara gakuen: soshite zenin okasareta (1982)
- director: Koyu Ohara
- review: imdb user comments
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 3/5
- sub-genre: rape, thriller, high school

Shoujo shibari ezu (1980)
- director: Masaru Konuma
- review: review 1, imdb user comments
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3,5/5
- sub-genre: drama, sm

Shoujo shofu: kemonomichi (1980)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 4/5
- sub-genre: drama

Showa onnamichi: Rashomon (1972)
- director: Chusei Sone
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 3/5
- sub-genre: drama, surrealims, real plot

Time Adventure: zeccho 5-byo mae (1986)
- director: Yojiro Takita
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 1,5/5
- sub-genre: sci-fi

Yakuza kannon: Iro jingi (1973)
- director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: Hung Fist: 2,5/5
- sub-genre: yakuza, drama

Yogisha no onna (1972)
- director: Noboru Tanaka
- availability: R2J Geneon
- notes: recommended by Jason Gray

Zoom In: Boko danchi (1980)
- director: Naosuke Kurosawa
- availability: R2J Geneon
- forum ratings: HungFist: 3,5/5
- pink giallo. Great film.

Japanese titles only for the R2J films. Yeah, I did that just to piss you off.
Last edited by HungFist on 19 Dec 2009, 10:20, edited 41 times in total.

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Post by HungFist »

slightly altered version of the review I wrote a year ago. Haven't seen the film since.

Angel Guts: High School Co-ed (Jokôsei: tenshi no harawata) (Japan - 1978)
Director: Chusei Sone
Cast: Sansho Shinsui, Kenji Kawanishi, Tatsuma Higuchi, Megu Kawashima, Machiko Ohtani

I wasn’t expecting much from the first part because I had heard people saying it’s somewhat boring and not up to the level of the later films in the series. I don’t know how this compares to rest of the films, but this sure wasn’t boring. On the contrary, High School Co-ed is a very interesting and thought provoking film. It may look like cheap exploitation, but I thought it was actually quite a clever film. The story is simple: the main character, Kawashima, is a part of a three man motorcycle gang, who spend their days riding around with their bikes, terrorizing the neighborhood and raping women. At the same time Kawashima tries to take care of his teenage sister who doesn’t know about his brother’s true nature...

There’s very little plot in this film, but it’s not a problem. As weird as it may sound, High School Co-ed is actually a very character driven movie. The social and psychological undertones are also heavy, if not very discreet. I wasn't quite expecting content like that from a notorious ”exploitation” film. But, at least in my opinion, High School Co-ed often gets closer to art than exploitation. The fact that there’s not much plot going on may distract some of the audience. Those who are not willing to use their brains while watching this movie will probably find it very boring. Most of the interesting stuff in the film can be found ”between the lines”. If you miss that, you’ll miss half of the movie.

There’s other interesting elements, too. Like a brutal rape scene with a upbeat, almost romantic music playing on the soundtrack. It will, hopefully, make you think. However, Sone doesn’t tell you exactly what to think. Maybe he’s just trying shock and confuse you with no deeper intentions. That’s up to you to decide. Personally (judging by this movie) I think Sone is one of the most talented and ambitious genre directors. He could be working on A-class productions just as well, but maybe he chose the exploitation genre because it gives him so much more artistic freedom.

A bit funnily, the best movie to compare this film to would probably be Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. While Kubrick’s film could be considered as exploitative art, Sone’s film is more like artistic exploitation. Needless to say, Sone’s no Kubrick, and this film is no Clockwork Orange. But, High School Co-ed is an interesting and exploitative, possibly even intelligent, analysis of the dark side of the 1970’s japanese society.
4/5

The Artsmagic dvd is watchable at least. It would appear to be cropped from 2.35:1 to 1.85:1, though. Don’t let that put you off as this is the only dvd release for the film and I don’t expect any other releases to come up anytime soon. Artsmagic probably sourced their transfer directly from Nikkatsu so it’s possible there’s no 2.35 transfer available. Quality wise the interlaced transfer isn’t exactly great looking, but I think it fits the content well. The screencaps may not look good, but I was never distracted by the quality when watching the film. I think this movie is supposed to look a bit smutty. The audio is serviceable, but a little harsh at times. Extras consists of trailers, biographies, photos and interviews. Unlike the rest of the dvds in the box, this one is region free.

