Reiko strikes down upon her enemies with great vengeance and Furyo anger.
More Reiko as soon as that? Why yes. Above you see her on a promo poster for her pinky violence flick Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu, known in English as Terrifying Girls' High School: Delinquent Convulsion Group. We shared this art as part of a collection ten years ago but didn't discuss the film. Reiko and Yûko Kanô star, and as the title suggests, it's about the rough and tumble lives of female juvenile delinquents. Reiko's high school is run by the Red Rose Clan. Things go very right when she's elected head of the gang, then very wrong when her father dies in a brutal auto accident, she's transferred to the outcast class for non-payment of tuition, the Red Rose tosses her overboard, and she finds out her mother is indulging in sexual extracurriculars. Talk about a run of bad luck. But you can't keep Reiko down. She fights her way into the good graces of a group of girls that hang out in a local bar. They decide to form a new gang called the Union Clan to fight the Red Rose and take control of the school, which is beginning to descend into anarchy. Soon after forming her new gang, Reiko learns that her father's accident was orchestrated. Like any devoted daughter, she vows revenge. It won't be easy, but once a girl has dealt with the evils of high school, a cabal of heavily armed international drug dealers is a cakewalk. As required by the pinky violence genre, what follows are clouds of cordite and showers of sparks. Doesn't that sound fun? Reiko never disappoints. Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu premiered today in 1973.
They're trouble in triplicate.
The above poster was made for Sanbiki no mesubachi, usually known in English as Three Pretty Devils, starring Reiko Ohara, Yoko Ichiji, and Junko Natsu. It concerns three female con artists who are running loose during the gigantic World Expo in Osaka. They engage in every type of grift—they pick pockets, sell counterfeit parking passes, coax free meals from bedazzled older men, engage in a little sexual blackmail, and more. Eventually they get the bright idea to put together an escort service for foreigners, but in order to do so have to cross the local yakuza. Needless to say, that's a bad idea.
The yakuza boss, who's played to the edge of caricature by a frowning, sneering Tsunehiko Watase, perceives the girls more as an opportunity than as competition, and wants to turn them into escorts. Ohara's mancrush Saburo, a yakuza footsoldier, tells her to leave Osaka before it's too late, but when the yakuza find out about his betrayal they shoot the poor sap dead. No self-respecting devil gives up easily, so even cold-blooded murder doesn't end the girls' scheming ways. Eventually their chance for a big score finally comes when Natsu appropriates a bank document worth 200 million yen. The yakuza, as always, stands in their way.
Our synopsis makes this all sound dramatic, but the movie is mostly lightweight, with serious moments but a lot of comedy and music. Regarding the latter, legendary gay performer Pītā has a featured role as a transvestite nightclub singer. It was an early role for him. He's on the promo art in the red turtleneck, which is why there are seemingly four pretty devils on a poster where you'd expect three. While he serves as local color in a nightclub that features prominently in the plot, his treatment by the filmmakers is completely respectful, which is noteworthy considering the year. On the whole, Sanbiki no mesubachi is a pretty good movie. It premiered today in 1970.
Serious trouble just rolled into town.
Furyô banchô: Ikkaku senkin, for which you see a killer poster above, was known in English as Wolves of the City: Fast Money, or sometimes Wolves of the City: Instant Fortune. It starred Tatsuo Umemiya, Reiko Oshida, and Bunta Sugawara, and we hear it's good, but we weren't able to find it to watch. We may circle back to it, though, because we located more promo art Toei Company made for it—for example the cool photos of Umemiya and Oshida you see below.
You notice the swastika tattoo on Oshida's back? We've mentioned before that the symbol's usage predates its appropriation by Nazi Germany, and has different meanings in Japan. However, in this case we suspect those meanings—good luck, eternity, etc.—have been set aside and the filmmakers meant to use the symbol's association with Nazis to suggest rebellion or lawlessness. If asked, they may have claimed they weren't, but they'd have been messing with people's heads in the same way as the Prussian cross in this post was meant to. But we won't know until we watch the film. We'll keep the rest of our promo material in reserve in case our search is successful. Furyô banchô Ikkaku senkin premiered in Japan today in 1970.
A long time ago there were three deadly assassins...
Kunoichi ninpo: Kannon biraki, for which you see a tateken size poster above, was known in English as Female Ninjas - In Bed with the Enemy, as well as Magic Female Ninjas: Open Altar Doors. The movie was a Toei Company production, and though it's a period piece set during Japan's Edo era, it has all the expected elements from Toei's mid-1970s output—those elements being action, nudity, and tough-as-nails women.
Three ninjas named Oyou, Oen, and Oran are sent on a mission to recover 30,000 ryou in stolen gold meant for the king as tax payments. The trio have at their disposal acrobatic physical abilities, masterful sword skills, magic spells, and super tight vaginas. They use the latter to perform tricks like the “insect pinch”—trapping a guy's penis until he confesses out of sheer pain. Sounds crazy, we know, but what can you say? Japanese films have a bit of a vagina fetish. Remember Onsen mimizu geisha and Reiko Ike's extraordinary pussy that feels like worms writhing? From that point, being able to crush dicks is just a logical progression.
