Life and death at the edge of a razor.
This promo is for Jigoku no tenshi: Akai bakuon, aka Hells Angels: Crimson Roar, one of scores of girl gang movies that deluged Japanese cinema during the 1970s. This one is from Toei Company and concerns a gang member named Yoko, played by Yûko Iruka, who spends three years in prison for assault with a switchblade, and afterward emerges onto the mean, nightclub-lined streets of her coastal hometown. You know Japanese bars are sleazy when their names are English—Bar Lucky, The Apollo, The Happening, Club Ace, New York 3, et al. We especially liked the placard that read: Girls can get so excited and lustful sometimes, as shown in this picture. Why don’t you come in now? The girls working for me are so sexy. You can try to satisfy them. Yes, even sex club signage is polite in Japan.
These places are all geared toward American servicemen, of course, and the distaste for Western decadence, though subtle, is clear. But it isn’t Americans who are a problem for Yoko—it’s a group of pesky Yakuza who make their home at the Lonely Angel bar. After Yoko is drugged into paralysis and raped by two of the slimier specimens she hones that trusty switchblade of hers and goes on a revenge spree that, well, doesn’t end nicely for her enemies. She gets timely help from her boyfriend, and when he ends up on the point of a katana, that makes her even angrier. Turns out she’s deadly with a sniper rifle too. Standard stuff, but with an unusual and effective star in Iruka, and Reiko Ike’s 1973 hit song “Futen Gurashi Part 2” recurring throughout the soundtrack—a bonus. Jigoku no tenshi: Akai bakuon premiered in Japan today in 1977.
, Toei Company
, Jigoku no tenshi: Akai bakuon
, Hells Angels: Crimson Roar
, Yûko Iruka
, Hiroshi Tachi
, Yasuko Naito
, Reiko Ike
, pinky violence
, poster art
, movie review
Any day is special when she’s involved.
There are many good photos of Terumi Azuma—entire books of them, in fact, and we’ll get to one of those later—but for our money this is one of the best images ever made of one of the most photogenic Japanese stars of the 1970s. It comes from a collection called Holiday of Terumi Azuma, which is appropriate because today is a holiday in the U.S. You also may have noticed that we vanished for four days without a peep last week. That was holiday related too—we went on a spontaneous island jaunt with a few friends. Consider the above awesome image an apology for our absence, and rest assured next time we’ll at least get up an intermission card before we disappear. We have many posters for Azuma’s movies that we’ll share at some point, but in the meantime see more of her here and here. And what the heck, here too.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday soon.
Above you see an alternate version of the promo poster for Sukeban guerira, aka Girl Boss Guerilla, Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike’s classic biker-girl revenge pinku flick. The previous versions, including a rare bo-ekibari style, are here. We also have a couple of rare promo images of Sugimoto and Ike below for your enjoyment, so you can appreciate them when they aren't trying to kill people. We have other promos that are even more rare, and we’ll see about sharing those later. Sukeban gerira premiered in Japan today in 1972.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
, Daiei Studios
, Hiroku Nagasaki onna-ro
, Nagasaki Women’s Prison
, Akane Kawasaki
, Tomoko Mayama
, poster art
, pinky violence
, movie review
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.
, Hori Production
, Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ‘71
, Stray Cat Rock: Crazy Rider ‘71
, Meiko Kaji
, Yoshio Harada
, poster art
, pinky violence
, movie review
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1971—London Bridge Goes Up
After being sold, dismantled and moved to the United States, London Bridge reopens in the resort town of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
1975—Burton and Taylor Marry Again
British actor Richard Burton and American screen star Elizabeth Taylor secretly remarry sixteen months after their divorce, then jet away to a second honeymoon in Chobe Game Park in Botswana.
1967—Ché Executed in Bolivia
A day after being captured, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara is executed in Bolivia. In an attempt to make it appear as though he had been killed resisting Bolivian troops, the executioner shoots Guevara with a machine gun, wounding him nine times in the legs, arm, shoulder, throat, and chest.
1918—Sgt. York Becomes a Hero
During World War I, in the Argonne Forest in France, America Corporal Alvin C. York leads an attack on a German machine gun nest that kills 25 and captures 132. He is a corporal during the event, but is promoted to sergeant as a result. He also earns Medal of Honor from the U.S., the Croix de Guerre from the French Republic, and the Croce di Guerra from Italy and Montenegro. Stateside, he is celebrated as a hero, and Hollywood even makes a movie entitled Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper.
1956—Larsen Pitches Perfect Game
The New York Yankees' Don Larsen pitches a perfect game in the World Series against hated rivals the Brooklyn Dodgers. It is the only perfect game in World Series history, as well as the only no-hitter.
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