Intl. Notebook Aug 1 2023
FERAL CATS
Hiss hiss, bang bang.


The fun pinky violence actioner Nora-neko rokku: Wairudo janbo, aka 
Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo, premiered today in 1970, so we have for you all the promo images were able to find. You see Meiko Kaji, Tatsuya Fuji, Bunjaku Han, Sôichirô Maeno, and others. We wrote in more detail about the movie at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 14 2023
JOYLESS SEX
If you use your imagination you can picture people getting royally screwed.

There are a lot of late-stage sleaze novels from Midwood Books, which went out of business around 1980 (Wikipedia says 1968, but it's wrong). We chose to read Will Rudd's 1978 romp Joy Ride for one reason—the cover features Swedish model Anita Hemmings, aka Annika Salmonsson, who we have upcoming on a rare headshop poster from 1972. Sadly, the book is a poorly written, overly long, raunchy but heatless story about a chump named Pollack whose cross country trip takes many strange turns.

But there is one point of interest: the cast of characters includes a couple named Harry and Meg. Harry is fair-skinned, while Meg is a “little lighter than her hair,” which is “tan and long.” Weird, right? They don't otherwise bear any resemblance to the royal couple, but still, you get unprompted visuals to accompany moments like: Meg, who'd opened her eyes and was beholding the world through semen-smeared glasses, felt Harry's cock swell gallantly in her mouth. It was worth a chuckle, but don't let it lure you. The book is really, really horrible. 

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Modern Pulp May 31 2023
HER UPTOWN WORLD
Just because she's high class doesn't mean she can't get down.


This lovely poster was made for the roman porno movie Yamanote fujin: Seiai no hibi, known in English as Uptown Lady: Days of Eros, and the star is the incomparable Izumi Shima, centerpiece of at least three dozen films for Nikkatsu Studios in a mere four years from 1977 to 1981. Here she plays the young wife of an old, blind classical dance teacher, and becomes the focus of romantic feelings from her husband's son from an earlier marriage. The two are around the same age, which is probably one reason Shima begins to have feelings too, though it's oh so very wrong. Would it be incest to boink your son-in-law? We don't know the legal ramifications, but it would certainly be a case of bad judgment. This exact type of bad judgment is of course standard territory for Nikkatsu, but under the direction of Masaru Konuma Seiai no hibi is gentler and more poetic than the usual fare. After seeing Shima receive forced enemas in other roman pornos this was a nice change.

Shima eventually gives in to her son-in-law in a hot and sweaty/oily sequence. The encounter features a sixty-nine and some pretty concentrated nipple licking by Shima that sent a ripple through our innards. Some guys don't like their nipples licked, but we think they're crazy. In our view, the nipples are a required pitstop on any excursion along the body, whatever the ultimate destination. Shima and her son-in-law have a second encounter, also of the wet and shiny variety, this time in a red-lit room, and once more it's a well shot and stimulating scene. But it's here that we must issue our standard warning to novices that roman porno is not porno—the appellation stands for “romantic porno,” and the movies are softcore, with no genitalia displayed. In order to find them stimulating, you have to use your imagination. That might be a problem for anyone under age thirty.

Anyway, for Shima's husband to not know something's going on he'd have to be blind—doh! rimshot! Read the premise again. He's a blind dance teacher. You know that cliché about the blind compensating with their other senses to the extent that they don't miss their vision at all? This movie hews to that concept. However, Shima's hubby is circumspect in marriage, if domineering as a teacher, so he doesn't let on that he knows—at first. Since Shima is not just his wife but also his star student, she has her career as a future natori to consider, and he knows that. How it eventually concludes we'll leave for you to discover on your own. We can tell you that serious roman porno enthusiasts tend to find this movie too sedate, but the less bizarre approach worked great for us. Of course, anything with Shima works great for us. Yamanote fujin: Seiai no hibi premiered in Japan today in 1980.
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Vintage Pulp Feb 16 2023
A SIGH IS JUST A SIGH
The fundamental things apply whenever Hitomi comes by.


