Demons / Shura (1971)

I have occasionally compared some Japanese movies to Jacobean dramas, but watching Matsumoto’s Shura is like suddenly wandering in to Webster, Middleton, Chapman, Ford, Tourneur, and Kyd all rolled into one and simply restaged in a Japanese setting. Honor, revenge, coincidence, disguise, ghosts, mistaken motivations, sexual obsession, poison, madness, and blood swirl around in a … Continue reading Demons / Shura (1971)

Marine Cadets / Eternal Cause / Kaigun tokubetsu nensho-hei (1972)

Although called Marine Cadets, the young men here are not like the American Marines. Mostly 14 years old, they are volunteers for the Navy’s Kaiheidan, used to train naval personnel who did not qualify for officer school. Hence, Marine Cadets follows a group of young teenagers through the program starting in the summer of 1943 … Continue reading Marine Cadets / Eternal Cause / Kaigun tokubetsu nensho-hei (1972)

Violent Street / Violent City / Boryoku gai (1974)

Despite a string of nine(!!!) consecutive genre masterpieces starting in the mid-sixties, Hideo Gosha inexplicably went without film work through most of the seventies. Almost three years passed after Wolves until Violent Street appeared, and another four would pass before Bandit v. Samurai Squadron and Hunter in the Dark. Given the brilliance of Wolves, in … Continue reading Violent Street / Violent City / Boryoku gai (1974)

Horrors of Malformed Men / Kyofu kikei ningen: Edogawa Rampo zenshu (1969)

Long carrying a reputation as one of Japan’s most disturbing and outrageous horror films, when Horrors of Malformed Men finally surfaced on DVD in 2005, it was something of a disappointment. In 1969, Teruo Ishii was in the middle of his various Torture movies, but this gives us no gruesome torture scenes or dismemberment and … Continue reading Horrors of Malformed Men / Kyofu kikei ningen: Edogawa Rampo zenshu (1969)

Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 / Joshu sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bo (1972)

In the world of what are commonly known as exploitation films, there is nothing quite like the Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion series, and in that series, there is nothing quite like the second, Jailhouse 41. For one thing, the women stay dressed – it is the men who have the nude scenes. The women wear … Continue reading Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 / Joshu sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bo (1972)