Femmes Fatales Oct 18 2023
BAR HOPPER
What's a girl have to do to get service in this joint?

In this photo from a 1972 issue of Heibon Punch we see cinema star Reiko Ike, who decided to hit the Kyoto nightlife scene, but after terribly slow service was forced to take matters into her own hands and hop across the bar in an effort to get a mai-tai. In the bartender's defense, he didn't ignore Reiko intentionally. He fainted when she came in the door. This is (or was) a real world Kyoto bar that appeared in the pinky violence flick Sukeban gerira, aka Girl Boss Guerrilla, which Reiko had a major role in. The photo isn't an official promo from the film. At least, the magazine text doesn't mention it. But we recognized the place. In any case, Reiko got her mai-tai. Until the bartender regains consciousness drinks are on the house, and she's the toast of the town.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2023
TOP GERIRA
Zero to crazy in under ninety minutes.


We first shared a poster for the pinky violence movie Sukeban gerira, aka Girl Boss Guerrilla, years ago and said at that time we'd get around to talking about the movie. We subsequently shared a tateken style poster, but still didn't get around to the film itself. Well, it's finally later. Eleven years later, to be exact. We refreshed our memory with a new screening last night, and to accompany today's thoughts we're sharing a rare bo-ekibari style poster of this classic pinky violence actioner from Toei Company.

Miki Sugimoto and three friends, who comprise the small but spirited Red Helmet Motorcycle Gang, take a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto to see if they can hustle up some yen by whatever means they can manage—grifts, graft, blackmail, whatever. They make some cash but quickly run afoul of Ryôko Ema of the Kyogoku Group, head boss of all Kyoto's girl gangs, which leads to a Ryôko-Miki showdown for control of the city. Our advice: never fight in flip-flops. But then again, we're not as tough as Miki. She loses her flip flops, but wins the fight.

There's always a set of bad men in the background of a pinky violence movie, and it turns out that though Kyoto's girl gangsters are now under Miki's hard won control, all operate under the umbrella of the Tsutsui Gang, who are basically the Kyoto branch of the yakuza. Miki has to give regular tribute to the boys, obey the rules, or pay the price. She'swilling to toe the line, but her situation is quickly complicated when she makes a new pal played by Reiko Ike, who's disinclined to obey anybody, but particularly the local yakuza clan, one of whose higher ups is her big brother.

Along the way to settling this mess you get fights, captures, torture, and nudity. Comedy and romance are part of the equation too, as is a bit of social commentary (a Red Helmet girl picking up gonorrhea from a priest is particularly biting). In the end a final throwdown is inevitable but how it turns out is anyone's guess. Nothing is guaranteed in a pinky violence movie—well, except violence.

Pinky violence movies can be fun, but the misses tend to be well wide of the mark, if not psychologically disturbing. Sukeban gerira is a nice example of the genre. It's wild, but never quite to the extent that it makes you want to run from the room. An excellent moment comes just a few minutes in, when Sugimoto aggressively bares a tattooed breast at a set of macho assholes, causing them to physically recoil. That sums up the best pinky violence: a new brand of feminine power that overcame any opposition set against it. Sukeban gerira premiered today in 1972.
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Femmes Fatales Feb 11 2023
SUN GODDESS
Hitomi hits the coast for a private holiday.


Here during the depths of winter (for those of you that experience winter) we thought we'd give you the hottest images we could find to stir your blood. Above are a few looks at Japanese actress Hitomi Kozue, who, according to a bit of accompanying text we didn't bother to show, is enjoying a rare sunny day during the 1974 tsuya, or East Asian rainy season. Hitomi is the star of such films as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, Sex-Crime Coast: School of PiranhaTrue Story of a Woman Condemned, and its sequel, and you may remember we promised we'd return to her after sharing an image last year from this same photo session.

Based on what we've seen Hitomi seems to have been the boldest Japanese cinema star of the ’70s when it came to her promo images. These are nicely conceived and composed, tasteful, yet audacious and visceral. Some cultures, including the U.S., have regressed to the point where almost any nudity is now shocking, but eroticism has always been a valid art form, and it will thrive again once people remember that bodies forced under wraps are exactly what previous generations fought so hard against in order to wrest free expression from external control. Hitomi is uncontrollably beautiful.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2022
THE GREATEST OF EASE
You'll really believe a girl boss can fly.