Yes, we just saw Hitomi Kozue last week, and here she's popped up again in the 1974 sexploitation flick Zoku tameiki, which translates as “continuous sigh,” but was called in English Sigh 2. And indeed, the movie is positioned as follow-up to 1973's Tameiki, aka Sigh, though that film starred Yumiko Tateno. In this one, Hitomi plays an office worker who's willing but frightened to lose her virginity and manages to get tangled up with her mother's ex-lover. It's Nikkatsu Studios once again exploring unlikely sexual dilemmas, with the usual array of pervs, stalkers, and aggressors dragging down the film's erotic aspirations. That doesn't mean there aren't a few stirring scenes. We rather enjoyed when Hitomi checked out her pieces-parts with a hand mirror.

Some reviews of Zoku tameiki say it's about intergenerational issues. Well, sure, they're in there. Issues will arise when daughter and mother bed the same guy, and there are suggestions of daddy issues in Hitomi's fears about embarking upon sexual life, but we're not buying this as any kind of deep rumination, intergenerational or otherwise. What it is, when you boil it down, is a standard roman porno flick that makes less-than-adequate use of Hitomi Kozue's presence. As always, she does fine in her role, is amazingly beautiful, and is convincing as a shy girl, but we were unmoved by the script and nonplussed by several comic interludes. The movie isn't bad. It's merely that its only true asset is the radiant Kozue. For some viewers, us included, that's enough, but the filmmakers should have done a bit better. Zoku tameiki premiered in Japan today in 1974.
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Vintage Pulp Feb 13 2023
DRINKS ON HER
You'll love this. It's called a body shot and it makes American girls squeal with delight.

Some things never go out of style. We don't mean body shots. We mean covers by the French artist Jacques Thibésart, aka Nik. He painted the above example for the 1953 crime comic Cette fille est sans pitié! No author is listed on the front, but it was written by George Maxwell, aka Georges Esposito, for Presses Mondiales and its series Les grands romans dessinés. We have a fair amount of Thibésart in the website. Two of his better efforts are here and here.

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Femmes Fatales Feb 11 2023
SUN GODDESS
Hitomi hits the coast for a private holiday.


Here during the depths of winter (for those of you that experience winter) we thought we'd give you the hottest images we could find to stir your blood. Above are a few looks at Japanese actress Hitomi Kozue, who, according to a bit of accompanying text we didn't bother to show, is enjoying a rare sunny day during the 1974 tsuya, or East Asian rainy season. Hitomi is the star of such films as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, Sex-Crime Coast: School of PiranhaTrue Story of a Woman Condemned, and its sequel, and you may remember we promised we'd return to her after sharing an image last year from this same photo session.

Based on what we've seen Hitomi seems to have been the boldest Japanese cinema star of the ’70s when it came to her promo images. These are nicely conceived and composed, tasteful, yet audacious and visceral. Some cultures, including the U.S., have regressed to the point where almost any nudity is now shocking, but eroticism has always been a valid art form, and it will thrive again once people remember that bodies forced under wraps are exactly what previous generations fought so hard against in order to wrest free expression from external control. Hitomi is uncontrollably beautiful.

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Modern Pulp Jan 23 2023
SCENES FROM AN OFFICE
The lady is a tramp, and the director is a scamp.

Junko Mabuki is back on Pulp Intl., as you see on this poster for the roman porno movie Dan Oniroku OL nawa dorei, known in English as Office Lady Rope Slave. It premiered in Japan today in 1981, and basically, Junko plays a straight-laced nine-to-fiver who gets involved with a pair of bondage fetishists. These types of films were, of course, her specialty, and she once again gives viewers everything they'd become accustomed to seeing. But we're less interested in the plot of the movie than the reaction at Japan's censorship board Eiga Rinri Kikō. Adherence to its restrictions was ostensibly voluntary on the part of film studios, but the body had real enforcement power. Dan Oniroku OL nawa dorei must have shaken the place to its foundations.

Let's set the scene. One of the censors has shown up at the Eiga Rinri Kikō office for an emergency meeting with the board chief. He and the other members of the body are proud of themselves for their work, which basically just hews to Japanese obscenity standards by forbidding shots of sex organs and pubic hair. But they never really thought it out from the perspective of directors determined to skirt the edges, which suddenly is happening with increasing frequency. Now at least one censor is in a tizzy. He'd be even more agitated if he knew digital technology would make roman porno films globally available, and thus decades later raise uncomfortable questions about Japanese culture and misogyny, but at this point he has no clue about that.

Censor: I'm beginning to think our censorship regime has backfired. I just screened Dan Oniroku OL nawa dorei and that fucker Katushiko shows dripping semen.

