Vintage Pulp Nov 3 2019
PARTY OF FIVE
When the going gets tough the smart leave town.


You see what we mean about roman porno posters? How can we not share something this pretty? And if we share the poster we have to watch the movie, at least to have an idea what the art is about. And the movies? Well, they've been a years-long exploration into some deep dark places. Other people's, not ours. This poster was made to promote Pinku saron: Kôshoku gonin onna, aka Pink Salon: Five Lewd Women, which premiered in Japan today in 1978. You've noticed by now that many of these films were based on novels. It wasn't just cinema that was delving into challenging themes during the ’70s. But this, surprisingly, is based on a work of anthological fiction written by Saikaku Ihara in 1686, during Japan's Edo period.

Broadly speaking the plot deals with the struggles of five women—Kyôko Aoyama, Erina Miyai, Eiko Matsuda, Machiko Ohtani, and Miyako Yamaguchi—who work in Tokyo's strip clubs, or pink salons. Obviously, the stories in Ihara's source material have been moved forward three centuries to the grey, concrete Tokyo you see in so many Japanese films from the ’70s. These pink salon workers aren't satisfied with their lives, and what develops is a sort of counterculture road trip film, as they and a few male companions drive from Tokyo to Otoko in a graffiti covered microbus. Do they find a better place in the world? You'll have to watch the movie yourself. But you can be certain that, as in most cinema about misfit dreamers and restless outcasts, the odds are against them and the errors of the past are not far behind.

Pink Saron has sex but no fetish, and violence but little gore, so we wonder if the age of the source material has anything to do with that. Nikkatsu Studios usually pushed its roman porno movies beyond the far edge of good taste, but not this time, and it was rewarded for its restraint. Pink Saron won Noboru Tanaka a Japan Academy Film Prize for best director—the first time a roman porno film had been thus honored. Yes, this movie is something a little different. We'd like to say it's appropriate for those seeking an entry point into the genre, but it's so different from most it would only mislead you. And next thing you know you'll find yourself watching women chained up in dungeons. So consider this a stand alone film. A pretty good one.

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Femmes Fatales Nov 2 2019
BOUND AND DETERMINED
Seems like she always gets roped into these situations.

Izumi Shima seems too ethereally beautiful to be an icon of ’80s roman porno flicks, yet that's what she is. She was popular in those roles partly because she looks innocent, and innocence corrupted is a standard theme in the genre. We've talked about her often, so just click her keywords to find more. This photo of her dates from 1983.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 27 2019
BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS
If you're looking for a tale with a happy ending look somewhere else.


We're doing a pinku double-dip today because life is short and the shit we want to post keeps piling up. Even at an increased rate it'll take another ten years to get this stuff uploaded. Will websites as we understand them even exist then? Will blogs exist? We've already read that blogging is dead. Multiple times. Well, we keep chugging along, and today's journey involves two more promos, these for Nikkatsu Studios' infamous roman porno drama Dabide no hoshi: Bishôjo-gari, aka Beautiful Girl Hunter, which is based on a Maasaki Soto manga and premiered in Japan today in 1979. That's Hiromi Namino on the art, who as far as we know made only one other film.

So we watched this, and yup, it's twisted. Long story short, an escaped lunatic commits a rape which results in a pregnancy, and the rape child grows up to become a rapist. Every taboo is shattered in this one, including ones you've never imagined. As we always note for readers unfamiliar with this genre, there's no actual sex, no frontal nudity. Everything is done with camera angles, the power of suggestion, and acting. Still... holy fuck. But what you really want to know is whether the movie is any good. Objectively it's well made, but it also made us question whether liking roman porno posters and being interested in the genre's history and culture are sufficient enough reasons to keep watching the films.

Yet there are also serious points in this movie about intergenerational violence, and whether it's at all possible for parents to love (or even treat decently) a child conceived via rape. To us, neither question feels responsibly examined enough to justify the existence of the movie. After all, it's first and foremost a piece of sexploitation, and the steady supply of nudity sort of undercuts any serious intent. We much prefer Toei's Company's pinky violence films. The women in those either win or cause a hell of a lot of trouble trying. By contrast films like Beautiful Girl Hunter feel deliberately regressive, as we've noted before. These Nikkatsu guys will be the end of us yet.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 21 2019
PINK TWICE
What you see is exactly what you get.


