Modern Pulp Jul 26 2021
THE HELL JAR
Keeping your problems bottled up is sometimes the best solution.


We had to watch this film. There was no choice. The poster removed all free will. When we first saw this art about ten years ago the movie wasn't available, but that's been fixed. This was painted for the roman porno drama Binzume jigoku, aka Hell in a Bottle, which premiered in Japan today in 1986. You may have noticed a similarity to this poster, and indeed it was painted by the same artist, who signed it at lower left but is still unknown to us. Looking at the art, you're probably thinking there's no way it can be literal, but you'd be wrong, as the screenshots below will show. We always wonder about the genesis of bizarro films like these. In this case: a 1928 story by author and Zen priest Yasumichi Sugiyama, who wrote as Yumeno Kyusaku.

The movie stars Chiyoko Ogura, Jun Numaoka, and the lovely Hitomi Kobayashi, who in addition to being an actress was popular as a photobook model, headlining at least ten. Plotwise, what you get here is a tale of forbidden attraction between siblings Numaoka and Ogura. They're on an isolated island along with Numaoka's girlfriend, played by Kobayashi, who is pretty much gobsmacked when she realizes the brother/sister attraction she's witnessing might actually come, so to speak, to fruition. She threatens her reckless boyfriend with a gun at one point, but nothing can stand the way of feverish incestuous fantasy, and eventually Numaoka and Ogura cast Kobayashi adrift in a bottle. That's a spoiler of course, but what are we to do when the poster art gives it away? If we told you she didn't end up in a bottle would you even bother to watch the movie? The good news is that imprisoning Kobayashi isn't the only use of bottles, so there's more to see than just her hallucinatory departure.

We're not sure what the point of the movie is. The plot is foreshadowed by another unfortunate incestuous love that took place in the past, ended in tragedy, and is described in an old diary, so the point could be that history repeats—particularly within families, since the previous diary was left by Numaoka's dead father. Does this original sin angle mean that Binzume jigoku is something more than just a piece of lowbrow exploitation? Sure, we guess. Is it recommendable? Are you kidding? Recommend a movie about unquenchable carnal desire between a brother and sister? Not a chance. This is roman porno, which generally leaves us adrift like Kobayashi in her bottle, even when it strives for deep metaphor. Watch the movie if you wish, but don't pretend you got the green light from us.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 08
1963—Gang Pulls Off Great Train Robbery
A fifteen member gang robs a train of £2.6 million at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England. Thirteen of the fifteen are later caught, but some subsequently escape from prison, and one, Ronnie Biggs, is only recaptured in 2001 after voluntarily returning to England.
1974—Nixon Resigns
After two years of public outcry over the Watergate scandal, U.S. president Richard M. Nixon announces to a national television audience that he will resign, effective the next day. Vice President Gerald R. Ford completes the remainder of Nixon's term.
August 07
1947—Journey of the Kon-Tiki Ends
Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashes into a reef in the Tuamotu Islands after a 4300 mile (7000 kilomteter) journey from South America. Heyerdahl was attempting to prove—in rather circuitous fashion—that South American natives were descended from Pacific Islanders.
August 06
1945—First Nuclear Weapon Is Used on Hiroshima
Hiroshima is leveled when the atomic bomb codenamed Little Boy is detonated over the city by the United States. Around 70,000 people are killed instantly, and tens of thousands more die in the months and years ahead due to burns and radiation poisoning.
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