Above: an alternate poster for Document porno: Shin sukeban, which is a roman porno flick from Nikkatsu Studios that in English was called Semi Documentary: Truly High School Girl Boss. It premiered in Japan today in 1973. The poster is worth sharing mainly because it features a different—and more modest—martial arts kick than on the tateken promo we showed you before. What do we mean by more modest? Look here and find out. 

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Femmes Fatales Jun 12 2022
OIL AND WATER
They mix just fine as far as she's concerned.


As summer and the endless possibilities of that time of year approach, a person's thoughts turn naturally to— Oh, screw it. Let's not intellectualize it. It's basically always summer where we live, so who are we bullshitting anyway? We just like nude images. Here's an excellent example featuring one of our favorite actresses, Hitomi Kozue, star of Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, New True Story of a Woman Condemned to Hell, Confessions of a Female Secretary: Juice from the Fruit, and other worthy efforts, and who, like Pam Grier, Christina Lindberg, Reiko Ike, and other centerpieces of obscure ’70s b-movies, we're determined to document in her entirety. This image came from a 1974 issue of Heibon Punch and it's part of a series, the amazing remainder of which we'll show you later. Teaser: they're even slipperier. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2022
THE NAME OF THE LAW
They call her Marii—Daati Marii.


Above is a promotional poster in tatekan size for Sukeban Deka: daati Marii, which premiered in Japan today in 1974 and was known in English as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary. Obviously, the character is based on Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, and the name is phonetically spelled to assist Japanese pronunciation. Way back when we first talked about this flick we were able to watch it free online, but that boat has since sailed over the horizon. Now you'll have to watch it on Amazon Japan, which probably doesn't do you much good unless you speak Japanese. We wish we'd taken a few screenshots from the movie back then, but we were in a hurry that day. It's certainly worth a watch, should the opportunity arise. You can read a bit more about it here. As a bonus, we have some Kozue promo images below. Typically, she made nude photos, and indeed, we've already posted many and have others that are flat-out unbelievable which we'll share later. But today we wanted to show her in casual mode. You see her below, hanging out in Tokyo's Omiya Park.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 16 2022
KNIFE SKILLS
Never mess with anyone who guts fish for fun.


This cool image features Japanese actress Sanae Ôhori in character as Mari from her 1974 pinky violence flick Sukeban: Tamatsuki asobi, aka Girl Boss: Crazy Ball Game. Ôhori appeared in only four other films, but among them were Seijû gakuen, aka School of the Holy Beast and Onna hissatsu ken, aka Sister Street Fighter, both of which are fun efforts. With a résumé that slight it's unlikely we'll see her again here, but you never know. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 13 2022
BOSSY WOMEN
Miki and Reiko rock and rule Osaka in 1973's Sukeban.


We already shared this rare circular poster for Sukeban, aka Girl Boss Revenge: Sukeban, in a group post years ago, but since it's so rare and interesting we're bringing it back for a solo look, and as you see below we've split it in half to allow you to have your own copy of reasonable size, if you're inclined to put the two pieces together. We might as well comment on the movie too. When we first shared the art for this, we figured why discuss the film in detail when there were already plenty of reviews online? We even linked to one back then. Little did we know that Pulp Intl. would still be going ten years later and would be a top repository for vintage Japanese poster art online. That being the case, we figure we'll tell you about the movie this time.

It stars two of the brightest stars of the Japanese grindhouse era—Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike. Miki plays a gang leader who calls herself Kantô Komasa, while Reiko is the girl gang leader of Namairu High School. They meet in a prison van and escape simultaneously, headed different directions but destined to cross paths again. Miki forms a new gang in Osaka called Gypsy Dance, gets into the usual delinquency, and meets a director of dirty movies who she enlists in a revenge plot. But all the fun and games take a nasty turn when she runs afoul of the North Dragon yakuza and they start dishing out pain and suffering. Only with the help of a young North Dragon footsoldier named Tatsuo is Miki able to escape her predicament.

It just so happens that Tatsuo is Reiko's boyfriend. Reiko has been missing since her escape from the prison van, but arrives on the scene just in time to find Miki in bed with her man. That puts Reiko and Miki at odds in the worst way, but Reiko has no idea Tatsuo is working for the North Dragon. She'll find out, though, via a stunning betrayal. We'll end the synopsis there, but add the warning that the North Dragonare mean as hell and the tortures they administer are hard to watch. But gangsters gonna gangster—if they spent their time at garden parties and poetry readings there'd be a different word for them.

