Vintage Pulp Jun 11 2021
KICKING MORASS
They're meaner than the gators and deadlier than the snakes.


Above, a Japanese poster for Swamp Women, originally made in 1956, starring Mike Connors, Marie Windsor, Carole Matthews, and Beverly Garland. The Japanese title of this is 女囚大脱走, which means “female prisoner escape.” We consider that a bit of a plot spoiler, but the art is brilliant, and we suspect it enticed many a Japanese filmgoer. To their shock and horror, after they'd ponied up the yen they found out it was a Roger Corman b-movie and probably wanted to escape too.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 8 2021
GUNN RIGHTS
When Jim Brown stands his ground an entire city is turned upside down.


This Japanese poster was made to promote the U.S. blaxploitation flick Black Gunn, which in Japan was called スーパー・ガン, or “Super Gun.” The U.S. promo for the movie is nice too, but we prefer this version. Black Gunn starred Jim Brown as a Los Angeles nightclub owner whose little brother rips off the mob and stashes the cash in Brown's office safe. Little brother has also stolen and stashed ledgers containing information that could bring down the entire organized crime apparatus. Naturally, the mob comes looking and they aren't subtle about their methods. A few beatings and threats elicit some useful information, and pretty soon they're knocking on the door of Gunn's Club, as Brown's joint is called. Think his little brother is going to survive all this? If he did, you wouldn't get to see vengeful Jim beat, kick, and blast various members of mafia west.

Brown is usually a passable actor, no worse than average for action movies of the period, but here he seems to be sleepwalking, along with every other cast member apart from head villain Martin Landau. Brenda Sykes in particular seems to be adrift about a hundred nautical miles offshore. We chalk these performances up to a rushed production, but the good news is the action is explosive, so the film isn't a total waste of time. Plus it has Bernie Casey, and we'll watch him in anything. He had a palpable cool that should have been bottled and sold. Black Gunn premiered in the U.S. today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 4 2021
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Maya Hiromi gets Onna roll and just can't stop.


This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Onna kyôshi: Shônen-gari, known in English as Female Teacher: Boy Hunt. Nikkatsu Studios had already made two Female Teacher movies, but they're unreleated. This one did, however, spawn a sequel called Onna Kyoshi: Dotei-gari, or as it's known in English, terrifyingly, Female Teacher: Cherry Boy Hunt. We won't go there. Anyway we queued this up, and our first thought was: Wow, another roman porno film where a woman gets turned on by having her teeth drilled? Well, these movies explored every possible fetish. Having her teeth pried at turns her on so much she starts digging around her mouth herself with a fork. See the second screenshot below.
 
In any case, the sizzling hot Maya Hiromi plays a horny biology teacher who takes advantage of her position to indulge in some sexual extracurriculars. She shaves a student's pubes, gives a classroom lesson pantyless, has a nice little threesome, masturbates in a library, and engages in other activities that would get any teacher outside a roman porno movie arrested and placed on the sexual offender registry. We won't tell you what develops from all Hiromi's crazy academic activity, but trust us—you can expect it to be twisted. In the end Onna kyôshi: Shônen-gari is another Nikkatsu Studios humpfest where eroticism turns to something darker, and the final message—to the extent that it's comprehensible—is dubious at best. Can't recommend this one. Just can't. It premiered in Japan today in 1975.
 
But here's something we can recommend: a nice shot of Hiromi originally published in 1978. Just don't let it make you watch the film. It ain't worth it.
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Modern Pulp Jun 2 2021
TANAKA BREAK
A classic story of koi meets girl.


As we've mentioned before, we rarely share boxcover art, but sometimes we make exceptions. This image is the DVD cover of the 1973 roman porno film Koi no karyudo yokubo, aka Love Hunter: Lust, but in poster form with all the informational text and logos removed. Mari Tanaka is the star, and we have plenty of her in the website, including in amazing images like these two. We'll have more from her later, as well. Koi no karyudo yokubo premiered today in 1973.

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Modern Pulp May 31 2021
HOOKED ON PINKU
It takes a lot of guts to watch these sometimes.