Above are two striking pinku posters, both from the roman porno sub-genre. The first is for Osasuri hentai musume, aka Harassing Perverted Girl, with Rina Nagisa. The English title of this is interesting. You can't be sure if it refers to a perverted girl being harassed, or a perverted girl who harasses. It's the former—the Japanese title, which would translate to something like “caught hentai girl,” makes that a bit clearer. The second poster is for Onna kyôshi: Himitsu, aka Female Teacher 6, with Miyako Yamaguchi and Etsuko Hara. As the title suggests, it was part of a series, a run of thirteen Onna kyôshi movies, made between 1973 and 1983. How in the hell did Nikkatsu Studios manage to milk the concept for so many films? Because audiences didn't care a whit about the plots as long as there was what's known in Japan as fan sābisu, or “fan service”—i.e., giving consumers (usually males) what they want. It's technically a manga term, but we think it applies here, as both posters promise it, and in a laudable example of truth in advertising, the films deliver. Osasuri hentai musume and Onna kyôshi: Himitsu both premiered—in what was a banner weekend for roman porno fans—today in 1978. 

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Modern Pulp Oct 9 2019
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
The more you Zoom the weirder everything looks.


Above is a poster for Zûmu appu: Bôkô hakusho, aka Zoom Up: Sexual Crime Report, the fourth film in the Zoom Up series. This installment starred Yuki Kazamatsuri and Rie Hirase, and premiered in Japan today in 1981. Where do we start with this? Kazamatsuri plays a disc jockey married to a powerful businessman. One night on her way to the radio station she's raped by a gang of creeps on motorcycles, and it turns out this was not a random attack. That's already a spoiler, so we'll stop there.

As always, we try to remember that Nikkatsu Studios was in the business of making money. The directors and screenwriters had a lot of artistic freedom, and occasionally tried to embed social commentary and deep metaphor in these films. But you know how it goes with metaphor—if you suspect it's there you'll look for it until you strain your brain. Broadly speaking, roman porno avoids the feminist patriarchy smashing of pinky violence films, usually denying women any sort of cathartic retribution. We stress usually. Even in this retrograde genre women sometimes get the opportunity to make men eat cold steel, or hot lead, as the case may be. Which path does Zûmu appu: Bôkô hakusho take? We ain't saying.

If you look around the internet the very few reviews of roman porno films you find are by males, usually in Japanese. We sometimes add to the all-male chorus, but just as often we keep our write-ups vague, focusing mainly on the poster art. We hope one day there'll be a more diverse online analysis of these, particularly of two types: in English from Japanese viewers who can provide social context we can't; and from women. The latter you might expect us to get from PI-1 and PI-2 (did we mention they're out of town?), but they refuse to watch these. Maybe, truly, that's the most incisive analysis of all.

Wait, so this is all a cinematic metaphor?

Ahh, a wonderful, relaxing metaphor for womblike security.

Oh no! A terrible, disturbing metaphor for survival in a hostile world!

Lalalala... slurp.... gurgle... metaphor.... lalalalalala...

Shhh... trust me. This is a metaphor you're really going to enjoy.
 
Maybe these metaphors will be clearer without my glasses.
 
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Vintage Pulp Oct 6 2019
MARRIAGE INEQUALITY
No wonder divorce rates are sky high.


Did we mention that the Pulp Intl. girlfriends are out of town? No? Well, they are, so it's time to screen the craziest shit vintage cinema has to offer—’70s roman porno. We don't truly understand the films, but we try. What we do understand is that on some level the previous decades' restraint in Japanese cinema was being challenged by filmmakers given almost total artistic control, as long as the films had four sex scenes per hour. So what you get is a lot of daring explorations of previously untouchable themes, and a lot of visual artistry designed to titillate without violating censorship restrictions. Japan's oldest studio, Nikkatsu, made these films, and many were hits with both audiences and critics (who we suspect in both cases were preponderantly male).

The above poster was made to promote Dan Oniroku hanayome ningyo, aka Bridal Doll, which is based on the writings of acclaimed author Oniroku Dan, and stars Asako Kurayoshi in her cinematic debut as a woman who's sold to a man as a bdsm sex slave. It's pretty twisted. Not only does he dress her as a bride, but he has a glass walled bathroom so he can watch her do her business, and at one point literally has her shackled to a ball and chain. But his idyllic set-up goes awry when a neighbor learns what's going on and decides to save Asako. He does this by kidnapping the sadist's wife, who's played by the luminous Izumi Shima, putting her through similar ordeals, then proposing a swap.

Does this swap go as planned? Well, we won't tell you that. We will, however, remind you that there are three true outcomes in roman porno: irony, tragedy, and ambiguity. Nobody ever gets out happy. At least not often. They're always transformed by their ordeals, one way or another. As always, not being Japanese and lacking the lifetime of cultural knowledge that would bring, we know there's more going on here than we can discern. But we still can't recommend this one as anything other than Shima eye candy. And you get that by looking below. So maybe save the seventy-one minutes for a walk in the sunshine. Dan Oniroku hanayome ningyo premiered in Japan today in 1979.

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Modern Pulp Sep 29 2019
CAGED HEAT
Junko Mabuko is unjustly detained yet again.


