Vintage Pulp Aug 15 2018
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Ahoy there, miss! Do you mind if we pull abreast?


At top, a poster for the Hitomi Kozue roman porno flick Nikutai hanzai kaigan: Piranha no mure, aka Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha. In this one Kozue rises out of the sea like Aphrodite, which is how we always suspected she came to be. Well, okay, she isn't actually a deity. Instead she plays an all-too-mortal gangster girl who falls for a gangster boy in the seaside region of Shōnan, along Sagami Bay. But romance is never easy in these films, and a love triangle soon brings jealousy and violence to the idyllic sands of central Japan. It's Nikkatsu Studios, and it's roman porno, so you know exactly what you'll get here. It premiered in Japan today in 1973.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 20 2013
MIDAS CARESS
Her touch turned a fish into a pile of money.

Above is a poster for a Japanese film called Caress with Poison. It starred Hisako Tsukuba, who made nearly fifty films beginning in 1957 and recorded some music before becoming Chako van Leeuwen and shifting into movie production in the U.S. She’s put together eight movies as a producer, but her prized property is the Piranha franchise. You know the ones—Piranha, Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, Piranha 3D, Piranha 3DD. Our kind of producer, especially since she apprenticed under none other than Roger Corman. Her first Piranha movie was made in 1978 for $800,000 and grossed $30 million worldwide. Hah hah—who’s smirking now? Piranha launched the careers of Joe Dante and John Sayles, and the sequel was James Cameron’s first turn behind the camera. Clearly, van Leeuwen knows how to make low budget films. True, she’s no Jeffrey Bloom, but she possesses a similar genius. Caress with Poison premiered in Japan this month in 1963. 
 
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Vintage Pulp Jan 7 2011
ONE HITOMI WONDER
Hitomi Kozue only acted in films for five years, but used her talent and beauty to make a major impact.

Above is a vintage Japanese poster for the 1976 roman porno flick Boko!, or Assault!, with Hitomi Kozue, a major star during her time about whom there’s a serious dearth of information on the web today. Kozue began her career modeling in Tokyo in the early seventies, and was soon making appearances on late night television. In 1972 Nikkatsu Studios cast her in Showa onnamichi: Rashomon, or Naked Rashomon. The film was a hit and for the next five years Kozue was one of the company’s most bankable stars, fusing sex and violence in pinku and roman porno productions like Onna kyöshi: shiseikatsu (Female Teacher: Private Life), Nikutai hanzai kaigan: piranha no mure (Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha), and Bankaku joshikökösei no sex to böryoku no jittai (True Story of Sex and Violence in a Female High School).

As we’ve pointed out before, roman porno flicks weren’t actual porn—the term was short for “romantic porno”, and the productions were artfully shot, non-explicit erotica. The genre’s modesty had to do with a nationwide prohibition on showing pubic hair rather than an aesthetic choice by Nikkatsu, but the results were often visually ingenious. Kozue expanded her repertoire into music, releasing a single in 1976, and—like her contemporaries Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Yayoi Watanabe and others—constantly stoked her fans’ libidos with tasteful nude photos and posters.

You see two of those images below, courtesy of the blog Woman Becomes the Picture (and of course we’ve posted our own never-seen-before images of pinku stars over the last two years, as well). In all, Kozue made about twenty-five films, leaving the business in 1977 at the height of her fame to become a wife and mother. But even though her time in film was all too brief, she left behind a sizable body of work, one  we’ll be exploring, along with those of other pinku stars, as this year moves forward. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
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