Vintage Pulp Nov 3 2022
NAUGHTY AND NISE
They don't make virgins like they used to.


When Nikkatsu Studios attempted comedy, it may have been uproarious for audiences of the 1970s, but to us it's usually about on the same level as a Pauly Shore movie. But Joshidaisei: Nise shojo, known in English as College Girls: Fake Virgins, is, we have to admit, actually a bit amusing in parts. Or maybe it was just our mood at the time. We aren't going to watch it again to test the theory. When it comes to Nikkatsu, because its films are capable of being so shocking, when you get something pleasant you take your profits and don't look back.

Basically, what you get here is Kenji Simamura as a habitual molester who runs a real estate company. He meets Masumi Jun, Reiko Maki, and Natsuko Kurumi when he feels up Maki on a train, and is stunned when she snaps a pair of cuffs on his roaming hands. She isn't a cop. She just has them around because gropers are apparently a problem on Japanese trains of that time. From this auspicious encounter Sinamuraends up hiring the girls to pose as virgins for three unsuspecting squares who own vast tracts of land he covets. Virginity is—at least as posited by the movie—what all men want. The three land-rich marks are, of course, unattractive klutzes, and not very bright besides, but for all that, it's obvious Simamura's grand scheme won't come off as planned.

The humor in this film is on a pretty basic level, but as we said, there are a few good moments. How can you not be amused when, after that groping on the train, the girls make Simamura buy them lunch—while still handcuffed to Maki? But most of the comedy is lame. Luckily, the movie has its beautiful leads to compensate. Since Jun and Maki star on the poster, we're having them star in the promo images below. Joshidaisei: Nise shojo premiered in Japan today in 1973.
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Vintage Pulp Nov 1 2022
THE REAL MR. T
There are only three sure things: taxes, death, and trouble.


Above is a poster for the drama Trouble Man, a well known movie from the blaxploitation cycle, not least because Marvin Gaye wrote the excellent soundtrack. In fact, a line from his theme song provided our subhead about taxes, death, and trouble. Like his music, unusual talent went into the film. That goes for the direction by Ivan Dixon, the writing, and the acting. All of that is pretty well known. The movie usually makes it onto lists of best blaxploitation movies. But it can also hold its own with most detective movies from outside the genre made during the early seventies, and because blaxploitation had so many cheap, fly-by-night productions, the fact that you don't have to squint beyond many shortcomings to see it as a good movie is something to appreciate.

Robert Hooks plays a Los Angeles badass who everyone calls simply Mr. T. He makes his money as a fixer, taking care of people's troubles for payment. That's where the “T” comes from—T for trouble. Two underworld figures who run craps games come to him because their game nights are being robbed by masked men. For $10,000 T agrees to stop the thieves. Unfortunately, the robbery tale is a set-up. The two underworld guys plan to frame T for murder. The how of it is a bit complicated to explain in a short write-up, but the important detail is why—the planned mark is a top henchman of a rival gangster, and his death will make the rival's territory ripe for a takeover. The plan works, as does the frame, but T doesn't end up in jail or dead, which means he's on the loose to dig for answers.

Hooks had already been a working actor for years by the time he took on the role of Mr. T, and the experience shows. He's far better than the music stars and ex-athletes that often headlined blaxploitation productions (though a few of them were good too). An ace cast is needed because this is the type of film where the audience knows exactly what's going on from the beginning, while T and the cops are in the dark. Without a mystery, the tension is provided by filling the movie with numerous tough guys who don't give an inch. Hooks has more than enough presence to hold his own. Thanks to him and his capable co-stars, including the regal Paula Kelly as his girlfriend, Julius Harris as a top criminal figure, and Vince Howard as Harris's main strongman, Trouble Man delivers the goods. It premiered today in 1972.
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Hollywoodland Oct 28 2022
EXIT LINE
Tell, my agent *cough* that in my next film *gurgle* I want to play the lead.


William Bendix was one of the top character actors of his generation. When you hear the term “character actor,” it means he died a lot and almost never got the girl, but if it's possible to reach the heights of Hollywood by always finishing anywhere from second to last onscreen, Bendix achieved it by appearing in more than sixty films during his career. Above, he makes an early exit from the 1952 adventure Macao. The silver lining is he got to die in Robert Mitchum's arms, for which millions envied him. You can read a bit about Macao here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 27 2022
HOMICIDE SQUAD
There's no reason killing has to be ugly.

