She's just a hunka hunka burning love.
Hijinks at a girls school was a standard trope for Japanese filmmakers, so at the sight of the first school uniform in Yumeno Kyûsaku no shôjo jigoku you'll know what to expect. Known in English as Yumeno Kyusaku's Girl Hell, and Raging Hell Fires, this one, which premiered in Japan today in 1977, falls into the sub-category: upstanding-schoolmaster-who's-not-what-he-seems. It's an adaptation of Kyusaku Yumeno's novel Shojo Jigoku, and features Asami Ogawa as a school misfit and Yûko Asuka as a rich girl, who both learn that the principal Masakazu Kuwayama is a rapey old pervert, and decide to take revenge on him. Without getting too deeply into his misdeeds, we can assure you the man deserves to be punished. For that matter, Ogawa's father is a strange bird too. He and the principal know each other better than their rigidly formal attitudes suggest. After a tragedy strikes, the principal becomes convinced he's being haunted thanks to a curse having to do with a chunk of incinerated brain. How did the movie get all the way to brain briquettes? It's better if you don't know in advance. Overall Yumeno Kyûsaku no shôjo jigoku is interesting. Ogawa in particular gives a very game performance. Is the movie recommendable? Perhaps not quite. But there are worse expenditures of ninety minutes.
Sometimes you can't even give it away.
This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Kanjirundesu, known in English as I Am Aroused and I Can Feel It, and it stars the lovely Jun Izumi, making her film debut. She plays a beautiful young virgin who's fearful of sex. Her friend Panko is already sexually active, but Jun—who's learning how to be a seamstress or tailor at a local vocational school, a fact that causes us to assume she's at least eighteen—is strictly hands off. We can sympathize. We were hands off at eighteen too, though most assuredly not by choice.
When Jun catches her brother Chin masturbating to her, she decides to facilitate the relief of his tensions by asking the always eager Panko to have sex with him. From there the movie evolves into a sort of softcore coming-of-age comedy, with the usual crossed signals and sexual failures. The whole thing has a juvenile feel to it, and no wonder—it's based on Daihachi Izumi's youth sleaze novel Jun-chan. If you're looking for the film's western analog, think Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Sex Drive. We mean in terms of mood, not plot. Kanjirundesu has more nudity, lesbian undertones, and far more premature ejaculation.
Does Jun finally find someone to be the first entry on her ledger? Well, it wouldn't be a softcore movie if she didn't. A little face-sitting—someone else's face, not hers—gets her started down the road to pleasure. That may sound weird, but actually the best thing about this movie is that it's from Nikkatsu Studios but doesn't get too crazy. There's some peeing, though. Whaddaya gonna do? If you've read our other write-ups of Nikkatsu's output you know how far beyond the pale those folks could venture, so a little urine is acceptable. Kanjirundesu is dumb but worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.
These sisters do everything together—including men.
This unusual poster was made to promote the Nikkatsu Studios roman porno flick Yogisha no Onna, starring Mari Tanaka, one of hardest working women on Nikkatsu's roster. She made eighteen films from 1971 to ’73, streaking like a comet across the sexploitation firmament. In Yogisha no Onna she stars as an obviously disturbed woman living with her sister Keiko Tsuzuki in a big, Western style house with their invalid father. The sisters have a love-hate relationship. The love: they share baths. The hate: they share a man. The latter occurs after their father finds Tsuzuki what he thinks is a suitable fiancée, jealousy results, and Tanaka decides that what's good for the sis is good for the sibling. Where does it all lead? If you want the answer you'll have to find out for yourself. We'll just say that as a somewhat early film from the roman porno cycle, Yogisha no Onna is neither unbearably weird nor unconscionably misogynistic, though it's not exactly a portrait of normal social adjustment either. It's possible serious fans of the genre will find the movie too tame, but personally, considering where some of the subsequent roman pornos went, tame was just fine with us. Yogisha no Onna premiered in Japan today in 1972.
You can attain enlightenment through years of mental discipline, rigid study, and incessant ritual. Or you can just get properly laid once.
Above you see a poster for Yakuza kannon: Iro Jingi, known in English as Yakuza Justice: Erotic Code of Honor, and to dive right into this one, the movie starts bizarrely when a fisherman hooks the corpse of a drowned woman. She died pregnant, and defying all scientific laws, the fisherman delivers the child, though a cadaver obviously can't produce the labor contractions needed to push a baby out. But perhaps there's something mystical at work.