It's Junko Mabuki again, beset by her usual troubles on this poster for the roman porno flick Dan Oniroku joen fujin, which premiered in Japan today in 1980. This movie seems to have been retitled for its English language release either Blazing Bondage Lady or Madam Rope Flame. Different sites say it's one or the other, but both titles kind of mean the same thing, so both are probably correct.
 
How does Junko get caged? It's her husband's fault. He accidentally runs over a woman who's a star S&M performer and her widower shows up to claim Junko as his own (and as a bonus also kidnaps her sister, played by the ethereal Izumi Shima). Junko's captor introduces her to aspects of bdsm such as whipping and enemas (always a favorite of roman porno flicks), and her shame and resistance eventually turn to acceptance and pleasure.

Mabuki burst onto the roman porno scene in 1979 and in 1980 made a dozen films. Nikkatsu thought they had another Naomi Tani on their hands and even staged a press conference at which they introduced Mabuki to the assembled journalists while she was done up in bondage gear. These types of publicity stunts weren't unusual for Nikkatsu. 
They had barely enough time to congratulate themselves for finding a new star when in 1982 Junko abruptly retired.
 
But Mabuki left behind more than a dozen films and established herself as one of the era's most popular stars. Even so, we rarely recommend these movies and can't recommend this one either, but we love roman porno posters, which taken out of context are always amazing art pieces. Junko is like art too, below. Rest assured, this is not the last we'll see of her.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 5 2019
SUMMER LOVER
She's just wading for something to happen.


Above, a pretty poster for Hito natsu no kankei, which starred Minako Mizushima, along with Izumi Shima and Tamaki Katsura. There's no English title for this, but if you were to translate ひと夏の関係 it would mean something like “summer relationship.” On the other hand, Hito natsu no kankei means something like “one person's life.” So there you go. This premiered in Japan today in 1978.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 8 2019
AFTER HOURS
She gets her best work done during overtime.


Above, a beautiful poster for Danchizuma wasureenu yoru, known in English as Apartment Wife: Unforgettable Night. The wife in this third entry in the Apartment Wife series is Junko Miyashita. The plot is typically convoluted, but basically she's sexually unfulfilled by her hubby and finds pleasure in an anonymous office encounter. Her repeated trysts with this person leave her vulnerable to blackmail of sorts, and— Actually, it's really hard to describe this without giving everything away. Let's just call it a twisted sexual awakening tale with an ironic ending. Which is what most of the Apartment Wife movies are. This one premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp May 15 2019
BEDROOM WIDOW
Whoever said she was in mourning might need to double check their info.

This is a pretty nice poster, which was made to promote the roman porno film Inzesu mibojin, known in English as Lusty Widow. It starred Rumi Tama, Reika Maki, and our favorite nude motorcycle rider Yuri Yamashina in a story about a woman widowed at twenty-six, which of course makes her fair game for assorted orbiting males. Unsurprisingly, having lost her man she isn't feeling very lusty at all, at least until she finds herself drawn into assorted intrigues and associated sexual kinks, including voyeurism and illicit photos, both of which the poster makes clear. Sadly, we were unable to track the film down, which is an occupational hazard with these things. On the other hand, they nearly always turn up eventually. We'll keep an eye out. Inzesu mibojin premiered in Japan today in 1976.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 18
1916—First Battle of the Somme Ends
In France, British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig calls off a battle against entrenched German troops which had begun on July 1, 1916. Known as the Battle of the Somme, this action resulted in one of the greatest losses of life in modern history—over three-hundred thousand dead for a net gain of about seven miles of land.
1978—Jonestown Cult Commits Mass Suicide
In the South American country of Guyana, Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass suicide that claims 918 lives, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan, who had been visiting the makeshift cult complex known as Jonestown to investigate claims of abuse, is shot by members of the Peoples Temple as he tries to escape from a nearby airfield with several cult members who asked for his protection.
November 17
1973—Nixon Proclaims His Innocence
While in Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells four-hundred Associated Press managing editors, "I am not a crook." The false statement comes to symbolize Nixon's presidency when facts are uncovered that prove he is, indeed, a crook.
November 16
1938—Lysergic Acid Diethylamide Created
In Basel, Switzerland, at the Sandoz Laboratories, chemist Albert Hofmann creates the psychedelic compound Lysergic acid diethylamide, aka LSD, from a grain fungus.
1945—German Scientists Secretly Brought to U.S.
In a secret program codenamed Operation Paperclip, the United States Army admits 88 German scientists and engineers into the U.S. to help with the development of rocket technology. President Harry Truman ordered that Paperclip exclude members of the Nazi party, but in practice many Nazis who had been officially classified as dangerous were also brought to the U.S. after their backgrounds were whitewashed by Army officials.
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