We have something fun for you today, a collection of door panel promo posters made by Columbia Pictures for its 1967 cheeseball spy adventure The Ambushers, which was the third of four installments starring Dean Martin as secret agent Matt Helm. The films featured deadly women known as Slaygirls. There were many Slaygirls, but we're reasonably sure only five ever graced these large posters for The Ambushers. That's Penny Brahms above, and below you'll find Marilyn Tindall, unidentified (possibly Karin Feddersen with her hair chopped off), Alena Johnston, and Jan Watson. You can see more from the Slaygirls, including a set of door panel posters made for The Wrecking Crewhere.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 25 2022
FEAR WINDOW
Don't look. Don't move. Don't even breathe.

Here's a U.S. promo for Fritz Lang's film noir The Woman in the Window, which premiered today in 1944. The poster is unattributed, but it's fantastic work. There's normally a white border, but the version you always see online omits that. It's also highly saturated. We don't know if the color was the work of an industrious Photoshop user, but we do like it. However, a version that shows its real age—slightly less vibrant but still very nice—appears below. There are other differences too, such as the color of the figures and some of the lettering.

The Woman in the Window was headlined by star supreme Edward G. Robinson, who we love more with each movie we see. In this one he plays an everyman who gets into a nightmare situation over his head. That would be five feet, five inches for Robinson because he was such a diminutive guy, but the tallest man in the world would still be in deep trouble. You have to watch the movie to find out why, but you can read a little more about it and see a Swedish poster here, and a French poster here.
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Femmes Fatales Oct 24 2022
DEEP SPACE 10
This one might even go to 11.


Above is a fun promo image of Scottish actress Caroline Munro, who's never far from mind because she played the unforgettable Stella Star in the 1978 sci-fi flick Starcrash. It happens to be one of our favorite films, and one of the worst ever made. It's an unbeatable combination. You can read what we wrote about it here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 17 2022
BLACK DON'T SLACK
The man with the ebony gun.

Above is an Italian poster for the 1972 blaxploitation movie Black Gunn, which starred the one and only Jim Brown, along with Brenda Sykes and Martin Landau. In Italy it was titled Pistola nera spara senza pietà, which translates to, “black gun shoots without pity,” a clumsy phrase, but one that fits the movie. There's no release date for Italy, but it probably played there during the summer of 1973. We talked about it last year and shared a Japanese poster built around a photo-illustration, to which the above hand-painted effort serves as interesting contrast. The artist is uncredited.

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Modern Pulp Oct 15 2022
PHILIPPINE STORIES
Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a mandatory look at grindhouse moviemaking during the untamed 1970s.


Machete Maidens Unleashed! is a film we've watched a few times, and whenever a movie racks up multiple viewings we think it needs to be highlighted. It's a fast paced documentary about the wave of low budget exploitation flicks made in the Philippines from the late ’60s through the ’70s. We weren't old enough to see any of them during the actual grindhouse era, but caught them in later years, and one reason we came up with this website was for the opportunity to riff on these types of flicks. Over the last decade-plus we've had the pleasure of writing about entertaining dreck like Savage Sisters, The Big Doll House, Night of the Cobra Woman, and Cleopatra Wong.

Built around interviews with stars such as Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Margaret Markov, Gloria Hendry, and directors/producers like Eddie Romero, Jack Hill, Joe Dante, and Roger Corman, Machete Maidens Unleashed! is an insider's look at a unique era in cinema history. It compellingly juxtaposes snippets of cinematic insanity against clips of the performers involved laughing over the craziness of it all. While the moviesdiscussed often fall into the category of sexploitation, at the time they were also considered an adjunct of the women's liberation movement—a point made by a couple of the actresses interviewed. Coming out of the sexually repressive decades of the fifties and early sixties, nudity was seen as a rebuke to patriarchal control.

Covering productions ranging from 1964's The Walls of Hell to 1979's big budget war flick Apocalypse Now, this is a wide ranging documentary, and by far the most entertaining one on the subject matter we've seen. What with our website's Philippine provenance, and with PSGP having spent a couple of years in Guatemala, another country where life was cheap but fun was unparalleled, this also hit us directly in the nostalgia gland (PSGP feels like the only reason these films weren't made in Guatemala is because everyone actually would have been murdered, instead of just thinking they would).
 
All the interviewees seem to understand that they're from an extinct breed of very brave film performers, making entertainment for audiences ready to see absolutely anything happen. It sometimes seems that modern audiences have forgotten that the filmmaker is not the material, and the actor is not his or her character. The message comes through strongly here that movies are simply make believe. The creators maywant to outrage, or teach, or push censorship envelopes, or illuminate themes that leave audiences enriched in some way, but it's still just a job they perform before going home to their real lives. We wouldn't be surprised if some of the interviewees now feel they'd been traumatized, but during this movie, at least, they shrug off the difficulties of filming—ranging from extreme weather to graphic nudity to military revolt—as obstacles true professionals must navigate.

The title cards of some of these films should be enough by themselves to intrigue you. We have a set below. We've also mixed in some screenshots. We'd love to have uploaded actual production photos, but the films are so low budget those are close to impossible to find. But why look at photos when you can watch the movies? Give it a shot. Quarts of booze are optional. Machete Maidens Unleashed! had its world premiere in Australia in the summer of 2010, and first hit U.S. shores today the same year at the Philadelphia International Film Festival. We've pointed you toward a few Philippine grindhouse flicks above, and you can read about more—there are so many, so please excuse the avalanche of links—here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 14 2022
LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE
Worse than Alcatraz. Tougher than Rikers. It's the prison island of scantily clad women.


This tateken style poster was made to promote the Edo era drama Onna-ro hizu, generally known in English as Island of Horrors. The story centers around Nembutsu Island, a rocky outcropping in the Shiranui Sea used as a prison. It's inhabited by about fifteen coincidentally beautiful female captives and six samurai guards. Nobody calls the island by its real name. It's usually referred to as either the Isle of Women, which sounds kind of fun, or Decapitation Island, which does not. The new warden has been assigned there as punishment for not being tough enough in his other stops—a charge he's eager to disprove, with the help of the slap-happy guards and their baroque tortures. Additionally, the women are terrorized by Omasu the Ripper, your typical sadistic prisoner who subjugates the others in order to curry favor with her captors. And worse still, bubonic plague arrives. So, it's not overstating the situation to say that things are pretty bad on Nembutsu Island.

So how do you get the hell off that godforsaken rock? It isn't easy. The women are aware that sometimes there are pardons or paroles, and that knowledge gives them hope. But what if those lucky recipients sent from the island are not freed, but instead secretly sold into sexual slavery? Not saying that's what going on. But, you know, what if? Of course, there's no way the prisoners could ever find that out unless someone who was supposedly freed returned to the island. Omasu has her own departure plans. She tells the warden she knows where a cache of stolen ryō—gold currency—is hidden, trying to leverage it for freedom. She tries to leverage her body for that purpose too. But in the end, release from Nembutsu Island may come down to simple teamwork, and watching the inmates come to that conclusion makes for a well above average women-in-prison drama, worth a watch for the darkly beautiful cinematography and island visuals, as well as good performances from stars Maya Kitajima, Reiko Kasahara, and Yuki Aresa. Onna-ro hizu premiered in Japan today in 1970.
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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2022
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTAS
Why stop at a little pleasure when more is so much better?


This poster is just a quick u-turn back to the landmark Czech movie Extase, which gave the world eternal star and electronics genius Hedy Kiesler, better known as Hedy Lamar, and treated moviegoers to the first orgasm ever put on the big screen. The poster is from Sweden, where the film was called Extas and opened today in 1933, about nine months after the Czech premiere. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 01
1955—Rosa Parks Sparks Bus Boycott
In the U.S., in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott resulted in a crippling financial deficit for the Montgomery public transit system, because the city's African-American population were the bulk of the system's ridership.
November 30
1936—Crystal Palace Gutted by Fire
In London, the landmark structure Crystal Palace, a 900,000 square foot glass and steel exhibition hall erected in 1851, is destroyed by fire. The Palace had been moved once and fallen into disrepair, and at the time of the fire was not in use. Two water towers survived the blaze, but these were later demolished, leaving no remnants of the original structure.
November 29
1963—Warren Commission Formed
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However the long report that is finally issued does little to settle questions about the assassination, and today surveys show that only a small minority of Americans agree with the Commission's conclusions.
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