The infant grows into handsome Jirô Okazaki, who has been indoctrinated into monkdom and lives and works on the grounds of a vast temple complex. Onto those grounds one day comes Nozomi Yasuda, who is the daughter of a yakuza boss, and is promised to another yakuza boss. But she's broken the engagement, and when her erstwhile fiancée sends men to kidnap her the attempted snatch happens right in front of Okazaki. Boy saves girl, and sparks fly.
Okazaki's days had been filled by the typical meditation and drudgery of monks, but dealing with the slick yakuza and getting some sweet, sweet Yasuda lovin' changes him to the point where he soon sees the world through a modern, violent, sexual lens. He says at one point (speaking about himself in third person, which we guess monks do): “Seigen has had a taste of earthly life—starting with the tip of his cock.” The eloquence of the man is stunning.
The tale then takes a circular route that explains how Okazaki's mother ended up dead in that river in the first place. It's a stretch, but when it comes to Japanese films from this era that was their stock-in-trade. Okazaki continues down a dark path and eventually risks losing himself. Or finding himself, if you believe this is always who he was under his monk's robes. Birth or rebirth—in either case, Yakuza kannon: Iro Jingi is a pretty interesting story of transformation. It premiered today in 1973.
You'll really believe a girl boss can fly.
Above: an alternate poster for Document porno: Shin sukeban, which is a roman porno flick from Nikkatsu Studios that in English was called Semi Documentary: Truly High School Girl Boss. It premiered in Japan today in 1973. The poster is worth sharing mainly because it features a different—and more modest—martial arts kick than on the tateken promo we showed you before. What do we mean by more modest? Look here and find out.
A classic case of accessory before the act.
We were enticed to watch the film Wakazuma ga nureru toki, aka When a Young Wife Gets Wet for two reasons: Izumi. Shima. We consider her to be among the most beautiful of stars from the late 1970s early 1980s, and we had to find out why she was on the above poster sporting a dimestore wig and grease pencil mole. We should have seen it coming, considering she features two distinct looks here, but what you get is Shima as a woman who lives a double life. In one she's a housewife and in the other—as if you couldn't guess—she's a prostitute.
The movie has a plot we suspect only male filmmakers could come up with. Shima suffers a rape before her marriage, though justice of a sort is later applied, and afterward she seems to lead a happily wedded life. But nobody knows that she also haunts the alleys of Yokohama's red light district to repeatedly relive her degradation. Obviously, she needs to keep this second life secret, and when threatened we find that she'll do anything to avoid exposure. We do mean anything.
The movie, which came from Nikkatsu Studios and is part of its roman porno cycle, is more atmospheric than most from the genre. It's quite dark in parts—visually we mean—with a nervous jazz score that brings to mind the 2014 hit Birdman. The nice accompaniment helps, but the plot treads the same old territory, with screenwriter Masayasu Ôebara exploring the madonna-whore complex on behalf of the audience. In the end Wakazuma ga nureru toki is memorable only because it stars the radiant Shima. It premiered in Japan today in 1978.
Of all the different types of queens, I had to be the damn queen of S&M.
Maybe Junko Mabuki wasn't the queen of Nikkatsu Pictures' roman porno cycle, but she was certainly one of its major figures, and oh, the ordeals she went through in her fifteen films. This poster that has her looking like she somehow got stuck inside Batman's mask was made for Dan Oniroku hakui nawa jigoku, known in English as White Uniform in Rope Hell and—unfortunately—All Women Are Whores. We couldn't locate the movie, which caused us to breathe a sigh of relief. But if you want to know what Mabuki was all about, cinematically speaking, the films of hers we have watched include (English titles only) Female Teacher: Rope Hell, Female Beautician Rope Discipline, Secretary Rope Discipline, and Blazing Bondage Lady. Those titles should answer any questions. We also watched her in Hell of Roses, which, while its title seems to suggest a thematic and tonal change from Mabuki's usual fare, is also about ropes. Dan Oniroku hakui nawa jigoku premiered in Japan today in 1980.
They call her Marii—Daati Marii.
