Vintage Pulp Feb 8 2016
SADA MASOCHISM
She always had a problem letting go.


This could be a Pulp Intl. first—a Japanese movie where a foreign poster is the nicest version out there. Usually the Japanese whip all competing asses in the poster design department, but just this once the Italian iteration is better, probably because it was painted by Enrico de Seta, one of the best illustrators of the period. The movie is Jitsuroku Abe Sada, which was called in Italian Abesada—L'abisso dei sensi. That means “Abesada—abyss of the senses,” but the English title decided upon was actually A Woman Called Sada Abe. The story tracks real-life murderer Sada Abe, who habitually practiced sexual asphyxiation with her lover Kichizo Ishida, and in 1936 strangled him to death with the sash of her obi. The sensational story grew into an epic folk legend, interpreted by painters, writers, and poets, and when Japan's roman porno film genre came along the incident was a perfect fit.
 
Jitsuroku Abe Sada was one of several films to tackle the subject. In real life, Sada followed up her killing of Ishida by castrating the corpse and fleeing with the severed organ. The movie covers this aspect of the incident too, and eventually ends with Sada's arrest. The real life Sada was convicted of murder and other crimes, but despite begging to be executed was sentenced to prison, released after a few years, and went on to live four more interesting decades. We won't go so far as to recommend Jitsuroku Abe Sada. It has its worthwhile points, among them the reliable Junko Miyahsita in the lead, but if you're going to watch a telling of the Sada Abe incident, maybe try the more famous and more explicit In the Realm of the Senses, which appeared in 1976. Jitsuroku Abe Sada premiered in Japan today in 1975.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 15 2014
MASTERFUL KEY
Glass Key paperback art is tops thanks to another Italian master.

Brian Donlevy and Veronica Lake’s film noir The Glass Key, which was Hollywood’s second try at Dashiell Hammett’s novel, premiered this month in 1942. To be exact, it opened yesterday in New York City and throughout the U.S. on October 23. The poster most often seen online is the theatrical release version we showed you several years ago, but alternates were produced and two of them appear below. What we really wanted to share, though, is this great paperback cover from UK-based Digit Books. It’s from 1961 and features the art of Italian illustrator Enrico de Seta, who we’ve mentioned before. If you haven’t watched The Glass Key we recommend it, and if you haven’t read the book, just know that it was Hammett’s personal favorite. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 22 2010
LAST BEST TOPO
Now I will make you kiss with only the immense power of my mind!

A while back we shared a rare poster for Alexandro Jodorwoski’s 1970 cult classic El Topo specifically because of the Enrico de Seta artwork. Well, turns out he painted two posters for the film. Above is his rather ominous second effort, and you can see the first one—which is amazing—by clicking this link.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 2 2010
SUPER MOLE
Once upon a time in the west.

We’re starting 2010 out right, with an absolutely amazing poster from an equally amazing film. At least, we think it’s amazing. Reactions to Chilean-born director Alexandro Jodorowski’s El Topo run the gamut—some hail it as high art; other think it’s a pretentious and garbled mess. However, it’s undeniable that the film hails from a much more daring cinematic era. It’s also one of the first true midnight films, gaining popularity during its 1970 Stateside run among New York City’s artsy, nocturnal filmgoing crowd after a slow start in conventional release. Basically, El Topo ("topo" means "mole" in Spanish, but is used as slang to describe an awkward person) is a western, but it’s also a commingling of Biblical and eastern religion themes. Doesn’t that sound fun? The two halves of the film have different flavors, and this tends to turn off some viewers. Jodorowski confessed that a couple of important transitional shots got ruined and were never replaced. Add in all the nudity, dwarves, and random events, and it’s easy to think of the film as sloppy. But what isn’t sloppy is the Italian poster by Enrico de Seta, one of the true masters of cinema promo art, who we’ll be featuring again in the future. In the meantime, we recommend a viewing of El Topo. It’s a unique vision by a singular filmmaker—grand, violent, disturbing, and most of all, pulp. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 14
1911—Team Reaches South Pole
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, along with his team Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first person to reach the South Pole. After a celebrated career, Amundsen eventually disappears in 1928 while returning from a search and rescue flight at the North Pole. His body is never found.
December 13
1944—Velez Commits Suicide
Mexican actress Lupe Velez, who was considered one of the great beauties of her day, commits suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. In her note, Velez says she did it to avoid bringing shame on her unborn child by giving birth to him out of wedlock, but many Hollywood historians believe bipolar disorder was the actual cause. The event inspired a 1965 Andy Warhol film entitled Lupe.
1958—Gordo the Monkey Lost After Space Flight
After a fifteen minute flight into space on a Jupiter AM-13 rocket, a monkey named Gordo splashes down in the South Pacific but is lost after his capsule sinks. The incident sparks angry protests from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but NASA says animals are needed for such tests.
December 12
1968—Tallulah Bankhead Dies
American actress, talk show host, and party girl Tallulah Bankhead, who was fond of turning cartwheels in a dress without underwear and once made an entrance to a party without a stitch of clothing on, dies in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City of double pneumonia complicated by emphysema.
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