Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Exploitation’ Category

ESPY

The International Psychic Power Group are a secret society of people with special mind powers (called ESPY) which is funded by the United Nations. Their aim is to stop evil doers from threatening the peace on this planet. One evil group (Anti-ESPY) has already killed 4 delegates on a train in Switzerland who were on their way to broker a deal between the East and West as tensions are already high which could spill over into a war. The Baltonian (a fictional country) Prime Minister who is over in Japan for a conference with the Japanese PM is next to be killed by this group which is led by a super villain named Ulrov. The good guys recruit a racing driver named Miki who is showing extraordinary psychic abilities and his pet alsatian dog Caesar. These abilities helped Miki from having a crash in his racing car on the circuit track. Miki’s first assignment with his new colleagues Maria and Tamura is to help protect the Baltonian Prime Minister. Will the ESPY group manage to defeat their enemy and prevent WWIII from starting?

This is a cool Japanese cult movie which is part action, part espionage and part sci-fi movie all rolled in one with a teensy bit of exploitation thrown in as well. You could say that this movie is a precursor to the 80’s movie Scanners as it shares similar plot threads. There’s a James Bond movie feel to it as well as the plot goes jet setting over Europe and Japan and features a larger than life super villain who wants to rule the world. The main focus of this movie is not on the newcomer Miki (though it is for a little while) but on the lovers Maria and Tamura who can read each other’s minds perfectly. The psychics in this movie know when danger lurks and can warn one another. They can also use the power of their minds to hurl heavy objects against each other and even stop somebody from pulling the trigger on a gun. Some of the psychics can even use hypnosis and teleportation to their advantage. I’m not sure why director Jun Fukuda wanted to add some sleaze to proceedings when Maria is kidnapped by the bad guys. They lure her lover Tamura to their strip club somewhere in Istanbul, Turkey where he is locked into his seat and forced to watch Maria who is under hypnosis doing a sexy dance in her underwear. If that’s not enough a token foreign black bad guy comes in, rips off Maria’s top exposing her breasts and just when he’s about to kiss her Tamura uses his psychic abilities to tear the black guy’s tongue off!! The violence on display is quite strong as you see people exploding (quite literally!!!).

espy screenshot

The head of the Anti-ESPY group named Ulrov definitely comes from the Bond school of villainry as he hides in a large mansion full of traps for the unwary and has a grudge against mankind. He doesn’t care if WWIII breaks out. Miki’s past comes back to haunt him in the final third after he spends the middle section of the movie moping about after having to kill one of the bad guys and he feels guilty about it. His old childhood friend Julie has sided with the bad guys and wants him dead. She sets a trap for Tamura in his car with a bomb about to explode if he doesn’t get out in 10 mins. Any chance of escape for him looks doomed with the doors and windows locked. Even bullets don’t seem to work but just when you think Tamura is going to die he finds his mojo again (having lost some of his powers after being viciously beaten up earlier in the movie) and he teleports himself out of the vehicle seconds before it’s destroyed. The action scenes are handled pretty well especially the shootouts but I thought the destruction sequences using small models were probably the highlight for myself.

Fans of the Lone Wolf movies can look forward to seeing Tomisaburo Wakayama as Ulrov. He doesn’t cut down anybody with a sword in this movie and his final showdown with the ESPY team is rather short lived. For a character that was portrayed as being a very strong psychic, he’s taken down quite quickly. A far better and more interesting villain is Katsumusa Uchida as a ruthless assassin named Goro. He shows off his skills with a gun in the opening scene of the movie in which he murders 4 UN delegates on the fast moving train from a car by using his psychic abilities. On the good guys side Masao Kusakiri is rather wet as the new recruit Miki who prefers to be in the company of his dog Caesar. The role of the lead ass-kicker in the ESPY team tends to be Hiroshi Fujioka as Tamura. He’s the one that is seen dishing out punches to the bad guys and taking a licking at times as well. The eye candy of the movie is Kaoru Yumi as Maria. There’s something about Yumi that reminds me of Keiko Kitagawa. I did check in case she was a relation of some sort but apparently she isn’t. There are one or two other supporting characters such as the head of the ESPY team and an old Buddhist monk (an advisor to the team) who dies after using up the remainder of his psychic energy to save the team from being killed in an airplane crash after the pilots are hypnotised by Miki’s friend Julie. The trigger of the hypnosis is seeing the aurora borealis.

Overall, this was a fun spy movie with a difference. It has a good pace about it which never lets up so that the viewer won’t get bored. It’s a shame this movie isn’t easily available to Japanese movie fans in the West. I really enjoyed it. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Code of the forgotten eight poster

Shino is an assassin who has been through it all. After dispatching the latest bounty hunters that are after his head, he decides that enough is enough. Tired of all the bloodshed and violence he has witnessed, he wants to end it all and tries to commit suicide. He plunges from a bridge into the water below hoping that death will take him but unfortunately it doesn’t. When he wakes up he finds himself surrounded by 2 naked women who are trying to warm up his body. He has been rescued by the Bohachi, a clan who live their lives without any morals or ethics. They say they are ‘beasts wearing human skin’. They kidnap women, forcing them into prostitution until they become assassins. The clan asks Shino to join them as they deem him to behave like one of them. They give Shino a task to prove himself and it involves him having to close illegal prostitution dens that have sprung up. Shino is only too happy to aid the Bohachi but as he’s about to find out, if he doesn’t comply with them they will not hesitate but try and kill him after he refuses to have sex with one of the clan’s leading prostitute. Will Shino manage to survive the deadly attacks by the clan on him?