Chief: We didn't ban that?

Censor: No. We overlooked it.

Chief: Well, what's a little semen?

Censor: It's dripping from Mabuki Junko's mouth. He also shows vaginal juices, vaginal blood, and strongly implies that Mabuki-kun gets her clitoris clothes-pinned.

Chief: Hmm... that does sound provocative.

Censor: I watched it twice just to be sure of my eyes. It's depraved. Additionally, there's all the usual bondage, some bizarre insertions, an enema, oral sex both heterosexual and lesbian...

Chief: All this without violating a single one of our rules?

Censor: Nothing is actually shown. It seems quite revealing, though, because, well, Mabuki-kun is a very good actress. Great boobs too.

Chief: Agreed. Mabuki-kun has excellent boobs.

Censor: But in general, it feels like these roman porno directors are ridiculing our censorship standards. There's even a moment—I swear—when I felt like the actors looked directly at me and sneered.

Chief: Now you're being paranoid. Regarding the standards, we could change them, make them more restrictive, but it's hell keeping Nikkatsu and the other studios in line already. Any alteration now may cause serious problems.

Censor: *sigh* But the semen...

Chief: What's a little semen? So, that screener is VHS?

Censor: Betamax. It's a better format. Soon everything will be Betamax. I have it with me.

Chief: I better check it out—just to confirm your findings. Leave it by the Beta player over there, and close the door on your way out. Also, tell my secretary I'm not to be disturbed for ninety minutes.

Okay, a scornful look for the censorship board on one... two... and now!

At first I thought this was a citrus reamer, but now I'm not sure.

How the hell do you expect me to flush this way?

I'll help him. I've been hiding in the shower the whole time.

I have to take a short break. There's an office pool on my chair.

We'll all have what she's having!

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Vintage Pulp Dec 28 2022
WET CONDITIONS
Slippery pavement ahead. High accident risk. Proceed in low gear.


Above is a poster for Sex rider: Nureta highway, or alternatively Sex Rider: Wet Highway, starring Mari Tanaka as a woman about to be married who succumbs to a case of cold feet and flees her impending nuptials. Her escape gets off to a bad start when she hits a guy with her car. He's not seriously hurt, but seeing a chance to possibly profit, pretends to be gravely injured. Tanaka, no doctor she, mistakes his fake unconsciousness for death and decides to dispose of the body. Reality gets a little bent from that point, as the film descends into a dreamlike state and we poor confused viewers aren't actually sure if the guy is dead. In any case, Tanaka dumps the body in a lake, but is seen doing it by a nearby hunter, and is sexually assaulted by this witness. At that point the dead/not dead man reappears to defend her, claiming, “I'm the ghost of the guy you hit.” Okay.

That's all we'll do on the plot. We want to note that Nikkatsu Studios, undeniably, had an obsession with rape. Their movies are very against the grain nowadays (and were back then too, we suspect, or at least hope), but we think there's value in looking at them objectively. Modern art is always a momentary endpoint and has to be understood with its evolution in mind. That's why we don't judge these sometimes disturbing films too harshly. The 1970s were a time of cinematic exploration and it was coupled with a new sexual freedom wherein merely to shock with nudity was usually considered a nudge toward more liberation. As we understand it, many feminists back then were pro-nudity. It was a flip-off to a patriarchy that had stifled women for centuries.

But when VHS and the porn explosion came along the winds shifted. Billions were made selling women's bodies and women made virtually nothing. Digital tech, which arrived to stick nudity and sex in the faces of people who hadn't even asked to see it, was the final straw. Today, many people see any female nudity as exploitative, and rail against any depiction of violence against women as implicit endorsement of the same. It's understandable. We all have our own red lines. Everybody's upsettable. Even the people who claim to be hard-as-nails free expression absolutists. Don't believe it? Tell one of them you think belief in a god is childish, or you're tired of veneration of the armed forces, and see how that goes. Everyone is upsettable.

Japan was a more patriarchal society than many leading up to the roman porno period, so the push toward sexualization was quite strong there. Though cinematic censorship against frontal nudity and sex acts was firm, such prohibitions merely made Japanese filmmakers creative. It's incredible how shocking a roman porno movie can be without showing a wisp of pubic hair. The rape obsession is just one example. There was also a focus on bodily functions, submission, and more. Despite those shocks, we feel like roman porno films differ only in number—rather than content—from what was being produced in the West during the same period. In the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, et al, the 1970 to 1980 timeframe was likewise characterized by an exploration of themes that today are considered taboo.