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Post by HungFist »

Hellish Love (Seidan botan-dôrô) (1972)

I watched Chusei Sone's Hellish Love (1974) recently. Not great, but not bad either. I'm not sure when exactly he started in the business, but this would appear to be one of his early films. You can see there's a talented director behind the camera, but he not on the Angel Guts (1978-) level yet. He has a lot of interesting ideas to introduce, which of some work and the others don't. Sone creates some beautiful images, but the film is missing some of that wild originality that some other films in the genre had. However, it's still a rather enjoyable film that can easily be recommended to fans of the genre.
6/10

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Hirusagari no joji Koto-mandara (1973)
This is the first Masaru Konuma film I see, so right yet I can’t say for sure whether he’s an exploitation director gone psychologist, or a spychologist turned a pervert movie maker. Both aspects can be found here, however usually not at the same time. That’s one of the things drop this movie below the best genre productions. But since he’s the man behind such famous Nikkatsu films as Hana to hebi (original, not the Ishii remake) and Wife to be Sacrificed (with Naomi Tani) I’m sure I’ll soon find out just what kind of man he is. The opening of Hirusagari no joji Koto-mandara is rather light, even romantic (within the genre limits) and doesn’t exactly prepare the audience for the wtf stuff that follows. Several scenes around the halfway may be a bit hard to take but it’s worth it because the last 15 minutes is unexpectedly beautiful. There’s short glimpses of that greatness earlier in the movie as well, but the ending is what really saves this otherwise no-so-remarkable Nikkatsu Roman production.
5/10 (viewed without subtitles)

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Last edited by HungFist on 03 Mar 2008, 10:26, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by thelostdragon »

I wrote a short review for "High School Co-ed" about 2 years ago. You can read it here:
http://www.asia-on-dvd.com/ftr/reviews/ogr/hsce.htm
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Post by HungFist »

Hana to hebi (Flower and Snake) (1974)

Media Blasters does a heroic job by bringing some Nikkatsu to US markets. Their choise of title is not a very surprising one; Masaru Konuma’s original 1974 Hana to hebi. The dvd case states; ”based on the novel by Oniroku Dan, this beautifully lensed film helped usher in the S&M Roman Porno genre in Japan and many numerous sequels and remakes. Flower & Snake '74 (aka Hana to Hebi) was directed by Masaru Konuma (Wife to be Sacrificed) and boasts an ultra-groovy score by Riichiro Manabe (Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster).”

Sadly there’s one problem. I found the movie to be total garbage. Mixing awkward and repulsive this ”S&M masterpiece” isn't quite the ”beautifully lensed film” that some might have expected. A fair amount of the 74 minute running time is put into torturing Naomi Tani in various ways, including forcing her to defecate. Konuma shows little visual ambition, and it’s hard to find any impressive aspects from the storyline. The soundtrack is forgettable as well.

The interlaced transfer is a bit colourless, but this is how many Nikkatsu films look on dvd. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a R2J port. The subtitle colour is yellow. Extras feature original trailer, bonus trailers and a not-so-great photo gallery. The cover art differs from the one I’ve seen at most web sites.

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Original Japanese Theatrical Poster -- Amazon.com Media Blasters Cover - Actual Media Blasters Cover Art
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Last edited by HungFist on 30 Apr 2009, 12:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by HungFist »

Assault! Jack the Ripper (Boko kirisaki jakku) (1976)

Yasuharu Hasebe’s Assault! Jack the Ripper has a reputation as one of the best, and also most notorious violent pinku films ever produced by the Nikkatsu studios. The opening sequence with the main character decorating a beautiful cream cake while peaceful music is playing on the background and the credits are being sliced in two, gives some twisted taste of what's to come.

The main character is a young, shy man working at a restaurant. One night when he’s giving her wild female collegue a ride home they stop to pick up a suspicious and suicidal hitchhiker. After realizing their mistake they try to get rid of her but end up causing her death. Persuaded by the strong willed woman he decides not to call the police but to hide the body instead. Partly due to the circumstances, he also falls in love with the woman. But soon after they realize their moment of passion was more because of the night’s events than anything else. The only way to experience the same feeling again is to cause another death, this time intentionally.