This is a fantastic exploitation movie by Teruo Ishii which is full of bloodshed and naked flesh. Ishii was probably one of the best imaginative directors in Japan and his exploitation movies from the 60’s/70’s when he was at his peak is regarded by some as his most defining work. Team him up with manga writer Kazuo Koike who created Lone Wolf & Cub amongst others and you had a match made in heaven. This movie shows how good he was at turning a genre on its head as what we have here is a period drama where he takes no notice of the usual boundaries for this type of movie. He does whatever he wants by including copious amount of nudity, sex and blood. You’ve got to admire the guy for being such a maverick and able to use the limited budget he had at his disposal to create such a cool movie as this one. By doing this he stood out from other directors. As controversial as some of his movies tended to be, nobody could argue that they were dull.

code of the forgotten eight screenshot

Code of the Forgotten Eight is an exploitation fans wet dream in which Ishii gives them everything they want from whippings and women being raped and that’s just for starters! Most of the female cast are completely nude for most of the movie and the OTT violent scenes means that blood is sprayed about like there’s no tomorrow! It is definitely not as nasty as his other works such as Joy Of Torture which was really brutal. You could say this movie is like an adult manga that’s come to life. The debauched story is helped by the presence of stony-faced Tetsuro Tamba as the anti-hero Shino who carries the movie on his own. He’s a bad-ass character who seems to be invincible as he takes care of anybody that tries to kill him but he is also a man tired of living a life full of killing. As he says near the beginning of the movie “to die is hell but to live is also hell”. His skill in using a sword is second to none. You don’t seem to know whether he’s straddling the line between good and evil and he just looks menacing. The story leads to an incredible finale as Shino goes up against a small army. Does he survive – well you’ll just have to watch this movie!!

Bloody, off-the-wall and containing more skin from the sexy female cast than a lot of exploitation movies, this is certain to offend some people but if you’re in the mood for some escapist fun I’m sure you’ll enjoy this tale. I certainly did.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Demon Spies (1974)

Demon Spies

A couple are travelling through the Japanese countryside when they are confronted by a group of children wearing masks. They are soon slayed and the viewer discovers the children have been recruited by a group to become demon spies. They are forced to wear masks and if that mask ever leaves their faces during training they are more or less executed instantly. The training is long and hard and takes 10 years. Not all of them survive the tough conditions set out by their masters. Only 5 of them survive and by now they’re adults which consists of 4 males and 1 female and they are ready to continue with the next part of their training. The next part of their training is in the art of sexual skills. Eventually the lone female has had enough of what she’s gone through and decides she no longer wants to be a demon spy. One male chases after her and after a short fight both of their masks comes off. They are captured and are ready to be executed when suddenly the 3 other recruits unmask themselves ready to free the other two until their teacher suddenly praises them all and says they are now fully fledged demon spies. They are sent on a mission to try and stop the Kushu clan who are planning on overthrowing the Shogunate. They have to infiltrate the clan and destroy the armoury before their plan can come to fruition. Will they succeed in their mission?

Based on a manga by Kazou Koike (who also created Lone Wolf & Cub/Lady Snowblood), this is a blood soaked exploitation action movie about a group of kids that are secretly trained to become demons in order to destroy any threat against the Shogunate. I’m not sure if the 16 selected kids right at the beginning are orphans or not but it’s quite uncomfortable seeing them attack and kill an innocent couple. The bizarre plot features a premise that these trained demons are supposed to kill anybody that threatens the peace of the country. They are forced to forsake their humanity and put on a traditional Japanese mask they have to wear on their faces at all times (punishment for taking the mask off whether intentionally or otherwise is death!) They are different from ninjas as what sets them apart is the masks they wear which is supposed to strike fear into their enemies. It’s pretty strong stuff in the first third for the viewer and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The plot starts out as an ninja-like adventure but soon turns into a survival horror movie as the 5 are captured and tortured by the Kushu clan who want to know their plan.

DemonSpies screenshot

If you’ve seen movies based on the writer’s other works ,you’ll be familiar with the fact that major bloodletting is a common theme in all of them and this movie has gallons of the red stuff being sprayed about like there’s no tomorrow. Every cut from a blade results in a spray of blood being splattered everywhere with limbs even cut off.  Hell, in one gruesome scene the lead teacher kills himself as a graduation gift to his students by cutting off his own demon face with a sword! The action bloody as it is only comes in short spurts, this isn’t an all-out action extravaganza. In fact I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t as action packed as I hoped it would be.  It moves along at a good pace though so it never becomes boring. There’s a very disturbing scene early on in the movie during the training the 5 are having when they have to learn some sexual skills and the lone female is gang raped by the other 4 students on orders by their teacher. It was a rather unnecessary scene as this sexual training they’ve gone through isn’t even used in their mission.

Even though it’s enjoyable , I didn’t think it was half as good as say the Lone Wolf & Cub movies which was far more interesting, creative with a lot more carnage but I would think that anybody that has seen the Lone Wolf movies will like this one as well.

No trailer I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Here we go with last month’s movies that I checked out. Those that I’ve reviewed will not be in this list:

Kamen_Rider_W_Forever_A_to_Z_The_Gaia_Memories_of_Fate

Kamen Rider W Forever: A To Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate
3 stars out of 5

The Isle 2000
The Isle
3.5 stars out of 5

Satan Returns 1996
Satan Returns
2.5 stars out of 5

Ah My Goddess movie
Ah! My Goddess! The Movie
3.5 stars out of 5

BladeOfFuryCover
Blade Of Fury
2.5 stars out of 5

Riding Bean
Riding Bean
3 stars out of 5

Utsushimi
Utsushimi
3 stars out of 5

Boukenger vs Super Sentai
GoGo Sentai Boukenger Vs Super Sentai
3 stars out of 5

CopsVsThugs_DVD
Cops vs Thugs
3 stars out of 5

kamen_rider_agito_project_g4
Kamen Rider Agito: Project G4
3 stars out of 5

hunter-x-hunter-phantom-rouge
Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge
3 stars out of 5

Sailor Moon S The Movie
Sailor Moon S The Movie: Hearts In Ice
3.5 stars out of 5

Stone Age Warriors
Stone Age Warriors
3 stars out of 5

intoadream
Into A Dream
3 stars out of 5

Hot For Teacher
Hot For Teacher
4 stars out of 5

Street Mobster
Street Mobster
4 stars out of 5

Wolf Children
Wolf Children
4 stars out of 5

Megalopolis Expressway Trial
Megalopolis Expressway Trial
3.5 stars out of 5

pleasure-kill-poster
Pleasure Kill
3 stars out of 5

Labyrinth of Dreams
Labyrinth Of Dreams
3 stars out of 5

Sixty-Million-Dollar-Man
Sixty Million Dollar Man
4 stars out of 5

redpeonygambler
Red Peony Gambler
3 stars out of 5

About Her Brother
About Her Brother
3.5 stars out of 5

Eros High School
Eros High School: Feels So Good
2.5 stars out of 5

samuraisentaishinkenger
Samurai Sentai Shinkenger vs. Go-onger: GinmakuBang!!
3 stars out of 5

Charisma
Charisma
3.5 stars out of 5

girl-boss-crazy-ball-game
Girl Boss: Crazy Ball Game
3.5 stars out of 5

origin_-_spirits_of_the_past
Origin: Spirits Of The Past
2.5 stars out of 5

Girl-Boss-Blues-Queen-Bee_s-Counterattack
Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack
3.5 stars out of 5

mardock-scramble-the-first-compression
Mardock Scramble: The First Compression
3.5 stars out of 5

Mardock Scramble Second Combustion
Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion
2.5 stars out of 5

alone_across_the_pacific_masters_of_cinema_series_uk_dvd
Alone Across The Pacific
3.5 stars out of 5

late-chrysanthemums-movie-poster-1954-1020233480
Late Chrysanthemums
2.5 stars out of 5

Planzet
Planzet
3 stars out of 5

Guzoo
Guzoo: The Thing Forsaken by God – Part I
3 stars out of 5

angel-s-egg-mystical-egg-of-the-angels-1985
Angel’s Egg
2 stars out of 5

Raise The Red Lantern
Raise The Red Lantern
4.5 stars out of 5

red-spell
Red Spell Spells Red
3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

chinese-torture-chamber-dvd

When Little Cabbage and her father fall behind on their rent, the young landlord Yang, who immediately takes a shine to Little Cabbage, offers the father a monthly wage if he’ll allow her to live in his household and work off the money owed. He agrees and she quickly makes new friends in the household as well as an enemy. One night Little Cabbage happens upon the young master’s wife having an affair while he’s away on business. In order to silence the girl the mistress arranges a marriage between for her with a villager with an infamous reputation for having the biggest dick around!! After her new husband dies from an aphrodisiac overdose thanks to his penis exploding, she and Yang are put under arrest and accused of conspiring together to murder Little Cabbage’s husband! Both are tortured within inches of their lives and forced to confess but the truth has yet to be revealed!

This is one of the most famous Cat III horror/sex comedies to emerge from Hong Kong which was a big hit there when it was released in 1994. It’s a bizarre mix of sex, comedy, and OTT scenes which unless you’re in the right frame of mind to enjoy will most likely guarantee to offend a lot of people!! When I first heard about this movie I imagined it would be all about torture but how wrong I was going to be. As I’ve seen a lot of violent and odd movies I didn’t feel shocked at all by what I saw. The plot without spoiling too much involves 2 people who are the victims of being framed and ending up in court trying to protest their innocence with a lot of the story being told in flashback of how they came about to being imprisoned. The torture scenes make you wince but aren’t too graphic. Even the penis exploding scene isn’t that bad. The opening scenes does show a naked man tied up in prison having his penis cut off though it never shows the deed being done close-up. It’s the sex scenes though that stand out in the movie because some of them are incredibly funny. Take this scene for example which is basically a parody of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It starts out quite innocently as we witness a martial arts couple flying about and fighting amongst the treetops with swords. Then the woman challenges the man to see if he can satisfy her and if he can’t he will leave her. They proceed to have hyper gravity-defying sex in mid-air with the man using such moves as “Oral Attack”, “Invincible Wheel” and “Wonder Screw”. It is made all the more funnier with the addition of some video-game sound effects as he is banging her (sorry to be so coarse here!). It had me laughing a lot and it’s something that has to be seen to be believed. There’s also a parody from the Patrick Swayze movie ‘Ghost’ specifically the potters wheel scene which includes a Chinese instrument rendition of Unchained Melody. I won’t reveal what the woman does to the man and what eventually happens at the end of the scene but you’ll never be able to see that scene again in the original movie without laughing! The two scenes described above sums up how crazy this movie is. OK, so the humour is a little low brow but you’ll never be bored watching this movie. It is so entertaining, funny and whilst it is a Cat III movie it doesn’t contain the extreme nastiness associated with a lot of them. Be aware that there is a lot of female nudity in this movie which will no doubt please some male viewers!

A Chinese Torture Chamber Story screenshot

The acting is surprisingly very good with several great performances from some of the cast. Yvonne Yung Hung is so beautiful and innocent as Little Cabbage and viewers will sympathise with her situation though I failed to have the same feelings for Lawrence Ng’s character who plays the young master Yang that falls for her. Although he is innocent in the murder of Little Cabbage’s husband, I disliked how he tried to rape Little Cabbage by becoming invisible thanks to piece of paper blessed by a holy man which he pins to his chest. Just because he likes Little Cabbage doesn’t give him the right to attack a woman in her home. It is only thanks to her husband that he fails to achieve what he wanted to do. The fact that Little Cabbage never finds out who attacked her because Yang escapes after knocking the husband out and she finally ends up with this despicable man at the end of the movie made me feel uneasy. I’m sure some viewers will find the rape scene perhaps humorous but I thought it was done in bad taste. Maybe that’s just my opinion mind you. The only other actor who I thought was fantastic was Elvis Tsui who provides the movie’s most memorable moment as one half of the martial arts superhero sex couple!

A Chinese Torture Chamber Story is one of the best Cat III movies I’ve seen as it pretty much doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s twisted, weird and is very much tongue-in-cheek which makes the raunchy stuff easier to watch. It certainly won’t be to everybody’s taste so those easily offended should stay away from this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Zombie 108

A scientist creates a deadly virus that unfortunately gets released after a tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. The virus spreads all over the world and turns people into the living dead. In an unknown city somewhere in Taiwan, SWAT teams are called in to evacuate civilians from an infected area. They cross swords with an armed gang who are unaware of the danger they’re in and refuse to move. An armed battle commences between the two until they have to join forces when a horde of zombies arrive on the scene. In the midst of this chaos, a strange perverted man is kidnapping women and keeping them locked inside his basement cell for his own sick pleasure, a young mother who was trying to leave the city with her young daughter being his latest victim. Will she able to escape from this monster?

zombie-108 screenshot

Hailed as being the first Taiwanese zombie movie ever made, perhaps the young director that made this shouldn’t have bothered in hindsight as this is one of the worst Asian movies I’ve had the misfortune of watching and I can’t believe I wasted 86 mins of my life with this piece of junk. It’s hard to even find anything positive to say about it. The trailer makes it look like a good movie but believe me it’s not. The plot is hardly new or original borrowing many elements from other zombie movies. There’s nothing you haven’t seen before. Director Joe Chien has made this movie into an incoherent mess and it feels like it’s been made by an amateur. It’s all over the place. There’s no atmosphere or a feeling of dread associated with the story, all Chien cares about is giving the viewer some nasty rapes, a little bit of gore and carnage. It’s like you’re watching two different movies which somehow ends being mashed up together in the end. There’s no structure in the story, it just moves from one random scene to the next with too many characters floating about. The director should have just focused on one main plot and concentrated on making it interesting. Is the movie also played for laughs at times? It’s hard to tell. You have to ask why did the director want to also rip off the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with his sleazy perverted female kidnapper that looks like Leatherface? The director himself plays this character. It feels like Chien made the decision to forget about the story and concentrate instead on the exploitation side. Perhaps he was aiming for a certain type of viewer with this old school Cat III style movie and not for the general masses? With the amount of nudity by the women and the sleaze on display it appears to be the case. The pace of the movie is fast but the way the movie has been shot is quite distracting to watch. The special effects given that it’s a low budget production is passable enough but if you’re after a ton of bloodletting you’re going to get disappointed. The death metal soundtrack the viewer is subjected to over the course of the movie gets annoying very quickly and worse of all the acting by the entire cast is atrocious. The script is very badly written. Chien also finds it necessary to put some anti-Japan propaganda in this movie as well which should have really been left out. Fine, everybody knows about the tension between China and Japan at the moment but politics shouldn’t have a place in a movie like this.

Do yourself a favour and avoid this movie like the plague. I can’t tell you enough how bad it is. A complete and utter failure. A disaster all round. I cannot recommend this to anybody.

Sadako’s Rating: 1 star out of 5

Read Full Post »

This is the first in the popular Joy Of Torture anthology movie series which is split into 3 different stories each featuring some nasty torture scenes being performed on mostly women. It is set during the Tokugawa shogunate era. The first story concerns a brother and a sister. The brother has an accident and they cannot pay for the medical bills so the sister comes to a sexual arrangement with the local kimono shop owner who will pay the bills for them. This sparks off jealousy from the brother who professes his love for his sister. The doctor finds out about their incestuous relationship and all hells breaks loose. The second story is about a new Mother Superior who comes to a convent and finds herself aroused when she looks at one of the priests working there. The priest is caught having an affair with one of the nuns who is brutally tortured by the Mother Superior. The only way to stop the torture is if the priest confesses his love for the Mother Superior or if the nun says she will forget about the priest. When the local magistrate hears of what is happening at the convent, he goes with a large team of soldiers to arrest the Mother Superior and punish her for her crimes. The third and last story is about a master tattooist Horicho who creates an interesting creation of a woman in agony on the back of a local geisha. The locals are impressed with his work except Lord Nambara who says it’s not realistic as the pain on the woman’s face is wrong. Disappointed with the criticism, Horicho searches for another woman to make the perfect tattoo. When he finds the woman, she refuses his request to make a tattoo on her back so Horicho drugs and takes her to his place. To shame the woman, he tattoos her private parts. Not wanting to make a mistake with the facial features on his new tattoo, Horicho begs for Lord Nambara to take him to Nagasaki where he can watch him torture Russian female Christian missionaries. Horicho manages to capture the agony of their faces perfectly for his tattoo but he can’t quite get the torturer’s face right but he has a plan on how to achieve that……

If you read my review for the sequel to this movie (Oxen Split Torturing) a while ago you’ll have an idea what to expect here. Whilst the opening scene has nothing to do with the three stories, it does set the tone for what you’ll be witnessing: a woman tied up in rope and left dangling whilst an executioner chops off her head and slices her body in half with another woman being burnt at the stake! This movie isn’t as bloodthirsty as the sequel although there are many unspeakable atrocities on show. The violence towards women is disturbing which makes you wonder just why did the Japanese public enjoy these kind of movies? Who in their right mind likes watching women being abused? This movie paved the way for the pink violence/exploitation genre that flourished during the 70’s. The 3 stories vary in quality. The first tale is relatively tame with no bloodshed although it is quite depressing. The second is better with some spearings and crucifixion but it’s in the final story that the more brutal acts takes place: waterboarding, whippings, torture rack usage and women being burnt akin to meat being barbequed on a spit. Production values are high so this isn’t a low budget movie at all. The acting is very good and the stories are interesting and sound in structure. It’s not like the filmmakers cobbled together the 3 stories on a whim just so they could highlight the graphic torture scenes.

If you like these type of movies and expect to see a lot of gore on display then you’ll be disappointed but those with an interest in the history in cinema and who want to see how the exploitation genre began it’s worth a look. It just isn’t for me I’m afraid.