Sukeban, which was directed by Norifumi Suzuki, is a prime example of Toei Company's pinky violence genre—wild, colorful, gritty, and bloody, with moments of humor to leaven the hard tone. Movies of this style influenced many later directors, but apart from Quentin Tarantino and maybe a couple of other mavericks such operatic exploitation is a relic of the past. The film is basically Miki's show, and whether rolling fabulously down a hill in her fur coat and platforms or getting dirty in an alley fight, she delivers a freewheeling performance in a production that isn't for the faint of heart. It's worth watching for its historical value as well as for entertainment, but in either case, hold onto your hat.

As a bonus, below we have some production photos, including a rare image of Miki striking the topless pose used to create the promo poster. We always thought her head looked a little warped on that poster. Turns out it's a defect in the original photograph—someone either shot her off-kilter or introduced the flaw during the developing process, and she stayed that way. We're guessing, but we're pretty sure because normally her head is very symmetrical. As is the rest of her. You'll see what we mean below about the photo. Sukeban premiered in Japan today in 1973. You can see our other write-up on it here.
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Vintage Pulp Dec 27 2021
SEVEN THE HARD WAY
Tanaka and company roll the dice and all kinds of craps happen.


This poster was made to promote the samurai actioner Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi, known in English internationally as The Naked Seven, starring the wonderful Mari Tanaka, along with Michiyo Mako, Yuri Yamashina, and others. Tanaka plays Eno, leader of a gang of seven female bandits roaming the countryside of Edo era Japan ambushing and stealing to survive. Tanaka hooks up with a samurai and helps him rob 120 rifles from a powerful warlord, at which point she and her bandit cohort are blamed. Realizing they're in the very deepest shit, they head for the hills with the warlord's bad men—one of whom is indescribably worse than the rest—in hot pursuit. Tanaka has a sanctuary in mind, but ultimately she and her gang of deadlies may have to make a final stand with those rifles.

We assumed The Naked Seven was a samurai actioner, and it is, sort of, but genetically it's really a roman porno. The movie's alternate English title (which we didn't know until afterward) gives it away: Civil War Rock: Hurricane Girls! The Japanese word “sengoku,” from the film's official title, refers to the Sengoku Era in Japan, a time of violent upheaval also known as the Warring States Period, so the civil war reference in the alternate English title makes sense. Plus director Yasuharu Hasebe would make a string of roman porno flicks in the next several years, including Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary and Maruhi honeymoon: Boko ressha, which, terrifyingly, is aka Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train. Even without knowing all that, the roman porno thought process behind The Naked Seven became clear as the pursuit unfolded in occasionally shocking fashion.

We thought we'd jettisoned roman pornos after the last effort we watched, but that Naked Seven title fooled us. It's obviously a play on The Magnificent Seven—but naked!—and yup, unclothed debauchery fit for a Game of Thrones episode abounds. There's also a sequence in which Tanaka's entire gang is waylaid bathing in a stream and have to flee bare-assed into the woods. They escape, though it's logistically unlikely. Similarly, roman porno chased us and caught us unawares, metaphorically naked in a streaming. Escape from our waylaying was as logistically easy as pressing stop, but we forged ahead until the end, and we did it for you. Here's the upshot. The period setting helps set the movie apart, so we consider it a passable effort from Nikkatsu Studios. Thankfully, it's not as shocking as some roman pornos, but proceed carefully—there are still scary things in the woods. Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 27 2021
NO CASH, NO CREDIT, NO FORGIVENESS
There's hell to pay and the only currency she takes is cold hard ass.


Above is a rare bo-eikibari style promo for Sukeban burûsu: Mesubachi no gyakushû, known in English as as Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee Strikes Again, or sometimes Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Counterattack. It premiered in Japan today in 1971. You can see the standard promo at the top of this group post, and you can see the tateken promo here. Basically, Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Yayoi Watanabe, et al are members of a gang of hot young thieves who extort hapless middle-aged squares by luring them, drugging them, and robbing them. The movie has a little of everything—and lot of Ike, one of the towering figures of Japanese b-movies.

We find it interesting that Sugimoto didn't make it onto the poster (nor the other promos made for the film) while Yayoi Watanabe (prone and restrained) did. Rest assured, Miki is in the film. She gets as much screen time as anyone except Ike, especially in the first forty-five minutes. Mysterious are the minds of pinku poster designers. This isn't the first time they've thrown us a curve by leaving someone important off a promo. Anyway, this movie is well worth a watch for fans of pinky violence. We already showed you a promo image of Reiko Ike yesterday, but what the heck—let's bring her back, below. And Sugimoto too. We can't have one without the other.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.
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.
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