Vintage Pulp Dec 31 2022
You're a political radical? We think that's sooo hot.

The beautiful promo you see above threw us into confusion for a bit. It's supposedly for a film called Gendai kôshoku-den: Teroru no kisetsu, aka Modern Passion: Season of Terror, but the poster contains only the first half of that title, which could conceivably make it for an entirely different film. And since our initial research revealed that Gendai kôshoku-den: Teroru no kisetsu has strong political elements, the art here seems incongruous. But after a bit more digging we've decided it's the correct poster alright. The two female stars listed in all the Japanese websites we checked—Tomomi Sahara and Yûko Ejima—are right there front and center, visually confirmed. We suppose the poster is an example of the studio, Wakamatsu Production, selling their political drama by any means necessary, including making it look like a roman porno flick.

That said, Gendai kôshoku-den does have sexual elements. It's about an alleged political terrorist played by Ken Yoshizawa, who's living with two women in a vast suburban housing block, but is unaware that he's under surveillance by Japanese security services and that his apartment has been bugged. We see no signs Yoshizawa is involved in any shady activities, though he's suspected of an embassy arson that occurred several years ago. He appears to have no job, while his girlfriends both work. This quiet existence is suspicious to the two agents. They see it as, “laying low.” Day after day they listen to Yoshizawa eat, have sex, chat with his girlfriends, and talk to himself. On the occasions he leaves the apartment, they follow.

The irony is thick with this situation. One agent asks the other, “Does he have anything worth living for, like us?” What a question, coming from a federal voyeur, watching a guy who has a lordly existence chilling, eating, wandering around, and screwing all day. His partner responds to the question: “I no longer know what we're watching.” Indeed. Is Yoshizawa really a political risk, or is it all just another state-level paranoid delusion like so many of the past? And since states have the power to make their fantasies real, even if Yoshizawa is innocent of all wrongdoing, will he be fashioned into a traitor anyway, unjustly prosecuted and perp-walked before the masses?

Gendai kôshoku-den: Teroru no kisetsu isn't a roman porno because it didn't come from Nikkatsu Studios and predates the official establishment of the genre, but there are similar elements, particularly an exploration of rape fantasy, mercifully brief. In this case, it's possible to argue that this is a metaphor for Yoshizawa's alleged urges to hurt people for political gain—or maybe he's not even a terrorist, but just a regular man, prone to terror in pursuit of whatever he wants. It's a question that roman porno, being mainly a template for kinky male fantasies, doesn't usually ask. That isn't to say roman porno is all bad. There are some deep ideas explored occasionally, but Gendai kôshoku-den: Teroru no kisetsu, with its underlying political intrigue, is engaging in a way Nikkatsu's offerings usually aren't.

Kôji Wakamatsu, the man in the director's chair, makes an engrossing slow burn of the movie, and expertly milks this central question of terroristic acts, inching toward a conclusion that will exonerate Yoshizawa, condemn him, or leave everything ambiguous even after the credits roll. On another layer just below is a subtle questioning of the nature of Japanese/U.S. relations, of imperialism, and the national ennui of an occupied nation. In addition, ocurring at intervals is a wonderful and haunting Vince Guaraldi-style solo flute score by Meikyu Sekai (a group, not a person), which is later supplanted by Max Roach's great tune, “Sunday Afternoon.” Gendai kôshoku-den: Teroru no kisetsu, despite its proto-roman porno digression, is a movie we can recommend. It premiered today in 1969.

Sex Files Sep 11 2013
Bringing American values to the world.

If you visit this site a lot, you’re used to this—we promise to get back to something and then take forever to do it. But to our credit, we do eventually keep our promises. Today, we’re finally returning to that pile of Japanese x-rated promo posters we’ve accumulated (Japanese as in designed and printed in Japan, but to promote American movies). Above is a poster for a porn compilation entitled That’s Porno, released in 1979 and comprised strictly of sex scenes culled from various films, freed from the tyranny of plotlines and character development (just kidding—we live for plotlines and character development). You have to love the art, which consists of the lips of twenty-two x-rated actresses, some well known, such as Georgina Spelvin and Annette Haven (or Heaven, according to the text), and others virtually forgotten, like Karen Devin and Tina Louise (the other Tina Louise). Anyway, we have eight more posters below and relevant info. 

Baby Face II, with Stacy Donovan, Candy Evans, and Taija Rae. Just to make sure Japanese audiences got the point, the word “sex” appears front and center. We’ve talked before about the usage of this English word on Japanese posters as a signifier and here you get another example.
Beach Blanket Bango, with Cindy Taylor and Rene Bond, 1975. Notice the word “fuck” at upper left. Again, is this more descriptive than the Japanese word for the same act, or is the English a signifier of decadence?
Expose Me, Lovely, with Annie Sprinkle, Jennifer Welles, and Jody Maxwell, 1976. The designers misspelled the word “expose,” instead putting “exporse,” but they did get “sex” right, and there’s “erection” right next to it, for good measure.
Savage Fury II, with Christy Canyon, Randy West, Tony Montana, and Ron Jeremy, 1989. Boldly goes where Savage Fury I dared not—into the pants of Ron “The Hedgehog” Jeremy.
V—The Hot One, with Annette Haven and John Leslie, 1977. This one is considered one of the better adult flicks of the seventies, with a real plot, a serious message, and a legendary star in Haven.
Tell Them Johnny Wadd is Here, with Annette Haven and John Holmes, 1976.
Olympic Fever, with Candida Royale, Seka, Paul Thomas, and Ron Jeremy, 1979. We’re betting the shot put was the climactic event here, immediately preceded by the breast stroke and pole vault.
Honey Pie, with Jennifer Welles, Terri Hall, and Annie Sprinkle, 1975.
That’s all for today. We have about a hundred more of these, not all as interesting as this group, but sometime down the line we’ll pick out a few more worthy examples and share them. In the meantime, be sure to check our previous entries on this subject here, here and here.

Femmes Fatales Aug 26 2009
She'll make you think you died and went to her bedroom

Adult film actress Seka, née Dorothea Patton, circa 1980, from the Dutch porno magazine Big Busty.

History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 29
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
May 28
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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