Time to give the new wave of Japanese Exploitation filmmakers a hand!
I’ve got a new film to highlight before we go back in time to revisit an era of classic Japanese sexploitation once again!
I love women who kick butt in movies. That’s what makes this era of filmmaking so unique – These women are tough as nails, handle a samurai sword very well, and they usually triumph over aggressively evil men, and more power to them for that!
It’s a popular form of entertainment that has seen a huge resurgence in Japan…
I have highlighted some recent examples, and have another here to share, but their films have a long history of women kicking ass!
Before we go back and look at the classics, we’ve got a new group of girls to introduce you to…
Here is a new film in that tradition, and look at some of the classics of the genre!
Mutant Girls Squad!
Here is what Wikipedia has to say: Mutant Girls Squad (戦闘少女 血の鉄仮面伝説 Sentō Shōjo: Chi no Tekkamen Densetsu?, literally translated as “Fighting Girls: Legend of the Blood of the Iron Mask”) –
This is the latest in the wave of Japanese, crazy over-the-top female-empowered sexploitation film, this one by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura and Tak Sakaguchi.
The film is about Rin, a sixteen-year-old mutant girl who meets a gang of rebel mutants who aim to take revenge on humans for persecuting their race.
“Mutant Girls Squad” follows the same path of such recent, terrific Japanese sexpoitation films like “Tokyo Gore Squad”, “Helldriver” and “RoboGeisa!” You can find much more about these movies on another blog I posted…check it out!
INTRODUCING “PINKY VIOLENCE!”
Time to get back to the classic: in this case, an updated look at a Japanese trend in the 70’s that blew the door off of exploitation and introduced the world to “pinky violence!”
Terrifying Girl’s High School – 1971
Terrifying Girl’s High School: Lynch Law Classroom – 1973
Look at this double bill! Outlaw Japanese film auteur Norifumi Suzuki`s ‘Terrifying Girl`s High School’ (1971) and its sequel are classic examples of 70’s sexploitation. He also made ‘Sex And Fury’, to be discussed soon.
Not really a high school but a reform school, the students at this institution major in one thing only: survival. Bad girls must face off against one another in power plays, fend off lecherous teachers, corrupt politicians and a sadistic student body that murders when crossed.
Pinky violence icon Reiko Ike(‘Sex and Fury’) joins the mayhem and sapphic bloodletting, torture and humiliation that makes for a ‘Terrifying Girl`s High School’.
It was all part of a trend toward what was known in Japan as “pinky violence!”
These “pinky violence” films were produced by a number of studios, most notably TOEI Studios. They are full of samurai action, geysers of blood, and lots of nudity. And they also include killers large and small!
These are, simply put, Japan’s version of Sexploitation, and they are even more over-the-top than ours!
There are a score of websites devoted to this sub-culture of film, but I wanted to point a few classics out to whet your appetite…
The Pinky Violence Collection – Congratulations to Synapse Films for this package of classic 70’s sexploitation, released under the title of “The Pinky Violence Collection!”
HERE ARE THE TITLES:
Criminal Woman: Killing Melody / Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom / Girl Boss Guerilla / Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless To Confess
How can you go wrong with names that these? You can’t!
LADY SNOWBLOOD. 1973. Female empowerment gets a good workout in this beautiful Japanese swordplay drama featuring a female fighter, Shurayuki Hime (Lady Snowblood), or Yuki for short, whose mission in life is to track down and slay three of the four villains who brutalized her mother and killed the mother’s husband and son.
The action takes place in the 1890s, in Meiji-era Japan, and includes several helpful flashbacks to provide the context for Yuki’s mission. Born in prison–her mother was there for killing the first of the villains and died after childbirth–Yuki is raised by a Buddhist reverend who calls her a “child of the netherworld” and trains her in the fighting arts. Tall and regal, beautiful and ghostly white, Lady S (played by Meiko Kaji) looks too pure to sully herself with bloodletting, a tack which gives her the element of surprise in her many sword fights.
The yellow poster is a clear inspiration for “Kill Bill”, whose poster had many similarities.
There are a number of websites that list Tarantino’s influences, including these 70’s Japanese Sexploitation classics. His love of cinema, and bringing obscure classics back to light for new film lovers to enjoy, is exciting to see.
Sex & Fury
Reiko Ike stars as Ocho, a gambler and pickpocket in Meiji Era Tokyo. After sheltering a fleeing anarchist, Ocho runs into the three gangsters responsible for her father’s murder, and runs afoul of various yakuza who want her dead. A European spy, played by Christina Lindberg, arrives on the scene and complicates matters.
There are three scenes that will cement this as a classic of japanese sexploitation cinema:
1-In the first ten minutes, Star Reiko Ike is bathing quietly – when she is suddenly attacked by a group of Ninjas. What does she do? She grabs her samurai sword, of course, and fight them off – naked!
2-She battles the Ninjas in a snowy courtyard – the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s snowy courtyard battle in “Kill Bill Vol. 1” – except Uma thurman is wearing her yellow jumpsuit – and Reiko is completely naked!
3- Reiko has a love scene with Christina Lindberg – that’s right, Swedish sex kitten and exploitation icon Lindberg is in this film!
Amazon says: Widely considered to be the Absolute Best Japanese Exploitation film!
Sex & Fury, one of the wildest, most violent, just-plain-entertaining Japanese sexploitation pictures from the 1970s stars smoldering young ‘pinky violence’ actress Reiko Ike (veteran of the Girl Boss aka Sukeban film series) as Ocho, a gambler and pickpocket in Meiji Era Tokyo. After sheltering a fleeing anarchist, Ocho encounters the three villains responsible for her father’s murder, and runs afoul of various yakuza who want her dead.
A European spy (Christina Lindberg), whose sadistic diplomat boss has his own nefarious plans, complicates matters. A riproaring action saga filled with beautiful bodies, bloody swordplay, and psychedelic imagery — all beautifully photographed in a number of astonishing set pieces.
Directed by Norifumi Suzuki (who fathered the Sukeban genre), Sex & Fury transcends the pop culture realm to achieve genuine art. Followed by the outrageous sequel, Female Yakuza Tale – Inquisition & Torture (also available from Panik House), it’s the best film you’ve never seen!
How can I argue with that? This is a genre to check out – certainly Sex & Fury and Lady Snowblood are classics of the genre, and dynamite action films to boot!
Let me know what you think!
Categories: 70's Films, Artsploitation, Asian Cult Cinema, Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Christina Lindberg, Classic Action Films, Cult Classics, Documentary, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, Horror films, Japanese Exploitation, JRsploitation, Nudity, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites