Vintage Pulp Jun 28 2015
LYNCH MOB
For a pack of troublemakers they sure are hard to find.

This beautiful orange poster showing a brawl in front of the ocean is for the movie Zankoku onna rinchi, which was released in English as Mini-Skirt Lynchers and Cruel Women’s Lynch Law, and is credited as the movie that launched Japanese film's girl gang genre. It starred Annu Mari and Masako Ota, the latter of whom would become pinku icon Meiko Kaji. The film is elusive—nobody we know has seen it, and searching online for reviews just sends you to numerous empty landing pages designed toattract visits while offering zero information (gotta love the rampant false economy of the internet). Well, at least at Pulp Intl. we have this rare promo. It’s so rare, in fact, that we’ve never seen it on another website (though it will soon appear on all those lame landing pages we mentioned). We’ve also included a more commonly seen promo poster just below. We’ll keep searching for this film, and if we ever find it we’ll get back to you. Zankoku onna rinchi premiered in Japan today in 1969.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 19 2015
WRECKING BALLS
She may look harmless but she hits below the belt.

Above, a rather nice poster with Salome Tsunoda for a film that had no Western release and thus no Western title, but would be something like “Agony Ball Break.” That just sounds bad, doesn’t it? Some sources give a longer title that would be something like “The Ball Break of Salome Tsunoda.” Hey, we only work here—anyone want to throw a better translation our way, feel free. The movie, which is a brisk 59 minutes long and was directed by Hiroshi Mukai, aka Kan Mukai, starred Tsunoda, Mami Sakura, and Lena Ogawa Lena. On the internet its premiere dates are all over the calendar, but what we consider a reliable source believes it opened today 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 16 2015
SNOW DAZE
Meiko Kaji and her sword return for another dance of death.

You know those days when you go out at noon and one thing leads to another and you don’t get home until about five in the morning? No? Well, that’s why we didn’t do this post yesterday on Shura-yuki-hime: Urami Renga, aka Lady Snowblood 2: Song of Vengeance, which features Meiko Kaji reprising the iconic role of Yuki the avenging swordswoman. We were going to write a whole deal on this movie, but there are numerous reviews and such online just a few mouseclicks away, so instead we’ll simply give you the rare promo poster above, along with two less rare pieces below. We also have a ton of promo art for the first Lady Snowblood at this link. This is mandatory viewing from the Japanese canon, so if you haven’t seen it, put it in your queue. Shura-yuki-hime: Urami Renga premiered in Japan yesterday in 1974. 

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Musiquarium May 28 2015
BEAUTIFUL MUSIC
Reiko Oshida delights the senses.

Above are the front and rear cover for pinky violence icon Reiko Oshida’s album Nani ga doshite kounatta, which translates to something roughly along the lines of “Why does this happen?” It’s available with a couple of different covers, but we like the above version with its array of playful Oshidas. The rear is also nice, and some enterprising Tumblr.com user dug up an enlargement, which, since Oshida is a Pulp Intl. fave, we thought we’d share with you, just below. But what of the music, you ask? It falls, we suppose, into the kayokyoku category, which is to say it’s Western-inspired. We like it, but maybe you should judge its merits for yourself. Check out the album’s title song.

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Vintage Pulp May 26 2015
A CROSS TO BEAR
Crucifixion, death, and insurrection.


Last night we asked the Pulp Intl. girlfriends if they wanted to watch a movie and they said no because the movies we pick are always bad. That obvious slur against our taste aside, we explained yet again that we choose poster art, not movies. Which is to say, we merely react to interesting vintage movie promos by following where we’re asked to go—to the sofa for a screening. The above poster for Hiroku Nagasaki onna-ro, aka Nagasaki Women’s Prison is about as successful as Japanese promo art gets. With its graphics, colors, and weird-ass content it demands that you watch the movie. The fact that it’s a quasi-sequel to 1970’s successful Onna-ro hizu, aka Island of Horrors gave us hope it would be good.
 
So we watched and what we got was Akane Kawasaki, Tomoko Mayama, and others in a women-behind-bars flick set in the seventeenth century that starts with a crucifixion, ends with a crucifixion, and has lots of scheming, catfighting, and mayhem between. The only English review we found online said the crucifixions were a framing device—i.e. we see the same woman up there both times and the film explains how she got there. That isn’t true. We see two different women crucified. The first serves mainly as an example of what happens to unruly prisoners, which of course is what Kawasaki and company quickly become. Escape may not be in the cards, but at least they exact some measure of revenge against their male tormentors before all is said and done.

These crucifixions, we should mention, are not like what you see on the poster. That image is designed to trick you into watching something a bit more screamy, stabby, and bloody than you’d expect, so proceed with caution. In the end, we didn’t like the movie very much, and we got to thinking maybe our girlfriends are right. Maybe we do watch a lot of bad movies. Maybe they’re smart to avoid them. But no worries—we don’t need no icky old girls watching movies with us anyway. Hiroku Nagasaki onna-ro premiered in Japan today in 1971.


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Vintage Pulp Jan 3 2015
CRAZY FOR YOU
Meiko Kaji takes the Stray Cat Rock franchise out for a final spin.


Even Nikkatsu serials eventually end, and this entry in the Stray Cat Rock series, entitled Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Crazy Rider, was the final outing for Meiko Kaji in the franchise. That’s her, of course, looking exceptionally badass on an exceedingly rare promo poster, and below we have even rarer distributor sheets. Plotwise, Kaji has a boyfriend named Ryumei who has spurned the mainstream lifestyle for hippie freedom. When bikers attack Ryumei and Kaji the altercation leads to Ryumei killing one of the thugs. Unluckily for Kaji, he’s whisked away, leaving her to take the murder rap, in turn leading to her being tossed in jail. Turns out Ryumei’s father wants him to give up hippiedom and join the family business, and sent the bikers to kidnap him and bring him home.

Kaji escapes from jail a while later, seeks out Ryumei, finds him transformed into a cold-hearted suit, and is imprisoned again, this time by the father’s evil thugs. The main problem with this movie for Kaji fans is she doesn’t get much screen time. Instead much of the tale is told from the other end, as Kaji’s friends, led by Yoshio Harada, plot to free her. This isn’t fatal to the movie, though. If you can embrace the other protagonists you’ll find plenty to enjoy. The sentiment of hippies-versus-power may seem quaint, and indeed the film handles certain elements of their lifestyle comedically, but all these years later, with Japan’s rich getting richer while its poverty rate is among the highest for developed nations, is anyone still laughing? Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71 premiered in Japan today in 1971, and you can see more posters for the series here and here.


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Vintage Pulp Dec 30 2014
STRIPED SCORPION
The smaller the animal the deadlier the poison.


This excellent Japanese poster promotes the film Joshuu sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bô, aka Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41, starring Meiko Kaji as the female convict of the title. This is second of ten movies dealing with the character of Scorpion, but Kaji played the role only four times before passing it off to Yumi Takagawa in 1976. We shared posters for Kaji’s four excursions back in 2010 and mentioned there was alternate art we didn’t possess. Well, we do now. This was painted by Toru Shinohara, who also created the manga the movies are based upon. It’s a rare piece.

The movie itself is sinister, psychedelic, and extraordinarily stylish thanks to director Shunya Itô’s clever set-ups and shot-framing. For most fans, Kaji is the only Scorpion that matters, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. She’s about five-feet-four and probably didn’t hit triple digits on a scale back then, but with eyes and posture she radiates lethal menace. As far as plot, this fits end-to-end with the previous movie, so consider watching that one first. Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2014
JELLYFISH'S STING
The bright lights look pretty but they can blind you to the danger.


These two panel length posters promote the pinku flicks Neon kurage and its sequel Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha. We also have a normal promo for Neon kurage below. The movies, though well known, never had any Western releases as far as we know, but would be called Neon Jellyfish and something like Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Float. Shinjuku is a place, so that’s easy enough to grasp, but we were unsure on the “float” aspect until we looked it up. It seems to derive from a type of Japanese tram decorated with flowers in the manner of a parade float, but its secondary meaning has something to do with sexual performance, specifically vaginal insertions of, well… anything from blowguns to ping pong balls.

We're happy to say you’ll see none of that in these movies. They’re about as explicit as your average Cinemax feature, though as we’ve mentioned before, not being able to show anything actually makes the directors—in these instances Naito Makoto and Kazuhiko Yamaguchi—go the extra mile with visual tricks and clever juxtapositions. The story in both movies revolves around star Emiko Yamauchi’s employment in seedy Tokyo sex bars. In the first movie she’s pursued by a photographer who uses devious means to turn her into a nude model, and in the second she escapes her village in the sticks and meets a professional cyclist who’s tangled up with some thugs in a race-fixing racket. Problems ensue in both instances.

Yamauchi only appeared in a handful of productions, but the term masterpiece was thrown around by some critics when writing about Neon Jellyfish. Yamaucho was also in School of the Holy Beast, which we discussed here. As a side note, there are dozens of websites now offering to stream or sell or preview this genre of movies, but of course they have nothing but malware and viruses. We are immune, thanks to Apple. If you aren’t, don’t dare go looking. You’ll get stung right in the hard drive. Neon kurage premiered June 20, 1973, and Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha premiered today the same year.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2014
ACCORDING TO SCHEDULE
They say art is good therapy. But maybe not in this case.


Chûsei Sone’s Irogoyomi onna ukiyoe-shi, which was known in the West as Eros Schedule Book: Female Artist, is the story of an unsuccessful painter in Edo period Japan who, after his wife is raped while picking herbs by a river, swears revenge upon the man who disrupted their lives. Meanwhile the trauma unlocks something inside the wife that she deals with by beginning to paint her own canvasses. Her violent works all include images of her rapist, and as the paintings become more acclaimed, the rapist becomes a sort of local celebrity and the husband becomes more sexually alienated and professionally jealous. This is all disturbing enough, but it’s of course merely setting the stage for the rapist’s reappearance.

The movie was well reviewed, especially for a pinku, but like many from the genre it’s almost impossible to find outside of Japan. That may be a good thing—we appreciate that the male antagonists in these movies generally suffer gruesome fates, and while that is quite satisfying, these plots just don’t play well today. Sone, who was just beginning his directorial career, would go on to helm many other movies over the course of two decades. Conversely, the star of Irogoyomi onna ukiyoe-shi, Setsuko Ogawa, like a whirlwind appeared in twenty-five films in a mere three years before pretty much vanishing from the scene. Irogoyomi onna ukiyoe-shi, which by the way is not part of the nine-film Eros Schedule Book series made around the same time, premiered in Japan today in 1971.


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Vintage Pulp Dec 1 2014
REVENGE SERVED COLD
Meiko Kaji takes vengeance to a whole new level.

The action drama Shurayuki-hime, aka Lady Snowblood, is considered classic cinema for good reasons—it’s bold, lyirical, and stylish, with an unusual narrative structure and a great star in Meiko Kaji. Every piece of art we have on this game-changing movie appears below, and as far as we can discern much of it has never before been shared online. Shurayuki-hime premiered in Japan today in 1973. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 04
1927—La Lollo Is Born
Gina Lollobrigida is born in Subiaco, Italy, and eventually becomes one of the world's most famous and desired actresses. Later she becomes a photojournalist, numbering among her subjects Salvador Dali, Paul Newman and Fidel Castro.
July 03
1931—Schmeling Retains Heavyweight Title
German boxer Max Schmeling TKOs his U.S. opponent Young Stribling in the fifteenth round to retain the world heavyweight boxing title he had won in 1930. Schmeling eventually tallies fifty-six wins, forty by knockout, along with ten losses and four draws before retiring in 1948.
1969—Stones Guitarist Is Found Dead
Brian Jones, a founding member of British rock group Rolling Stones, is found at the bottom of his swimming pool at Crotchford Farm, East Sussex, England. The official cause of his death is recorded as misadventure from ingesting various drugs.
July 02
1937—Amelia Earhart Disappears
Amelia Earhart fails to arrive at Howland Island during her around the world flight, prompting a search for her and navigator Fred Noonan in the South Pacific Ocean. No wreckage and no bodies are ever found.
1964—Civil Rights Bill Becomes Law
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Bill into law, which makes the exclusion of African-Americans from elections, schools, unions, restaurants, hotels, bars, cinemas and other public institutions and facilities illegal. A side effect of the Bill is the immediate reversal of American political allegiance, as most southern voters abandon the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.
1997—Jimmy Stewart Dies
Beloved actor Jimmy Stewart, who starred in such films as Rear Window and Vertigo, dies at age eighty-nine at his home in Beverly Hills, California of a blood clot in his lung.

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