A long while back we put together a collection of posters for bdsm themed Japanese pinku films. Why? Why not. But we hadn't seen the movies. One was called Shojo no harawata, aka Entrails of Virgin, aka Guts of a Virgin, and we came across it recently and figured let's watch this thing. The story concerns a slimy fashion photographer and his equally slimy buddies who take two models to a secluded cabin with the intent to take advantage of them, but are attacked by a hairy monster from the woods who has a massive boner. The film is part of Kazuo Komizu's, aka Gaira's, “splatter-eros” trilogy along with Bijo no harawata, aka Guts of a Beautiful Woman and Gômon kifujin, aka Female Inquisitor. A few of his other directorial credits include Violence porno: Jôkan and Violence porno: Nawa to bôkô. You get the idea.

We try not to make any cultural judgments when we watch these pinkus. There's a line from James M. Cain (you knew we'd work in a pulp author somehow) where one of his characters says of bullfights, “If it was my own country I'd be against it, but when it's somebody else's, I go.” That's how we feel. When something in a pinku flick confuses us or weirds us out, we generally shrug and go, “Not my place to criticize.” And now, of course, we'll criticize. In terms of Japanese erotica, the actresses make noises of pleasure that are indistinguishable—at least to our ears—from noises of pain. Not cool. It's sort of a whining, like this feels soooo good I'm on the verge of tears. That's one reason we don't generally get turned on by pinku movies. While the women are uniformly fantastic, their erotic acting is way off target for us.

The blurred line between pleasure and pain in this movie is liable to do a number on your head. And if it doesn't, the scene where a model masturbates with a severed arm while blowing the monster certainly will. Hope we didn't give too much away there. As far as the entrails aspect, well, the title is provocative, but while there's a virgin, we see no entrails. Thank fucking God. And because sex in pinku movies is mostly implied due to laws against the showing of pubic hair or sex organs, the sexualized violence is largely implied too. It's cleverly implied though. So be forewarned. We can't recommend this movie, but the poster art is so amazing we had to share it. It's signed—see just below—but we were not able to ascertain by whom. Too bad. There's real talent there. More so than in the film. Shojo no harawata premiered in Japan today in 1986.
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Vintage Pulp May 17 2021
PUSSYCAT DOLLS
Who says cats don't like to get wet?


We're back to Japan today, with another Nikkatsu Studios pinku flick, this time Mesunekotachi no yoru, known in English as Night of the Felines. We like cats, so this one should be a slam dunk. It's about three women who work in a sort of massage parlor in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo called Turkish Paradise, where they provide soapy rubdowns and other services to male customers. They manage to get involved in efforts to convert an ostensibly gay youngster named Makoto to heterosexuality. Two items of note here: apparently soapy rubdowns are a thing in Japan; and apparently the filmmakers considered sexuality a strictly a-or-b deal. But whatever, in this all-or-nothing milieu conjured up by writer Akira Nakano and director Noboru Tanaka, men can be converted from totally gay to totally straight, which totally leads to troubles in typical Nikkatsu fashion. The movie is partly comedic in nature, and lurches between laughs—or attempts at generating them, anyway—to surprisingly dark interludes involving voyeurism, suicide, and more. It was interesting, and the gender bending nature of it was different. For us most of its value was in watching the Turkish Paradise felines and their bubbly slippings and slidings. Soapy rubdowns. Who'd have thought? Since we can't visit Turkish Paradise we're going to show the movie to the Pulp Intl. girlfriends and see if they can learn some tricks. Wish us luck. Mesunekotachi no yoru premiered in Japan today in 1972.
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Modern Pulp May 14 2021
FUNNY HAHA
When they gave out maternal instincts Izumi Shima forgot to sign up for her dose.


In Japanese, “haha” means mother, and in Waisetsu kazoku: haha to musume, known in English as Indecent Family: Mother and Daughter, there's a mother who certainly qualifies as funny. Funny as in strange. Mommy dearest is none other than Izumi Shima, one of our favorite pinku actresses, as we've demonstrated numerous times, such as here and here. The idea of her having had a child in this movie defies credulity. She was twenty-nine in it, while Yōko Morimura, who plays her daughter, was at least eighteen. But whatever, it's Nikkatsu roman porno, so you have to go with it.
 
Plotwise, a middle-aged sad sack played by Akira Shioji makes a connection with Morimura while she's dancing at a strip bar called Mississippi Queen, and she comes to live with him. Never let a stripper move in with you. Every man knows that. But not Shioji, apparently. In short order Morimura's mother Shima moves in too. At first Shioji is pretty thrilled with this arrangement, but it isn't long before Shima decides to show him that mothers know things daughters don't. And that, of course, is the beginning of his problems. Since this is a roman porno, we don't have to detail all the things that go on—you know what to expect, and you know things don't often end well.
 
You also know there's usually a leftfield subplot, and in this case it has to do with Shioji's house being coveted by his nephew in order to sell it for hotel development. Or something like that. Doesn't matter, because the plot is just a framing device for nudity and cleverly simulated sex. As we've noted before, it's amazing how raunchy a film can be yet not show very much. Shioji and Morimura's sixty-nine session about halfway through is a case in point. You'll really believe he's getting up in her rump. All very fun, and we were especially happy there was no pee. It's a roman porno staple we can do without. For that reason alone we give Waisetsu kazoku: haha to musume a cautious thumbs up. It premiered in Japan today in 1982.
Mother, homemaker, community activist, and filthy freak. She does it all.

I have a hot young girlfriend for sex, and her mother to clean the house. Life doesn't get much better than this.

I feel like singing! Figaro!

And skipping! Wheeee!

Here, why don't you watch while I sensually undress my passed out mom.

Dang. I never noticed until seeing her half-naked, but she's a total milf.

...zzzzzzz...

Hah! I wasn't passed out at all! I was intentionally letting Shioji perv out.

Now that he realizes I'm hotter than the surface of the sun, I'm going to strip him down to the bone just like this spare rib. Sluuuuurp!

Mom! Quit sucking off that rib! You're embarrassing me!

No, my daughter, I don't believe I shall desist from fellating this juicy rib. I don't believe I shall desist at all.

If you think my foot is nice just wait until you experience the warmer and softer parts of my body.

That trip I took to Akiyoshido Cave last year was so cool. How weird that I should think of that now.

Yup. Fucked his brains right out of his skull. Now back to the rib.

You stole my unattractive and inappropriately old lover, mom. I'm not speaking to you.

Bonus material below: a couple of promo photos of Morimura and Shima.
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Vintage Pulp May 10 2021
WORTH A BUNDLE
Welch proves indispensable to yet another ’60s caper flick.


Above you see a promo poster for 大泥棒, or “Great Thief,” made for the 1968 Raquel Welch/Robert Wagner caper flick The Biggest Bundle of Them All. The U.S. poster was painted by master illustrator Robert McGinnis, but we decided to show you the Japanese art instead because it's rare. There are two more Japanese promos below that are also rare. We'll get to the McGinnis version later. In the film, Wagner and his henchmen kidnap an elderly Italian gangster played by Vittorio De Sica and hold him for ransom. Problem is he has no money. At first they don't believe him, but when it finally becomes clear he's broke, Wagner and Co. try to cut bait. But De Sica is terrified all Italy will find out he couldn't pay his own ransom. His reputation would be ruined. So he convinces his kidnappers to join him in a swindle that will maintain his reputation, make him rich again, and earn the kidnappers more money than they ever imagined. De Sica becomes the boss of his own abductors.

For a crime-comedy, it's an ingenious premise, which makes it a shame it wasn't original. Another movie with an almost identical plot called The Happening was in production at Columbia, and when the studio got wind of The Biggest Bundle of Them All it threatened to sue. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer agreed to give Columbia a cut of Bundle's profits and a legal bloodbath was avoided, but in the same way De Sica's big caper doesn't exactly play out perfectly, Bundle's profits didn't blow the roof off MGM headquarters as planned. And no wonder. It wasn't just the script that wasn't original—the film falls into the same category as continental crime capers like Charade, To Catch a Thief, and Topkapi, and those make for crowded and treacherous cinematic waters. Bundle isn't sophisticated enough, or exciting enough, or infused with enough sexual chemistry to compete with better films of its ilk.