No trailer but here’s a clip from the second story. For those that are easily offended do not watch.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

A lawyer with a history of violent sex becomes obsessed with wanting to rape a woman named Yau Yuk-nam after seeing her in a milk commercial on the TV. At a party he tries to hit on her but is given the brush off but he’s not going to give up that easily. He finds out where she lives and moves next door to her apartment. As part of his game, he befriends her flatmate Chu and after being let into the apartment by the janitor waits for her to come home at night and rapes her. She calls in the police but he tells them they are lovers. The case goes to court where he is acquitted after he pays off a witness to give false evidence. He gets his revenge by drugging Chu and cutting her into pieces with a chainsaw. Yau Yuk-nam in the meantime has started to date a Triad boss. She is furious that the lawyer has dodged a bullet by not going to jail and plots her revenge by playing mind games and starting to dress provocatively at home knowing that the lawyer has made a hole in his wall to her apartment to spy. Yau Yuk-nam intends to drive him so wild he’ll make a mistake. Then one night after Yau Yuk-nam comes home to her apartment, the lawyer strikes………..

This Cat III exploitation movie has been advertised as a sequel to the famous HK movie Naked Killer (review coming soon) just because it has Simon Yam, Chingmy Yau and the director Andrew Lau Wai-keung reuniting again but in reality it has nothing to do with it. The title of the movie gives a false impression as well as the villain of the piece is certainly no angel although it could refer to the hockey mask he wears on his face at the beginning of the story. This is a formulaic and dull sex revenge movie (the first of 5) with a thin plot and hardly any suspense. I don’t understand why the director feels he needs to inject some stupid humour into this kind of movie. The story picks up slightly during the courtroom scenes and whilst you might think it might build up to a dramatic and exciting conclusion it doesn’t. There’s even a brief action scene at a hairdresser salon as Simon Yam’s character is attacked by a gang of hoodlums and has to escape on a motorbike. I was surprised by how tame this Cat III movie was. There is no explicit rape scenes as such and the climax of the movie is very tasteless. I won’t spoil that for you. Simon Yam is great in his role as the Triad boss though I do prefer him playing villianous roles and the delightful Chingmy Yau is at her most beautiful. There are some semi-naked shots of her body for all you hot blooded males out there to enjoy.

There isn’t a lot to recommend here but if you’re a fan of sleazy rape/revenge movies there might be something to interest you.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Maki is the leader of the girl gang The Black Pearls who are always getting into some sort of trouble, mostly by fighting rival Yuri and her gang. A perverted monk gets swindled of 6 million yen after being seduced by Maki and then she settles the score with Yuri one final time in a challenge to unify both gangs. Maki wins it. Unbeknown to Maki, the cheated monk and Yuri have joined forces with one of Kyoto’s strongest yakuza groups. The head of the group sees an opportunity to use Yuri’s girls as prostitutes in order to make money which isn’t what Yuri had in mind when joining up with them but she has no choice but to obey. The head also wants Maki’s Black Pearls as prostitutes too. Maki gets romantically involved with Yuri’s ex-boyfriend Eiji who has a score to settle with the yakuza boss. When 2 of Maki’s cohorts steals a car with a briefcase full of illegal guns, the yakuza gang race to the scene and capture Maki. The other 2 girls manage to escape. The yakuza torture Maki before Eiji comes to the rescue but in the beating they give him he loses an eye thanks to being smacked by a golf club. Yuji and the rest of the prostitutes take Maki and Eiji before fleeing from the yakuza hideout. The yakuza give chase and during a shootout, Yuri is killed. In a final act of defiance and anger, Eiji takes a long knife and decides to launch a solo attack on the yakuza HQ to try and kill the yakuza boss but fails miserably as he is outnumbered. When Maki hears of his death, she is heartbroken and decides on a revenge mission but will she manage to kill the yakuza boss whilst he is surrounded by his cronies?

This was the 2nd out of the 7 movie Girl Boss pink violence series. This movie stars the delightful Reiko Ike. The plot for these kind of movies is more or less the same barring some tweaks to make it look like it’s different. A girl gang gets involved in one way or the other with a shady yakuza group who wrongs the gang and then it’s a question of trying to get revenge on them. Why change the plot if that’s what made these kind of movies so successful in the first place so you’ll be hard pressed to find a pink violence movie that changes the formula described above that much. There’s plenty of exploitation on show – an example of which is Yuri’s gang shaking up bottles of Pepsi before opening them and spraying the contents up a rival girl’s private parts! Maki herself is stripped and subjected to a nasty beating by bamboo sticks by the yakuza boss. Naturally there are plenty of gratititous nudity shots as was the standard for these kind of movies. They aren’t totally serious movies despite the violence that you get to see and humour plays a fair part which makes them quite fun to watch such as a male diver unexpectedly finding his way into a female onsen all the while ogling Maki and her gang bathing naked whilst he is underwater. His explanation that he is lost doesn’t garner any sympathy with the girls!! There are plenty of incidents happening to make sure the viewer never gets bored with this movie which contains several hilarious cat fights.

Director Norifumi Suzuki’s style is pleasing to the eye and he takes us on a journey into Kyoto’s seedy underworld full of dimly lit bars, dodgy clubs and places populated by the lowlife of society. The acting is top notch especially by the always enjoyable Reiko Ike. There’s a tiny cameo by Miki Sugimoto who would become a huge pink violence star in her own right soon after completing this movie. When you talk about the biggest pink violence female stars of the 70’s in Japan after Meiko Kaji – the names of Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto are synonymous with the genre.

Whilst this might not be the best pink violence movie you’ll ever see, it is still a very entertaining watch and worth a look.

No trailer but here’s a clip from the movie:

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

aka Joy Of Torture 2: Oxen Split Torturing

The movie is split to 2 short stories: one set in the 17th century and the other in the 19th. The first concerns a young samurai Sasaki who falls in love with a young woman Toyo after she saves his life when he is bitten by a snake in the country. At the time christianity was outlawed and a sadistic magistrate rounds up any practicing christians and brutally tortures before executing them. Sasaki is an employee of the magistrate. Toyo and her family are captured and tortured for being christians for the magistrate’s own amusement. To make things worse, he tests Sasaki’s loyalty by raping Toyo in front of him and making her his concubine. He tries to get Sasaki to take part in the torture but he refuses. Other members of Toyo’s family are given different but no less cruel torture methods which ends in their deaths except her little sister. The second story is set in a brothel and concerns a man Sutezo who after being given the services of a prostitute finds he cannot pay so he has to work in the place for a whole year and in the process finds himself being humiliated by having his hair shaved off completely. He is witness to the nasty practices that happens if one of the girls gets pregnant or if somebody tries to help one of the girls escape from this hell. After a while Sutezo plans an escape with one of the prostitutes named Sato. They are successful in escaping but are soon caught by the magistrate. What happens to them next is not a pretty sight.

This is an incredibly horrific and depressing movie and it will take a brave soul with a strong stomach to go through this 75 minute movie without wincing once. It is proper torture porn in all it’s bloody glory with many scenes of extreme violence. There is no happy ending in either story. The first is probably the nastier of the two in the unrelenting brutality that we see. It just goes from one torture scene to another. Various torture methods are employed and shown in the movie such as being burnt at the stake, a woman cut in two with a sword, another woman thrown in a large water tank before a basket full of poisonous snakes are dumped on her, a naked person dunked in hot boiling water and people being crucified. The worst is Toyo’s 12 year old sister beaten mercilessly with a stick before being blinded by a red hot poker and then we have the coup de grace of Toyo tied up on a board getting her legs ripped off by two oxen much to the delight of the laughing magistrate who you’ll grow to despise. He is one sadistic bastard who just enjoys seeing people in pain. The 2nd story begins in an amusing manner but quickly goes downhill. One unfortunate prostitute gets pregnant and we see how the proprietor of the brothel deals with it. The woman is stamped upon on the stomach before an old woman rips the foetus from the womb. It is horrible to see and it just gets worse as a man’s ear is torn off with a knife and Sutezo is forced to eat it before having to cut the man’s penis with a razorblade. Sato and Sutezo’s deaths isn’t very pleasant to see either.

As you have just read in the paragraph above, this movie is VERY graphic so please don’t watch if you’re of a weak disposition and easily offended by the storyline because it really is unspeakably cruel. If this movie was created just for shock value alone it certainly works. It comes close at times to being at the level of the Guinea Pig series. This isn’t some low budget movie at all. Production values along with costumes, sets and the gruesome special effects are convincing, realistic and of a high standard. The tragic 2 storylines are written well with some good acting by all the cast even though one or two come close to hamming it up too much for my liking.

If you still haven’t been put off, you’ll be rewarded with a twisting, disturbing and depraved extreme horror movie. Exploitation fans will lap it up.

No trailer but here’s the opening titles of the movie:

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Ohyaku Dayu is raised as an orphan when her mother dies by throwing herself off a bridge. Growing up, she makes a living as a tightrope artist where her beauty wins her a legion of perverted fans. She is sold off to the highest bidder after each performance. Ohyaku is rescued from more male lusting by a common thief Shinkuro after a man who works at the Japanese mint called Sengoku wants her all to himself. Shinkuro and Ohyaku find out that they share a common bond in that they wish to take down any greedy bureaucrats who only give a shit about furthering their own career and don’t really care about the poor people. Shinkuro works out a plan to rob the mint and recruits several people to do this. He is warned from going ahead with this plan by the boss of the Otawa clan but nevertheless Shinkuro goes ahead regardless. The plan goes awry when one of Shinkuro’s trusted friend Hyoe Sakaki betrays him and he is captured along with Ohyaku but not before hiding the gold he stole. Both are tortured which can only be stopped if Shinkuro reveals where the gold is hidden. Not being able to watch Ohyaku getting tortured persuades Shinkuro to reveal the hiding place but the only thanks he gets is getting his head chopped off by the guillotine. Ohyaku herself is raped and humiliated by Sengoku and then shipped off to the prison island of Sado where the inmates are frothing at the mouth at getting their hands on a beautiful woman. Ohyaku makes a friend in a man nicknamed The Iron Barbarian who promises to look after her. Ohyaku is made to work in the poisonous gold mines but this is not enough to break her spirit. All the while Ohyaku is planning and scheming a way to escape back to Edo and extract her revenge on those that killed her beloved Shinkuro.

This movie has been named in some quarters as being the very first Pinky Violence movie that came to prominence and popularity in Japan during the early 70’s. It’s certainly got many of the exploitation elements required to be a classic pinku movie. The movie doesn’t contain as much blood and nudity as some of the later entries in the genre but there’s still more than enough here to satisfy the average Pinky Violence fan. Shot in excellent black & white photography and with many attributes one would associate with a typical Japanese period drama, this movie is nevertheless filled with over the top exploitative scenes. While no nudity is on display, the rapes and rape threats are frequent. The torture scenes are pretty disturbing, particularly when Ohayku’s scalp begins bleeding down her forehead as she hangs helplessly above the hot plate-like torture device threatening to grill her alive. Ohyaku’s revenge is slow and her victims don’t go quickly as she wants to torment them first. The movie moves at a steady pace throughout and is always entertaining but things really pick up in the last half hour of the movie. Director Yoshihiro Ishikawa implements a range of interesting and diverse characters into the mix; our central character is a fine balance of good looks and athletic ability and certainly fits the bill for this sort of movie.

Junko Miyazono is superb as Ohyaku. Beautiful but also tough and deadly as well. If this movie was indeed the birth of the Pinky Violence genre, you can definitely see the influence it would have in later Pinku movie characters played by Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto and Meiko Kaji. The concept of an empowered women taking revenge on the male-dominant society was unknown until this movie came along.