Hasebe’s film has an exceptionally interesting premise and potential even to be one of the definitive serial killer analyzes. The screenpaly shows undeniable ambition and the acting is surprisingly good. The female lead, Tamaki Katsura, was even nominated for the best actress in the Japanese Academy Awards for her performance. Although she didn’t win the nomination alone was quite an achievement for a genre film like this. Yutaka Hayashi’s performance as her weak boyfriend who finds courage and independency in murder is maybe even more impressive in my opinion.

Unfortunately the film doesn’t manage to take full use of the good ingredients. The characterization is left a bit half way, and the storyline is underdeveloped. Probably because of studio requirements – Nikkatsu’s production line relied much more on the sexual appeal than that of Toei’s – the film is overloaded with sex scenes. These scenes too often disrupt the more interesting story elements. The sex is somewhat well written into the story, but the effect is nevertheless negative. The running time, which is just 72 minutes, also feels too short considering the amount of content.

Hasebe’s style of making a serial killer movie is quite original. He doesn’t turn killing into pop art, nor does he use horror movie methods. Instead he often uses calm music, or, no music at all, during the stomach churning murder scenes. This creates a very unpleasant atmosphere where the director doesn’t steer the audience's reactions and feelings, but leaves it up to the viewer to figure out how to interpret the images. The brutality of these scenes is partly psychological as there’s notably less graphic violence than you’d expect from a film with such wild reputation. Still, make no mistake, this is a mean spirited film with more crotch stabbings than an average sane mind can take.

Assault! Jack the Ripper can also be seen as a dark comedy, although I doubt many viewers will have what it takes to enjoy all of the film’s pitch dark humour. It’s not an easy film in any way. Viewers looking for a stylish slasher or over the top trash film might be disappointed as this hardly an entertainment movie. Hasebe has made an ugly film about ugly people. Yet it doesn’t fully convince as a serial killer depiction either. It does have lots of originality and many impressive moments, though. For example the moody night time scene where the main character is seen walking around in the city, possibly looking for his next victim, is quite brilliant.

Despite my critisism the uncompromising nature of the film has won it numerous hard core fans. The film has a small but strong cult following in the west dating back from the days when it was released unofficially on video in the US. If you've got a strong stomach and feel like this might be your kind of film give it a try.

The only dvd release available at the moment, and most likely till the end of times, is the Japanese dvd by Geneon. It’s a very nice release with a good transfer and clean audio but little extras and no subtitles. The supplements consist of the original trailer and a four page booklet. The dvd cover art does not use any elements from the original poster which is a shame.

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Last edited by HungFist on 18 Jul 2008, 15:19, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by HungFist »

Abashiri has been on my shopping list since... I don't know. But for quite a long time anyway :D

I still haven't watched Legends either. Maybe tomorrow...

I wouldn't mind to see you write some reviews too :)

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

R1 news: Slave Widow (Dorei mibojin) (1967)
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04/01/2008

When a woman's husband kills himself, she is forced to become the sexual slave of a wealthy businessman in order to settle her debts. When the wealthy man's son also falls in love with her, everything gets a lot more complicated. This early Pink film takes its time to create an aesthetic environment, not just a depraved one.
-- Rick Stanko

3 REASONS TO BUY THIS FILM

* It's a beautifully erotic early Pink film.
* Naomi Tani and Noriko Tatsumi in the same film.
* With a title like that, how can you not?


Also, another Cinema Epoch announcement

The Bite (1965)
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May 13, 2008
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Hana to hebi: an absolute and total mess:

1. HK distibutor Panorama has a differing way to number the films. They consider the 1974 film part 1, and the 80s films sequels. Usually the 80s films are considered a new series, and therefore the numbering should start from 1. Panorama however starts from 2. It means that the film they call Flower and Snake 2 is actually Flower and Snake 1 (aka the first film made in the 80s).

2. Distibutors of the Panorama dvds have been widely misinformed about the japanese titles. As a result some of the japanese titles are even one more number ahead. Some of the production years are also wrong.

3. Wikipedia and Weisser's book are unaware of the existence of the final film, which is Kyukyoku Nawa Chokyo. It's available on R2J, but Panorama has not yet released it. It's the fourth film in the 80s series, but Panorama will naturally call it Flower and Snake 5.

EDIT: I got the last bit wrong; Weisser and Wiki do knowledge the last film, it's the second film (not counting the 74 original) that they are missing: Shiiku hen.

Below is how I figured the 80s films go. The films are in chronological order. R2J left, Panorama right. I can not quarantee this is correct.