Above is a promotional poster in tatekan size for Sukeban Deka: daati Marii, which premiered in Japan today in 1974 and was known in English as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary. Obviously, the character is based on Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, and the name is phonetically spelled to assist Japanese pronunciation. Way back when we first talked about this flick we were able to watch it free online, but that boat has since sailed over the horizon. Now you'll have to watch it on Amazon Japan, which probably doesn't do you much good unless you speak Japanese. We wish we'd taken a few screenshots from the movie back then, but we were in a hurry that day. It's certainly worth a watch, should the opportunity arise. You can read a bit more about it here. As a bonus, we have some Kozue promo images below. Typically, she made nude photos, and indeed, we've already posted many and have others that are flat-out unbelievable which we'll share later. But today we wanted to show her in casual mode. You see her below, hanging out in Tokyo's Omiya Park.
Tanaka and company roll the dice and all kinds of craps happen.
This poster was made to promote the samurai actioner Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi, known in English internationally as The Naked Seven, starring the wonderful Mari Tanaka, along with Michiyo Mako, Yuri Yamashina, and others. Tanaka plays Eno, leader of a gang of seven female bandits roaming the countryside of Edo era Japan ambushing and stealing to survive. Tanaka hooks up with a samurai and helps him rob 120 rifles from a powerful warlord, at which point she and her bandit cohort are blamed. Realizing they're in the very deepest shit, they head for the hills with the warlord's bad men—one of whom is indescribably worse than the rest—in hot pursuit. Tanaka has a sanctuary in mind, but ultimately she and her gang of deadlies may have to make a final stand with those rifles.
We assumed The Naked Seven was a samurai actioner, and it is, sort of, but genetically it's really a roman porno. The movie's alternate English title (which we didn't know until afterward) gives it away: Civil War Rock: Hurricane Girls! The Japanese word “sengoku,” from the film's official title, refers to the Sengoku Era in Japan, a time of violent upheaval also known as the Warring States Period, so the civil war reference in the alternate English title makes sense. Plus director Yasuharu Hasebe would make a string of roman porno flicks in the next several years, including Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary and Maruhi honeymoon: Boko ressha, which, terrifyingly, is aka Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train. Even without knowing all that, the roman porno thought process behind The Naked Seven became clear as the pursuit unfolded in occasionally shocking fashion.
We thought we'd jettisoned roman pornos after the last effort we watched, but that Naked Seven title fooled us. It's obviously a play on The Magnificent Seven—but naked!—and yup, unclothed debauchery fit for a Game of Thrones episode abounds. There's also a sequence in which Tanaka's entire gang is waylaid bathing in a stream and have to flee bare-assed into the woods. They escape, though it's logistically unlikely. Similarly, roman porno chased us and caught us unawares, metaphorically naked in a streaming. Escape from our waylaying was as logistically easy as pressing stop, but we forged ahead until the end, and we did it for you. Here's the upshot. The period setting helps set the movie apart, so we consider it a passable effort from Nikkatsu Studios. Thankfully, it's not as shocking as some roman pornos, but proceed carefully—there are still scary things in the woods. Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi premiered in Japan today in 1972.
Sekkusu and you shall find.
The above poster was made to promote the Japanese roman porno flick Sekkusu hantâ: Sei kariudo, aka Sex Hunter, and we should note, as we do periodically, that roman porno films are not porn, but imaginative softcore excursions made by very twisted minds. Proving once again that it's amazing what you can imply when frontal nudity is illegal, here you get a tale about an aspiring ballerina (played by pouty Ayako Ôta in her cinematic debut) and her teacher (Erina Miyai looking her very best) who descend into a bizarre bondage odyssey notable for the fact that most taboos you can imagine are shattered, starting with rape and kinbaku-bi, and ending with handicapped sex and incest. In between you get bottle penetrations, a snowballing, an orgy on swings, and other sexual variations. There's a plot, but not one we'll bother to outline, because it's just a framework for one hundred and seven minutes of determined attempts to shock. Even the magical Miyai can't save this one. Sekkusu hantâ: Sei kariudo premiered in Japan today in 1980. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
1910—Duke of York's Cinema Opens
The Duke of York's Cinema opens in Brighton, England, on the site of an old brewery. It is still operating today, mainly as a venue for art films, and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.
1975—Gerald Ford Assassination Attempt
Sara Jane Moore, an FBI informant who had been evaluated and deemed harmless by the U.S. Secret Service, tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford. Moore fires one shot at Ford that misses, then is wrestled to the ground by a bystander named Oliver Sipple.
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