If you’re a fan of Pinky Violence movies then watching this should be high on your list to see where it all began. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

In the 3rd and final part of the Hanzo trilogy, we begin with his two assistants Devil-Fire and Viper fishing near the Shogunate treasury at night. However, their activities are brought to an end when a female ghost appears before their eyes and scaring the shit out of them. Running away to tell their master, Hanzo gets a glint in his eye and wants to meet this ghost immediately as he wants to have sex with her!! But of course this isn’t a real ghost after all but a woman who’s trying to keep away people from the river as there’s somebody on the inside in the treasury stealing gold coins and putting them inside bamboo rods before throwing them in the river where the sharp ends become stuck on the river floor ready for collection later. Hanzo discovers what’s going on and wants some information out of the woman so he carts her back to his place where the old torture net sex technique comes into effect. Just as the woman is about to confess everything to Hanzo she’s killed (that’s got to be a first for Hanzo!). Then all hell breaks loose as Hanzo’s house is attacked by a group led by the woman’s husband who’s an unhappy samurai guard at the treasury. After the group is destroyed, Hanzo returns the money back to the Shogunate but he still wants to find out who’s behind the thieving at the treasury. It seems that those on low wages such as Hanzo’s old samurai friend Heisuke Takei borrow money from a blind loan shark who’s employed by Elder Hotta who gives treasury money away to people as long as they give him more money back with interest after they’ve returned it. In another side-plot Hanzo has hidden a dying rebel doctor who’s been arrested for speaking out against the Shogunate for not adopting Western weapons which would aid Japan against an invasion by foreign countries. Hanzo gives him the task of building a copper cannon.

By now if you’ve watched the other 2 Hanzo movies, you should have become used to the format and structure of the stories and that these movies aren’t to be taken seriously at all. How can you take any of it serious when the lead character states that all men should have sex with a female ghost once in their life as their bodies will be so cold and their private parts will be tight!!! You’d also think that any person attacking Hanzo’s house would be aware from word of mouth that it’s booby trapped to the hilt with weapons and it’s futile to even attempt attacking it but here we have another troop of men going blindly to their deaths!!

This is probably the weakest of the trilogy and it’s a rather tame effort when you compare it to the other two. The exploitation stuff is dealt with in the first 10 minutes. The comedy comes thick and fast from the opening with Hanzo furiously bashing his penis on a block of wood as his 2 assistants Devil-Fire and Viper explain to him about the ghost! It makes me wonder how actor Shintaro Katsu managed to keep his face straight when delivering some of his lines, sometimes I thought I could see a kind of a smirk coming across his face as if he’s trying hard not to break out laughing!

Somehow this movie wasn’t as much fun as Sword of Justice and The Snare. It’s still good don’t get me wrong and it contains an amazing duel as Hanzo takes out a group of 20 men with his sword. All the different plots come together to give a satisfying ending. Overall it’s been a superb trilogy and there’s a lot of fun to be had in watching all of the movies. I’m sure if there was other movies with Hanzo I would have loved to have seen them but sadly there isn’t. Exploitation fans will have a ball with the Hanzo movies. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

In Hanzo Itami’s 2nd adventure, he upsets a high ranking officer working for Lord Okubo, the treasurer of the region whilst chasing 2 robbers on a bridge who thinks he’s disrespecting his superior. Unable to keep his mouth shut, Hanzo even badmouths Lord Okubo. Filled with rage, the officer officially challenges Hanzo to a duel sometime in the future. Hanzo and his 2 ex-con assistants find a body of a young girl at a watermill who has had an abortion. His investigation leads him to a nearby temple where the woman who runs the place performs a bizarre ritual to the God Oshizu before cutting unborn foetuses from women’s womb. Unable to prosecute the woman due to lack of evidence, Hanzo asks for information from the dead girl’s parents about where she would usually go. With this information, Hanzo heads off to Kaizan Temple where Priestess Nyokai has made it into a den of sexual debauchery. Girls snatched from nearby towns are sold to the highest male bidder for them to sexually abuse. Hanzo arrests the Priestess and interrogates her in his own special way! She confesses that the man behind the whole operation is Lord Okubo. But before Hanzo can go about dealing with Lord Okubo, he is given another task by his boss. Japan’s most wanted thief Shobei Hamajima is thinking of stealing all the money from the Edo Mint and the magistrate orders Hanzo to capture him at all costs.

I thought The Snare was much better than Sword of Justice in that it concentrates on the storyline unlike the first movie which focused more on Hanzo’s interrogation techniques on women. We get to see two such interrogations but it doesn’t last for that long and his training methods on which I mentioned in another review is kept to a minimum. This is by far one of the most sexist movies I’ve seen and so politically incorrect but that’s why it’s so great. You could never get away doing these kind of movies these days. The dry humour which is present throughout the movie is there to let you know that you can’t take everything too seriously. A particular sequence I loved was the ambush by Lord Okubo’s ninjas at Hanzo’s house. Naturally Hanzo is well prepared for such an attack and has boobytrapped the entire place. Spears come down from the ceiling and from the walls of the house and there’s a hidden arsenal of weapons for Hanzo to use. The attack is a complete failure and the assassins are decimated. Blood is sprayed about like it’s come from a hosepipe! Some of the statements that come out from Hanzo’s mouth is just so hilarious. It seems that any women with dark nipples are sluts according to him. It’s just little scenes such as this which makes the Hanzo movies so entertaining and funny to watch.

Shintaro Katsu is just awesome as the anti-hero Hanzo. He’s like a bull in a china shop barging his way into every situation but it produces results. You just woudn’t mess with the guy if you came across him. The actors protraying his ex-con assistants produce much of the humour and provide a nice balance for Hanzo’s snarly attitude.

If you liked Hanzo’s first movie then you have to check out this one. Who would have thought that Japanese trash cinema would be so much fun! Those that are easily offended would be wise to stay away from this movie.