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EDIT 2: Panorama has now announced the last film also.
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gathering a few Nikkatsu mini reviews here and adding caps. No need for r2j comments, the caps speak for themselves and I don't recall any nasty suprises.

I'll start with Abe Sada. No caps for this one as I saw it on TV. I also saw Watcher in the Attic (good) and Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market (very good), but I'm planning to buy those later so I'll review them some other time.

A Woman Called Abe Sada (Jitsuroku Abe Sada) (1975)

Tanaka’s view of the famous true story is, unfortunately, rather bland. This despite the fact that it’s considered as one of the very best films in the genre by some. The visually talented director is trapped with a script that takes place almost fully in one room. Tanaka still manages to create some stylish images, but the music choices are weak. The lead role is played by genre legend Junko Miyashita, but her acting talent isn’t on the level this story requires. The characters feel distant, which partly the director’s fault. The little impact the film might have had in 1975 was all gone only one year later when Nagisa Oshima’s notoriously graphical but psychologically challenging adaptation of the same story hit the screens, under the title Ai no corrida.

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Secret Chronicle: Prostitute Market (Maruhi: joro ichiba) (1972)

Nikkatsu talent Chusei Sone’s happy go lucky pink comedy is about as far from the studio’s later ultra shockers as possible. The rather non-existent storyline kicks off when a mentally challenged girl is sold to a brothel. The problem is that she doesn’t quite understand the situation, let alone know what a prostitute is supposed to do. The results are nothing short of hilarious. The three blind idiots scene alone makes the film worth a watch. The comedy aspect also more or less eliminates the problems usually caused by the hight amount of sex in these films. If there is a flaw in the film, it’s that it ultimately doesn’t offer much other than laughs in a single house setting. The ending is also a bit less exhilarating than the rest of the movie. The film later received two sequels, Torture Hell and She Beast Market, both directed by Noboru Tanaka.

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Noble Lady: Bound Vase (Kifujin shibari tsubo) (1977)

I’m starting to believe I’ll never come across a Naomi Tani classic that I would enjoy. In Noble Lady she plays the same character as some many times before and after, a housewife with too much shame. Time for the husband to begin the usual punishment procedure. Despite being set in a beautiful rural mountain area the filmmakers have opted to use indoor setting for most of the film. Hated almost every sceond. Smut legend Masaru Konuna directs.

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Beautiful Teacher in Torture Hell (Bikyoshi jigokuzeme) (1985)

As far as ’straightening up office ladies and housewives’ genre goes I have hated everything I’ve seen. Until now. Beautiful Teacher in Torture Hell has a promising start with an interesting main character (female teacher and a kendo expert) and even some effective horror movie esque moments. Later the movie falls into the expected and somewhat boring punishment/torture cycle but as a whole it’s still one of the better efforts in the (sub) genre. The original use of music and a burning hot high school girl as a supporting character are some of the film’s biggest strengths. The film is not as disturbing as some of Nikkatsu's other s&m pieces, although this isn't exactly light weight entertainment either. Genre enthusiasts ought to take a look.

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Sex Hunter (1980)

Nikkatsu’s film titles have never been a good indicator of content, and it’s not the case here either. Sex is spot on, but who the hunter is remains a mystery to me. The film opens with a ballet sequence that gives little clue of what’s to come. After the first 15 minutes (which is nearly one fourth of the total running time) Sex Hunter reveals it’s true form; it’s another s&m schooling film. However, this time the lady that must be converted into a shameless man eater is not a noble house wife but a young and innocent ballet dancer (Ayako Ohta). A good move, if you ask me.

Director Toshiharu Ikeda, who was also responsible for the Angel Guts instalment Red Porno, does his best to create a balance between the numbening sex overload and real cinematic storytelling. The camerawork manages to keep many scenes alive, and the weird jump cuts make audience wonder if they’re intentional or not. Using classical music to create contrast between audio and images is not the most original trick but does the job every now and then. The shocking, and by far greatest, Coca Cola product placement scene of all time made me question not only the film-makers’s sanity but also their understanding for gravity and human biology. I’m no expert on either, though, and will leave the judgement to scientist and gynacologists.

Despite Ikeda’s efforts the studio was not compeletely happy with the outcome. They blamed him for forgetting to insert the romance part in the film. The genre is called roman – as in romantic – porno after all. The accusation feels a bit weird considering Nikkatsu had just revived their less than tender (ultra) violent pinku sub-genre, and Sex Hunter in fact does have a minor love story hidden in there somewhere. And I’m not referring to the male lead’s love for s&m either. Nobuyuki Inoue’s little brother character, trapped in wheelchair and isolated from the surrounding world thanks to her dominating sister, is a genuinely likable character. The scenes between him and his long lost love have both emotional and psychological impact. Thin, perhaps, but effective.

The best of these scenes also differs from the rest of the movie in terms of setting. The three room mansion, where most of the film takes place, is typical Nikkatsu, but occasional outdoor visits allow the film to breathe a bit. The mansion’s stylish surroundings are, as weird as it may sound, slightly redolent of medieval European landscapes. But, as all good things in Sex Hunter, this strength also is under-used in the long run. Little is however better than none, and when you calculate all the numerous positives the film has, Sex Hunter ultimately lands on the posive side.

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Painful Bliss! Final Twist (Monzetsu: Donden Gaeshi) (1977)

Tatsumi Kumashiro has been known as ”Nikkatsu’s most consistently successful director”, but nothing could’ve prepared me for this manical pink yakuza flick which feels like a combination of Miike, Almodovar and Tanaka. If you thought the genre couldn’t surprise you, think again, every 5 minutes. Still, beneath all the madness there’s a real screenplay that even places the sex scenes somewhat ”logically”. Perhaps most importantly, Kumashiro’s skill with editing and music is exhilarating. He uses pops and ballads, even wedding and funeral music throughout the film and merges them with images flawlessly. Artistic skill; a lot, entertainment value; even more, how much drugs; I don’t know.

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Geneon’s artwork sucks most of the time, but occasionally they manage to create something that pleases the eye. Below are some examples.

1. Watcher in the Attic. Beautiful cover art that is also in line with the film’s style. Directed by Noboru Tanaka
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2. Shinjuku Midaregai: Ikumade Matte, by Chusei Sone. I haven’t seen the movie, but the cover art alone has made me interested.
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3. Yasuhare Hasebe’s notorious Rape! 13th Hour. This one should catch your attention. And if not, read the IMDB synopsis: ”A serial rapist takes on a young protégé to his craft as he is pursued by a homosexual gang seeking vengeance for an attack on their leader.”
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4. Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market. A very good and artistic film by Noboru Tanaka, with intoxicating audio and visuals. Funnily, the cover art reminds me of Sofia Coppola’s excellent Marie Antoinette
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5. Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland. Review coming in a moment.
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did a bit of content editing after re-thinking the logical order, see "new" post two posts back. Sorry for the confusion

In 1988, when Nikkatsu’s roman porno line came to its end, they created a ”documentary film celebrating their 17 years of pink”. The film is called That's Roman Porno: Smile Of Goddesses (ザッツ・ロマンポルノ 女神たちの微笑み). It features clips from 78 Nikkatsu films. It was first released on dvd in 1999, and re-released in 2006.

However, all I've said above is ”I think”. Wikipedia claims it features clips from over 100 films. Yeasia says 78 (for both editions). Neowing thinks 76 (new edition). Some people call it trailer compilation. Weisser says ”clips that are often distractingly short”. And while most sources think it runs 95 minutes, some say over 100 min. And of course the new and the old dvd have different cover arts. Go figure...

Below is the cover art for the old dvd (the new one is totally different, but I can't find a very good pic of it)

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Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland (Nureta Koya O Hashire) (1973)

Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland was a problematic production from the beginning. In 1973 Nikkatsu had already taken a full dive into the ’pink only’ strategy, however roman porno was not what director Yukihiro Sawada had on mind. He and screenwriter Kazuhiko Hasegawa (The Man Who Stole the Sun) had crafted an uncompromising tale of police corruption with little emphasis on the typical pink film elements.

Reportedly the studio executives were less than willing to see the film completed, but the strong willed production crew kept their heads and only gave in to the studio’s requirement to camouflage the film by adding the word ”wet” into the title. As unfair as such compromise may feel, it was a small price to pay for director Sawada. After all, he did not deliver a harmless sex flick but a political hand granade that could have caused a scandal.

The film opens with five men breaking into church, stealing the charity funds and raping the churchwarden’s daughter. Later these men, who turn out to be police officers, return to the scene of crime to cover their tracks. Being above the law and able use their position to get away clean from any situation, there seems to be no stopping this group. Not until a former colleague of theirs escapes from a mental institution and forms a possible risk factor. Two cops set out to capture and take out this new threat.

Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland lives up to its reputation. The storyline is dark but well written, and doesn’t play only for shock value. The main character, excellently played by Takeo Chii, is a sort of anti-version of the typical noir hero. He is the villain and a beast, but his appearance is the definition of cool. The audience’s sympathy lies with the man he is hunting. This character, who is given a notable amount of screentime during the second half, brings the more humane side into the movie.

Sawada’s film is not without flaws, but most of them are minor and don’t have much affect on the overall quality. The music for example features one or two misses, but works fine most of the time. The cinematography is impressive throughout. The way Sawada often uses long, handheld takes and brings the camera extremely close to the characters to achieve more depth feels ahead of its time. The film is typically short, 73 minutes, but it feels just about right. Somehow the director even manages to avoid the usual genre pitfall; hardly any of the running time is wasted on unnecessary sex scenes. What is found here, is mostly there for a reason.

Geneon's dvd is a rather unsurprising package. Good, if not quite pristine progressive transfer. Audio features no problems but as usual, subtitles are not included. Extras are limited to the original trailer. No other dvds are available, and as as far as I know, the film has never been released english friendly.

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Beauty’s Exotic Dance: Torture (Hakkinbon Bijin Ranbu Yori: Semeru!) (1977)

The review on NY Times website calls Beauty’s Exotic Dance: Torture an immoral masterpiece. That is exactly what this concluding part in Noboru Tanaka’s Showa Era trilogy (preceeded by A Woman Called Abe Sada and Watcher in the Attic) is. Each film in the trilogy inspects the themes of obsession and insanity, and this one is the strongest of them. The storyline, based on autobiographical writings by Shuu Ito, is about an artist who finds his inspiration in torture. After his wife leaves him he hooks up with a former prostitute (Junko Miyashita).

Tanaka ignores all the opportunities for cheap shocks and sleaze, and instead plays strong on a psychological level. This makes the film 10 times more powerful than the childish sm fares directors like Konuma and Nishimura keep churning. Tanaka makes every attempt to avoid easy solutions and typical genre twists. There are no caricature characters in this movie. Tanaka was one of the most audio-visually talented Japanese directors of his time and it shows here.

The weakest part of the film is the beginning. Tanaka uses flashbacks to show the past events, while at the same time building the relationship between the main characters in present day. It works but doesn’t have too much emotional effect. This changes after the first 30 minutes when characters have been thorougly introduced and Tanaka can advance to the next phase. He moves the film very slowly, paying great attention to details. There are several scenes with long takes and almost no dialogue at all. Music is only used in key scenes, and even then ir could be a song hummed by one of the characters. The result is hypnotic.

The cast is well chosen. Hatsuo Yamaya is believable as the obsessed artist who is starting to lose his touch of reality. But, more importantly, this is a standout movie for Junko Miyashita. She's already proven before that she’s possesses some acting skills, and here her performance is decent to say at least. The physical requirements of the role are also extreme; she has to lie in snow half naked for long periods and endure icy water in some of the film’s lengthy torture sessions.

Geneon’s dvd features a typically good transfer no notable problems. Audio sounds good, too. And, for once, they’ve also managed to design a stylish cover art. Original trailer and 4 page booklet are the only extras.

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Pink Hip Girl (Momojiri musume: Pink Hip Girl) (1978)

This is the movie you thought Nikkatsu would never be able to produce. Koyu Ohara’s Pink Hip Girl is a serious contender for the ’cutest youth film ever’. First of all, it’s got the rarest of things; a good screenplay. Not only does the storyline make a lot of sense, the dialogue is often terrific. No less impressive is the acting. While nobody gives bad performances the young lead, 19 year old Kahori Takeda, is simply perfect. Ohara’s direction is highly enjoyable and he manages to avoid practically every problem that typically plagues the genre. Even the sex, which is not dirty at all this time, is formatted into the story perfectly. As a final touch the film’s pop soundtrack and especially the theme song is exhilarating.

Geneon’s dvd is the only dvd available till the end of times. Thankfully the guality is not bad. The transfer looks a bit messy in the beginning but it soon gets better. Sharpness in never that good, but it’s not distracting either. Basic transfer that gets the job done. Audio is fine. Geneon’s usual extras are included; trailer and a 4 page booklet. It’s a real shame they haven’t released the two sequels on dvd.