Speaking of sexual chemistry, Welch is naturally the big attraction of any movie she's in, and we've seen enough of her work now to understand that she was more of a persona than an actress during this mid- to late-’60s period. In film after film she basically played herself. Here she smiles and quips and poses, and it's all very Welchian in that groovy way her fans had come to expect—bikinis, lingerie, go-go dancing and all. The movie would be worth far less without her. There are also supporting appearances by Edward G. Robinson and Femi Benussi, while future blaxploitation icon Godfrey Cambridge is one of the kidnappers, so there's plenty for stargazers to enjoy here, but we can't call the movie a success. If you have nothing to do some evening, it might give you a few smiles, but not a bundle of them. After premiering in the U.S. in 1968, The Biggest Bundle of Them All opened in Japan today in 1968.
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Vintage Pulp Apr 28 2021
UNCUT SPEED
It's ride or die on the streets of Kyoto.


Toei Company goes biker culture for Boso sekkusu-zoku, known in English as Hell Riders in Kyoto and Wild Sex Gang, which combines the typical Toei action film with aspects of American b-movies like Easy Rider and The Rebel Rousers. Takashi Shirai is a nihilistic and lawless twenty-something addicted to speed, and especially to motorcycles. When he's caught speeding by police his obsession goes into overdrive, and he decides to buy a 750cc bike that will enable him to outrun even the cops. Tsunehiko Watase is also obsessed with speed. He couldn't afford a bike to satiate his addiction, which is why he became a motorcycle cop. It allowed him to ride the 500cc bike he desired. Now Shirai is outrunning him. The rivalry between these two leads to one-upmanship that spills from the roadway and into other areas of their lives, but just when Shirai seems doomed the beautiful Miki Sugimoto arrives on the scene, and he starts to see that there's some value to life after all. But is it too late? Well, maybe.

Boso sekkusu-zoku is an interesting but not great entry from Toei that, like many crime movies from the ’70s, hinges on the presumption of redeemability. Shirai is lost, and is a danger to all those around him, but with luck and love he could become a good person. Needless to say, this is a retro concept today, in the age of non-forgiveness, and the belief that punishment must be decisive, vengeful, and usually permanent. For that reason it's interesting to watch the filmmakers here weigh Shirai's potential value. And it's also interesting to see how the cop Tsunehiko threatens to be corrupted by his hatred for Shirai. But these themes are not new, and exploring them as perfunctorily as Boso sekkusu-zoku does is a fatal flaw, in our view. More plot, more depth, more stuntwork, and more commitment across the board would have helped immensely. Still, though, it's worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1973.
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Vintage Pulp Apr 23 2021
BELLE DELL'INNOCENZA
She's not quite as innocent as she looks.


This Japanese poster was made for Annie Belle's 1976 erotic romp La fine dell'innocenza, and it makes us wonder: Do erotic stars even exist anymore? We don't mean porn stars. We mean stars of erotic films. Have the reactionaries made them extinct, even on late night cable? Well, if so that's terribly sad, because if one believes cinematic sex and nudity are automatically exploitative (or worse, that all nudity in media derives from coercion), in our opinion that person has led a tragic or sheltered life. Sometimes such movies are exploitative, of course, but oftentimes they're life affirming and fun. Just like regular films, there's a range. La fine dell'innocenza, which was also titled simply Annie, falls somewhere in the middle. It has its exploitative elements, but ultimately is about Belle being far too rare and free a bird to be caged by small-minded men. Once upon a time, but not long ago, women struggled and protested and advocated in order to be free birds sexually, to express their sexuality in any way they saw fit after centuries of repression. La fine dell'innocenza is an artifact of that time period. We talked about it a few years ago, and you can read about it at this link.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 13
1971—First of the Pentagon Papers Are Published
The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense history of the country's political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers reveal that the U.S. had deliberately expanded its war with carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, and that four presidential administrations, from Truman to Johnson, had deliberately misled the public regarding their intentions toward Vietnam.
June 12
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
June 11
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
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