I can’t find a trailer but did find this which features several scenes from the Snare as well as Sword Of Justice.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

The story is set over a weekend as tough tomboy motorcyclist Ako meets Mei at a traffic light junction on Friday when she hops on the back of Ako’s bike teasing with a promise of meeting some girls if she gives her a lift. With nothing better to do, Ako obliges. Mei and her female gang are about to have a rumble with another female gang. But just as Mei’s gang is about to triumph over the other gang in the fight, a bunch of male thugs interrupt and swing the odds in their opponent’s favour. That is, until Ako barges in on her bike with enough distraction for Mei’s gang to escape. Later on at a club, Ako is introduced to Mei’s boyfriend Michio who is desperate to join a local yakuza syndicate, the Seiyu Group. He persuades them to part with 10 million yen on a boxing match scam in which his friend Kelly is taking part in a match. Michio is adamant that Kelly will throw away his fight in order for the Seiyu Group to make 40 million yen in return and Kelly will get a small part of the profit too. In the meantime, 2 of Mei’s gang has failed to return after the fight. They’ve been captured by the thugs who are underlings to the Seiyu Group. One manages to escape but the other is subjected to a nasty torture by blowtorch to her breasts! A rescue attempt is successful but things are about to go from bad to worse when Kelly changes his mind about losing his match and wins his bout which makes the Seiyu Group unhappy. Michio is captured and beaten up but fear not, Mei’s gang and Ako save the day with the head of the Seiyu Group slashed near his eye for good fortune by Michio. He orders the thugs to track down Michio. Escaping to a safe house, Ako, Mei and an injured Michio hope to lie low but their hopes for that are dashed when one of Mei’s gang Mari is taken by the Seiyu Group to be interrogated on Michio’s hideout. It’s not too long before they show up at the hideout and in a show of defiance Michio is unfortunately killed. Now Mei is out for revenge but can she, Ako and the gang defeat the underlings and the Seiyu Group?

Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss was the first of five movies that was quickly made over the course of 18 months and were quite popular during their day. However unlike most pink violence movies which are quite sleazy with modest amounts of sex and hardcore violence thrown in, this doesn’t follow that pattern at all. This movie is all about promoting girl power (the Spice Girls would be proud of these tough girls!). There’s plenty of violence but it’s not that gratitious. The story hooks you in from the beginning when Ako and Mei meet for the first time. You begin to care for the girls and wonder what will happen to them. Some viewers might feel that there’s a touch of the movie The Warriors on display here as Mei’s gang has to sneak around Tokyo looking for a place to hide from the Seiyu Group. Perhaps Walter Hill got some ideas from this movie? Another big plus of this movie especially for men watching will be the beautiful eye candy on display. Naturally all eyes will be on the gorgeous Meiko Kaji but the rest of her gang are all stunning too. This movie also has an excuse to feature some psychedelical musical numbers by a group called OX because some scenes are set in a club, Akiko Wada also getting a chance to showcase her singing talents. The director of the movie Yasuharu Hasebe added some psychedelic flashing colour from time to time onscreen which I found rather annoying. He only did that to show that time had passed in scenes from afternoon to evening or from one day to a new one otherwise he did a really good job in giving the viewer a fine story to watch with some intriguing camera trickery on show.

This was the breakout movie for Meiko Kaji. After this movie, Meiko was promoted by Nikkatsu Studios in which she would become the legendary exploitation/pink violence star of the 70’s in Japan. She shares the leading role status in this very cool movie with Akiko Wada (who funnily enough comes up regularly as one of the most hated women in Japan these days). Can’t imagine why she’s so hated? Although both Meiko Kaji and Akiko Wada would return for the 2nd movie in the series, Akiko’s involvement would be lessened in order for Meiko Kaji’s star status to rise.

There’s one pitiful sequence in which Ako and Mei are chased by the thugs on their motorbikes and a beach buggy. The way some of the thugs drop by the wayside as they fall over on their bikes is embarassing to watch. They should have thought of better ways of disposing of them so that only the buggy remains in the chase. Funnily enough once the other bikes are out of the way the chase improves considerably as we see both vehicles darting in and out of the Tokyo subway system with the general public looking puzzled as the vehicles passes them. The look on their faces says it all as they’re thinking “what the hell are these things doing down here?”!!

Overall I really enjoyed this movie and the short running time of 80 mins made the pace quite quick and snappy. It’s a great starting point for those that want to get into the pink violence/exploitation genre. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

In this, the 2nd out of 9 Angel Guts movies, a man Muraki who shoots erotic photography becomes obsessed with a woman he sees in a porn movie, in which she, very innocent looking and young, is raped for real in a classroom. Years later after meeting her he wants to photograph the woman for his publication in order to help her as she’s had quite a notorious reputation for the movie and is trying to keep a low profile. They agree to meet again during the evening but Muraki is falsely arrested by the cops for filming a schoolgirl. Although he is freed several hours later, the time for meeting Nami has long passed by and she is no longer at the arranged meeting place. More years pass by and then by coincidence he finds Nami once more – no longer the innocent woman he thought she was, she is now a sleazy prostitute and a nymphomaniac!

The Angel Guts movies was a series of 9 that were filmed between 1978 and 1994. Like most pinky violence movies, it’s full of sex and violence. However unlike the rest in the genre, this movie turned Japanese sexual roles on it’s head. The woman, named Nami, as are all the main female characters in the Angel Guts series, saps men of their virility. In the movie’s most memorable sequence, she sleeps with a man once, then works hard to get him going again. After the second time, she basically rapes the guy. This movie is much less “sleazy” than many of the other movies of this genre and provides a hard-hitting storyline of a woman spiralling out of control, and although there are still some minor rape themes, and a lot of eroticism in general throughout the movie, this one is far more “serious” and is a somewhat refreshing change. The male lead Muraki is quite an interesting character who’s drawn to Nami and falls for her through the sadness and beauty of the suffering he saw in her movie. He wants to be Nami’s knight in shining armour when he finds her working as a prostitute but it seems she’s a lost cause. Nami is a very intriguing character. The only way for her to overcome her past trauma is by taking part in exhibitionist sex. It seems this has desensitised her so much that the misery she had before has disappeared.

This movie doesn’t pull any punches and is a slightly different form of exploitation in that it takes a minimal approach to sexual violence. Those that love exploitation movies but with more meat added to the storyline should find plenty to enjoy here.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »