Sometimes we all need a little bit of revenge in our lives, don’t we? Well, they sure do in Japan, and in these movies, revenge is delivered with a very sharp blade!
Pinky Violence – “Sexed Up, Bad Girl Action!”
Yep, that is the easiest way to define the uniquely Japanese world of “pinky violence”. These “pinky violence” films were produced by a number of studios in Japan in the ’70’s, most notably TOEI Studios. They are full of samurai action, geysers of blood, and lots of nudity.
These are, simply put, Japan’s version of Sexploitation, and they are even more over-the-top than ours!
An important caveat: the films show how awful men can be to women – that said, this abuse forms the foundation for the delicious revenge that always follows…and these are perfect examples of that!
There are a score of websites devoted to this sub-culture of film, but I wanted to point a few classics out to whet your appetite…
The Pinky Violence Collection – Congratulations to Synapse Films for this package of classic 70’s sexploitation, released under the title of “The Pinky Violence Collection!”
Check out Some Of These Titles:
“Criminal Woman: Killing Melody” –
Kicking off the internationally renowned action series known as Zero Woman, Miki Sugimoto electrifies Criminal Woman: Killing Melody with raw sexuality, searing physical prowess and a reckless passion for revenge.
“Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom” –
Terrifying Girls’ High School opens with a female school clique bloodletting a fellow student amidst verbal abuse and harsh accusation. The terrified girl breaks free of the life-draining vacuum syringe and races to the roof, where her tormentors force her off the ledge and stomp on her fingers until she falls to her death. This is all before the main titles!
“Girl Boss Guerilla” –
Female bikers! Catfights! Gang violence! Sukeban Guerilla expands on classic exploitation “bad girl” archetypes with an explosive abandon.
“Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless To Confess” –
Truly a film that defies description, but imagine a Jack Hill production of Hair with an unsupervised Riot Girl cast, and you’re starting to get the picture. The result is a delicious example of Japanese pop culture in high transition from the groovy ’60s to the dangerous ’70s.
How can you go wrong with names that these? You can’t! As exciting as those films look, it is time now for the classic Japanese revenge epic: Lady Snowblood!
LADY SNOWBLOOD. 1973. Female empowerment gets a good workout in this beautiful Japanese swordplay drama featuring a female fighter, Shurayuki Hime (Lady Snowblood), or Yuki for short, whose mission in life is to track down and slay three of the four villains who brutalized her mother and killed the mother’s husband and son.
Here is the original Japanese trailer, to give you a taste of what the film has to offer:
The action takes place in the 1890s, in Meiji-era Japan, and includes several helpful flashbacks to provide the context for Yuki’s mission. Born in prison–her mother was there for killing the first of the villains and died after childbirth–Yuki is raised by a Buddhist reverend who calls her a “child of the netherworld” and trains her in the fighting arts. Tall and regal, beautiful and ghostly white, Lady S (played by Meiko Kaji) looks too pure to sully herself with bloodletting, a tack which gives her the element of surprise in her many sword fights.
The yellow poster is a clear inspiration for “Kill Bill”, whose poster had many similarities.
There are a number of websites that list Tarantino’s influences, including these 70’s Japanese Sexploitation classics. His love of cinema, and bringing obscure classics back to light for new film lovers to enjoy, is exciting to see.
And now, the “Citizen Kane” of Japanese revenge movies is the legendary “Sex & Fury”!
Sex & Fury
Reiko Ike stars as Ocho, a gambler and pickpocket in Meiji Era Tokyo. After sheltering a fleeing anarchist, Ocho runs into the three gangsters responsible for her father’s murder, and runs afoul of various yakuza who want her dead. A European spy, played by Christina Lindberg, arrives on the scene and complicates matters.
There are three scenes that will cement this as a classic of japanese sexploitation cinema:
1-In the first ten minutes, Star Reiko Ike is bathing quietly – when she is suddenly attacked by a group of Ninjas. What does she do? She grabs her samurai sword, of course, and fight them off – naked!
2-She battles the Ninjas in a snowy courtyard – the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s snowy courtyard battle in “Kill Bill Vol. 1” – except Uma thurman is wearing her yellow jumpsuit – and Reiko is completely naked!
3- Reiko has a love scene with Christina Lindberg – that’s right, Swedish sex kitten and exploitation icon Lindberg is in this film!
Amazon says: Widely considered to be the Absolute Best Japanese Exploitation film! Take a look at the trailer and let me know if you don’t agree!
Sex & Fury, one of the wildest, most violent, just-plain-entertaining Japanese sexploitation pictures from the 1970s stars smoldering young ‘pinky violence’ actress Reiko Ike (veteran of the Girl Boss aka Sukeban film series) as Ocho, a gambler and pickpocket in Meiji Era Tokyo.
After sheltering a fleeing anarchist, Ocho encounters the three villains responsible for her father’s murder, and runs afoul of various yakuza who want her dead.
A European spy (Christina Lindberg), whose sadistic diplomat boss has his own nefarious plans, complicates matters. A riproaring action saga filled with beautiful bodies, bloody swordplay, and psychedelic imagery — all beautifully photographed in a number of astonishing set pieces.
Directed by Norifumi Suzuki (who fathered the Sukeban genre), Sex & Fury transcends the pop culture realm to achieve genuine art. Followed by the outrageous sequel, Female Yakuza Tale – Inquisition & Torture (also available from Panik House), it’s the best film you’ve never seen!
There you have it – classic Japanese exploitation!