Vintage Pulp Jun 22 2010
TURNING OF THE TIED
Scenes from a marriage.

If there’s one indisputably true statement about Japanese cinema, it’s this: they will try anything. 1974’s Hana to hebi, aka Flower and Snake, is a bondage comedy based on a novel by Oniroku Dan, who specialized in S&M fiction. For the screen version, Nikkatsu Studios recruited reliable sexploitation queen Naomi Tani, who had already appeared in a previous version of the same film entitled Hana to hebi yori: niku no shiiku, aka Flower and Snake: Rearing the Flesh. Where that version was a mere pinku film, this new version would be a Roman porno—which simply meant Nikkatsu would spend more money in an effort to elevate the genre into something mainstream Japanese would accept. In the film, Tani plays an aristocratic wife who asks for a divorce but instead is forced into bondage and submission by a man hired for the task by her husband. She experiences a sexual awakening, the employee forms an emotional bond, and complications ensue from there. We haven’t read the novel, but apparently it’s very different from the film and its adaptation was a source of friction between studio and author. But it didn’t matter—Hana to hebi was a smash. It was the first of Nikkatsu’s many Roman porno flicks, and the first of what would become a Hana to hebi franchise. It premiered in Japan today in 1974. 

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Modern Pulp Dec 5 2009
ROPE TRICKS
I wanna hold your hana.

Hana to hebi: kyûkyoku nawa chôkyô was released with the English title Flower and Snake 4: Rope Magic, which is a very pretty collection of nouns for an exercise in torture porn. Fairly hard torture porn, too, probably because by the time this was made by Nikkatsu Studios, adult video was taking a major bite out of Japan’s pinku market. The plot here is simple: a gambler with debts loses his wife and daughter to the Yakuza, who proceed to humiliate the women in various fiendish ways. There’s an escape attempt that goes awry, but basically the story is just a framework for increasingly devilish forms of sexual degradation. You got your dildos. You got your hot wax. You got your urine. This is soooo not our thing. But what is our thing is the promo art, which is just lovely, even while evincing the film’s highly dubious nature. Experienced pinku fans, or those into the Japanese art of Kinbaku-bi (beautiful bondage) may dig this movie. All others proceed with caution. Hana to hebi: kyûkyoku nawa chôkyô, premiered in Japan today in 1987.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 13
1970—Angela Davis Arrested
After two months of evading police and federal authorities, Angela Davis is arrested in New York City by the FBI. She had been sought in connection with a kidnapping and murder because one of the guns used in the crime had been bought under her name. But after a trial a jury agreed that owning the weapon did not automatically make her complicit in the crimes.
October 12
1978—Sid Vicious Arrested for Murder
Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious is arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen is found in their room at New York City's Chelsea Hotel. Vicious and Spungen had a famously stormy relationship, but Vicious proclaims he is innocent. He is released on bail and dies of a heroin overdose before a trial takes place.
1979—Adams Publishes First Hitchhiker's Book
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the first of five books in a series, is published by Douglas Adams. The novels follow on the heels of the tremendously successful British television series of the same name.
October 11
1976—China Coup Thwarted
The new head of the Chinese Communist Party, Hua Goufeng, snuffs out a coup led by Chairman Mao's widow Jiang Qing and three other party members. They become known as the Gang of Four, and are tried, found guilty of treason, and receive death sentences that are later commuted to lengthy prison terms.
1987—Loch Ness Expedition Ends
A sonar exploration of Scotland's Loch Ness, called Operation Deepscan, ends after a week without finding evidence that the legendary Loch Ness Monster exists. While the flotilla of boats had picked up three sonar contacts indicating something large in the waters, these are considered to be detections of salmon schools or possibly seals.
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