In any case, the trio of ninjas, played by Megumi Hori, Keiko Kinugasa, and Maki Tachibana, set off across the land in search of the gold, and along the way they brave dangers, slice and dice, resist emotion, and get help from an unlikely quarter, finally realizing that the Sanada and Kuwagata clans were the culprits. Or were they? Tricks and betrayals may loom. As a hybrid ninja drama/pinku flick, we enjoyed Kunoichi ninpo: Kannon biraki quite a bit. It premiered today in 1976.
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.
That's no lady. That's a sexual predator.
This is a pretty rare poster, very hard to find in uncensored form. It was made for Kamakiri fujin no kokuhaku, generally known in English as Confessions of Lady Mantis, a bizarre little movie about a woman who's a serial life destroyer. Midori Sasaki stars and plays a well known television host who embarks on a spate of affairs, with misfortune soon striking each of her involvements. But before we go on, let's take a moment to appreciate the movie's unusually beautiful opening credit sequence. Midori is photographed in similarly loving fashion throughout the film:
Getting back to Midori's affairs, her first is a formula one driver who's later killed in a crash. Then a neighbor she tempts gives up his perfect wife and beautiful house only for Midori to abandon him. Five flings all end badly for the men, but number six happens to be a contract killer. We won't tell you what happens next. It's amazing Midori gets through all these men in a movie running just over an hour. You really have to appreciate the conciseness of Japanese b-cinema. That being the case, we'll be concise too: Kamakiri fujin no kokuhaku is interesting, occasionally funny, and worth a look, but not special. It premiered in Japan today in 1975.
Reiko and Miki chew over a very tough problem.
Reiko Ike (front) and Miki Sugimoto pose together in a rope gnawing b/w promo made for their pinky violence actioner Zenka onna: koroshi-bushi, aka Criminal Woman: Killing Melody, which premiered today in 1973. We found this on Reddit, so thanks to whoever originally uploaded this slightly bizarre item. We have plenty on the movie in our website, including some amazing posters. We recommend clicking its keywords below and scrolling.
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.
She wasn't really all that nice even before the demon showed up.
The tateken style poster you see above was made for the Japanese actioner Yôen dokufu-den: Han'nya no Ohyaku, aka Ohyaku: The Female Demon, set in Edo era Japan, and starring Junko Miyazono, Tomisaburô Wakayama, and Kunio Murai. Miyazono plays woman who as little girl survived when her prostitute mother jumped with her off a bridge, and as an adult carries a scar on her back from this traumatic suicide. She's grown up to be an acrobat, but is treated shabbily by men just as her mother was.
She flees her circus life and hooks up with a handsome young samurai, only to learn that he plans to steal gold being transported via caravan from a government mint. She begs to help her young lover, as he also takes on a partner who tried to rob the same mint twenty years earlier, losing an arm in the process. His knowledge will hopefully be key, but like any heist, there are hidden dangers. It's a given some will come from the protectors of the coveted goods, but sometimes they come from partners in positions of trust. That's all we'll say about the plot, except that Miyazono is never actually possessed by a demon. What happens is she gets a demon tattoo on her back, which we guess symbolizes her transition from somewhat shady to fully vengeful.
The movie was made by Toei Company and was the first in a trilogy of films that are often cited as precursors to the studio's famed pinky violence cycle. We can certainly see the similarity, though this film is black and white rather than the vivid color you get with pinky violence. But all that really matters is that it's entertaining, starting fast, incorporating nice sword action, and covering a lot of thematic ground. Very enjoyable stuff. It premiered in Japan today in 1968.
The Zu animals break loose and Tokyo is never the same.
Above is a promo poster for Toei Company's pinky violence hit Zubekô banchô: yume wa yoru hiraku, aka Tokyo Bad Girls, aka Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams, which premiered in Japan today in 1970. We already talked about the movie years back and showed you the tateken sized promo poster. Because we had this second piece of art, today we decided to be completist. Reiko Oshida and Keiko Fuji are still the main graphic elements, but some of the other bits have been rearranged. You can see the first piece, and also read about the movie, at this link.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1966—LSD Declared Illegal in U.S.
LSD, which was originally synthesized by a Swiss doctor and was later secretly used by the CIA on military personnel, prostitutes, the mentally ill, and members of the general public in a project code named MKULTRA, is designated a controlled substance in the United States.
1945—Hollywood Black Friday
A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators becomes a riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios when strikers and replacement workers clash. The event helps bring about the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which, among other things, prohibits unions from contributing to political campaigns and requires union leaders to affirm they are not supporters of the Communist Party.
1957—Sputnik Circles Earth
The Soviet Union launches the satellite Sputnik I, which becomes the first artificial object to orbit the Earth. It orbits for two months and provides valuable information about the density of the upper atmosphere. It also panics the United States into a space race that eventually culminates in the U.S. moon landing.
1970—Janis Joplin Overdoses
American blues singer Janis Joplin is found dead on the floor of her motel room in Los Angeles. The cause of death is determined to be an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol.
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