We love foreign films, and upon exploring Japanese cinema, we progressed from post-war dramas, to samurai and martial arts epics, to counterculture pinky violence films, and thence to roman porno. Ultimately, poster art is one of the linchpins of our site, and roman porno films have great posters, which is the main reason we talk about them so much. We could just share the posters and stop there, but that usually feels inadequate for people who take film as seriously as we (and hopefully you) do. So we watch the movies, but sometimes wonder if we've learned all we can from the genre and maybe should call it quits and move on. But for now we'll keep exploring films such as Sex rider: Nureta highway. In the end, we have to give it credit—at least it tried to be different. But it also should have tried to be better. It premiered in Japan today in 1971.
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Femmes Fatales Dec 21 2022
CAN'T BE TOPPED
For that matter she can barely be bottomed.


Japanese actress Izumi Shima strikes a nice seaside pose in a 1978 issue of the men's magazine Weekly Playboy. In text we've cropped out, the image mentions two of her upcoming movies—Kyoshi mejika, aka Teacher Deer, and Danchizuma: Futari dake no yoru, aka Apartment Wife: Night by Ourselves, and gives a mailing address for fans to write “love letters” to her at Nikkatsu Studios in Tokyo. The mail must have arrived by the cartload. We have more Shima shots from this session that we'll share later. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2022
SCHLOCK THERAPY
Had a horrible trauma? Leading roman porno filmmakers say another one should fix you right up.


This flowery promo poster was made for the roman porno flick Kashin no sasoi, aka Call of the Pistil, or sometimes Temptation of the Pistil, which premiered in Japan today in 1971. The movie opens with a cool credit sequence, which you can see in the screenshots below. After that's done, you get a story about a reporter played by Keiko Maki who's traumatized by a sexual assault and whose doctor decides—this is so typical of roman porno cinema—that only by reenacting the event can she be cured.

Her older brother and boyfriend take charge of setting up these scenarios, and the experimental treatments backfire. Big shock. Later they learn that there's more to Maki's mental state than suspected, and that it has to do with her previous investigations and a conspiracy dealing with the U.S. military, and specifically with black GIs. Therefore—again, so typical—brother and boyfriend find a black GI (Peter Golden in a thankless role, his sole film appearance ever) to attack Maki.
 
Of course, as a roman porno—i.e "romantic" porno—there's no sex or frontal nudity shown during any of this, but it's still disturbing. All this supposed therapy is basically the equivalent of screaming, “BOO!” at someone who's previously suffered a terrible fright. If we make the movie sound a bit dumb, well, it really is. But it's certainly well shot, as all these roman pornos are, but even good production values and decent performances can't put this tale across. It's just too mean-spirited to work. “It was all a bad dream,” Maki's boyfriend says to her in the end. If only life really worked that way.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 23
1984—Miss America Resigns
Vanessa Williams, who had been crowned Miss America and was the first African American woman to win the prize, resigns her title after Penthouse magazine purchases and slates for publication a series of lesbian-themed nudes Williams had posed for when she was younger. After resigning she files a $500 million lawsuit against Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione but later drops the suit.
July 22
1992—Cocaine Baron Escapes Prison
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, imprisoned leader of the Medellin drug cartel, escapes from a posh Colombian jail known as La Catedral after he learns authorities intend to move him to a real prison. His taste of freedom doesn't last—he's killed in a shootout a year-and-a-half later.
July 21
1925—Jury Decides the Teaching of Evolution Is a Crime
In the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, American schoolteacher John Scopes is found guilty of violating the Butler Act, which forbids the teaching of evolution in schools. The sensational trial pits two great legal minds—William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow—against each other. Ultimately, Scopes and Darrow are destined to lose because the case rests on whether Scopes had violated the Act, not whether evolution is fact.
1969—First Humans Reach the Moon
Neil Armstrong and Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. become the first humans to walk on the moon. The third member of the mission, command module Pilot Michael Collins, remains in orbit in Apollo 11.
1972—Chaos in the Big Apple
In New York City, within a span of twenty-four hours, fifty-seven murders are committed.
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