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Third positive Nikkatsu (mini) review from Hung in a row? You wish. It's Hana to hebi time.

Hana to hebi: Jigoku hen (1985)

Hmm... schools girls with axes. That’s a pink film element that only a very special director could ruin. The honor goes to genre specialist Shogoro Nishimura, who skillfully turns the film into crap. No surprises quality wise here, really. The start is boring, the slighty interesting but badly executed part follows (the axes are just one brief scene), and the the remaining 50 minutes is your usual Oniroku Dan / Nikkatsu sm entertainment. I guess this, too, will find its audience. Jigoku hen is the first part in the 80s Flower and Snake series (preceeded by Masaru Konuma’s 1974 foul classic).

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Hana to hebi: Shiiku hen (1986)

First, the big surprise; Shiiku hen features approximately two minutes of full blooded character developement. It may not be much, but I assure you, it’s a rare treat in a Nikkatsu sm flick. Otherwise Shiiku hen, which doesn’t seem to have an english language title due to the fact that writer / bootlegger and overseas information bank Thomas Weisser failed to notice its existense, is a standard effort. The lack of new ideas is obvious, and the boring warehouse setting doesn’t help either. There’s only one memorable scene, plus a soundtrack that has a tiny bit of attempt. Neither are major merits.

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Hana to hebi: Hakui nawa dorei (1986)

This movie had potential. Rope maniac dentist targets Ran Masaki. You’d think even a lesser director would be able to deliver a decent exploitationer from those ingredients. But not Shogoro Nishimura. The film is strangely unpassionate and doesn’t even have a good offensive swing. That is perhaps also a relief, but also surprising considering some the director’s earlier gross out achievements. But, the dentist theme is still something, and the film’s got a tiny bit of good 80s vibe. The opening credits use the kick ass music from Hebi to muchi (also 1986) but to much lesser effect.

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Hana to hebi: Kyukyoku nawa chokyo (1987)

Ultimate Rope Discipline is the final instalment in the 80s Hana to hebi series, and for the most part it’s just what you’d expect; a mixture of boring and unexciting. However, this time I can’t help myself. The last scene is such a great, mean sprited bravura of immoral movie making that it alone deserves this film a viewing. Other highlights come in form of an under-used but impressively threatening and moody soundtrack. Occasionally the director (Masayuki Asao) also shows some eye for visuals. Such a shame the rest of the film doesn’t rise too far above the low genre standards. Still, easily the most watchable film in the series.

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Pleasure Campus: Secret Games (Kairaku Gakuen: Kinjirareta Asobi) (1980)

Tatsumi Kumashiro impressed me with the excellent Painful Bliss: Final Twist, but here he doesn’t quite hit the target. Pleasure Campus is a hyper active high school slapstick rape comedy. It’s based on manga, and you can see it (the characters for example are more like from a cartoon than anything usually shot in live action). Kumashiro also uses constant shaky, handheld camera and lots of jump cuts. In the beginning the film feels hilarious and outrageous – utterly offensive, too – but later the endless yelling gets a bit boring. Moving the story out from the school surroundings after the first third is bad move, too. The ending is quite good, however. At 64 min the film is a good one time watch, but nothing too special.

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Ichijo's Wet Lust (Ichijo Sayuri: Nureta Yokujo) (1972)

Ichijo's Wet Lust earned director Kumashiro the Kinema Junpo prize. The film is a somewhat character driven slice of life story of a stripper, with the real life artist Ichijo Sayuri as herself in a supporting role. The problem is that miss Sayuri is actually more interesting than any of the main film’s characters. Her Red Peony Gambler stage show is worth seeing. As a whole the pic is not badly made, in fact it doesn’t fail majorly on any area. But, where’s the catch? The main characters are rather unlikable and although it’s obvious Kumashiro is aiming at realism it doesn’t make the film much more captivating. The cinematography is pretty nice, though. I also have a strange feeling I might enjoy this more on a second viewing. So, take my comments with a reservation and keep in mind that this this is indeed a highly praised movie.

Nikkatsu has decided to honor this film with some extras. Included are Filmographies, Original Trailer, Photo Gallery, Behind the Scenes pictures and Pictures of Sayuri Ichijo. The transfer is excellent, too. Cinemalta will be releasing this film in France later this year (in their Kumashiro double pack).

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