Vintage Pulp Jan 3 2022
TRAFFIC STOPPER
Sugawara gives the red light to wartime slavery.


This blazingly colorful promo poster was made for the action movie Onna dorei-sen, known in English as Female Slave Ship, which is set during World War II and follows the adventures of a navy lieutenant played by Bunta Sugawara. The tale begins with him sent on a secret mission to obtain radar schematics to help salvage Japan's waning war fortunes, but unfortunately his plane is shot full of holes by a squadron of American F4Fs and he ends up in the drink. He's picked up by a Shanghai bound China boat, or slave ship, carrying twelve women meant to be auctioned to a gathering of Epsteins. Eleven of the women are prostitutes, but Rumiko, played by the lovely Utako Mitsuya, was tricked onto the boat. Naturally, she and Sugawara form an instant connection. Can he save her? You can be sure he'll try his best.

But just when you think Female Slave Ship is a straightforward white-knight-saves-damsel tale, the slave ship is attacked by pirates, and the women and Sugawara are suddenly at the mercy of the most ruthless band of unbathed thugs ever to steam the East China Sea. After some onboard drama the vessel lands, not in Shanghai but on a rocky Chinese coast where traffickers plan to brand and sell the women. This obviously can't stand, which means Buntawara must somehow throw sand in the gears. Why he's even alive at this point is a question. He's been nothing but trouble to the pirates, and the simplest solution would have been to toss him to the sharks. Failing to do that will be a costly and contusion making error.

We wanted to get away from Nikkatsu Studios' misogynistic roman pornos for a while and this effort from Shintoho Film fulfilled the requirement. Well, mostly. While generally tame, you'll rarely see so many women slapped around. But the treatment is meant to outrage. Mission accomplished. You will hate these traffickers. As for the movie overall, we suspect you'll like-not-love it. It's done in broad strokes, but as a sort of surf-to-turf soap opera it mostly works fine. Sugawara, who was soon to become a cinematic icon, has a charisma befitting his burgeoning status. And Yôko Mihara, already a big star at this point, is enjoyable playing a slippery slaver whose allegiances shift with the tides. She and Sugawara are worth seeing. Female Slave Ship premiered in Japan today in 1960.
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Vintage Pulp Jul 27 2020
CRAVING SEA FOOD
Count yourself lucky if your girlfriend only gets grumpy when she's hungry.


We never considered the possibility that the bizarre Girl Diver of Spook Mansion wasn't the only weird ama movie made, but we're fast learning that these films—an ama is basically female pearl diver—were used as templates for all sorts of bizarre plots. Above you see two posters for Hitokui ama, which is known in English as Cannibal Ama, or sometimes Underwater Murder, and occasionally Man-Eating Girl Diver. It starred Yoko Mihara, and like her earlier outing in Spook Mansion, is currently unavailable to us. In fact, we don't think the movie has been released on DVD anywhere outside Japan. It's too bad, because the whole cannibal idea has us greatly intrigued, but sadly this is one we'll have to wait for. Hitokui ama premiered in Japan today in 1958.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2019
AMA BELIEVER
Yôko Mihara dives into a family mystery.


This poster was made for the Shintoho Film Co. genre mash-up Ama no bakemono yashiki. What genres were mashed? The English title should answer that for you—Girl Diver of Spook Mansion. Yes, it's a mixture of an ama flick and— Wait, should we define that for you? We've talked about this a lot, but in case you weren't around for those discussions, ama films deal with female divers who scoured Japan's bay bottoms for pearls, abalone, et al, and, according to strict tradition, did so topless. Look here, quickly. So that idea was combined with a ghost story. We gather that the ama genre was so popular that injecting novelty into it was a can't miss proposition. And in fact, most of the reviews we checked were favorable.

The movie is about an ama, played by Yôko Mihara, living in a creepy old house and being haunted by her younger sister's ghost, which nobody else can see. Though others are skeptical at first, Mihara manages to secure help in the form of Bunta Sugawara. Sounds like a winner to us. Hopefully we'll confirm that later, since this film is actually out there to be seen, but at the moment isn't available to us. At least we found this rare poster. There are a couple of scans of it online, but the version above is better quality than those. We also found a few promo images, and they appear below. Ama no bakemono yashiki, aka Girl Diver of Spook Mansion (another aka was Haunted Cave) premiered in Japan today in 1959.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 29
1914—Rasputin Survives Assassination Attempt
Former prostitute Jina Guseva attempts to assassinate Grigori Rasputin in his home town of Pokrovskoye, Siberia by stabbing him in the abdomen. According to reports, Guseva screamed "I have killed the Antichrist!" But Rasputin survived until being famously poisoned, shot, bludgeoned, and drowned in an icy river two years later.
1967—Jayne Mansfield Dies in Car Accident
American actress and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield dies in an automobile accident in Biloxi, Mississippi, when the car in which she is riding slams underneath the rear of a semi. Rumors that Mansfield were decapitated are technically untrue. In reality, her death certificate states that she suffered an avulsion of the cranium and brain, meaning she lost only the top of her head.
June 28
1958—Workers Assemble First Corvette
Workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assemble the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that would become an American icon. The first completed production car rolls off the assembly line two days later, one of just 300 Corvettes made that year.
June 27
1950—U.S. Decides To Fight in Korea
After years of border tensions on the partitioned Korean peninsula, U.S. President Harry Truman orders U.S. air and sea forces to help the South Korean regime repel an invasion by the North. Soon the U.S. is embroiled in a war that lasts until 1953 and results in a million combat dead and at least two million civilian deaths, with no measurable gains for either side.
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