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Movie Going Madness in Japan

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  • I want some of those tshirts!!!

    I will try to get the same one as u did coz ot is super cool.

    Amazing the amount of effort these Japanese theates put into not only showing theatrical prints of these old movies...but also the amount of merchandise they have on show...

    I too made the mistake of going to Disneyland when I was in Tokyo...My significant other would definitely NOT have been open to watching any of these movies least u are training your girlfriend well Taukma!!:up:
    Senior Member
    Last edited by sukebanboy; 12-02-2015, 07:16 AM.


    • Originally posted by sukebanboy View Post
      I too made the mistake of going to Disneyland when I was in Tokyo...My significant other would definitely NOT have been open to watching any of these movies least u are training your girlfriend well Takuma!!:up:
      For me it wasn't even the first time * And I certainly got the shorter end of the stick... I mean, Disneyland took 8½ bloody hours while Karate Warriors was just 90 minutes. She owes me attendance to 4 more Chiba flicks

      * No, seriously, it wasn't so bad. Disney Sea is even kinda fun. Though not half as fun as a Chiba flick

      Here's a few more cool T-shirts they've got


      • Yeah..had a good look at their tshirts...some good stuff in there....not cheap though!


        • Originally posted by Takuma View Post
          Also, for anyone interested, National Film Centre in Tokyo will be running a Kenji Misumi retrospective from January 5 to March 13. Since NFC always screens two films per day, six days a week, and runs the program twice, that means there should be 66 movies included. Misumi directed 67 movies on his career (according to JMDB), so we can expect pretty much every film he directed to be included. The program has not been announced yet, though. NFC is slow at updating their site, so I wouldn't expect the program to appear before mid December.
          The program is out. 51 movies (35mm) + episodes for 6 TV shows (16mm)

          Cinema Vera also released program for their Noboru Tanaka retrospective:

          Planning to visit both retrospectives.


          • This is somehow very amusing


            • Hahaha...That's Fantastic!


              • My second visit to the Kazuhiko Yamaguchi retrospective was to see Oh Wonderful Utamaro (Shikojo Toruko Nikki) (1974).

                The film is a mildly/moderately amusing Toei Porno comedy. Kelly is an American nymphomaniac who literally falls off from the sky with parachute. She's meant to be picked up by a local yakuza gang, but "Porno Broker" Tatsuo Umemiya gets to get first (“look, a naked woman jumped off the plane, let's pick her up”). Umemiya then makes her work in his Turkish bath, which she doesn't mind at all. In fact, she does eight men on her first night and still wants more. Unfortunately poor Umemiya has trouble “getting it up”... or to be more precise, it always gets up at the wrong moment (usually when some is trying to kill him) so she mainly ends up shagging other guys.

                It's a pretty ridiculous film with hippies, yakuza, lots of sex, silly comedy, Kelly, and a bit of action at the end. The best supporting character is an English speaking hippie dad taking care of a baby and having sex (at the same time) with Harumi Tajima (the girl with big boobs who appears in the poster for the final Sukeban film, and has roles in a few other pinky violence films as well).

                Not bad for what it is: I found myself somewhat entertained most of the time even though I'm not a fan of (soft) porno comedies. What's also nice is that we have the cast speaking in their own tongues: no dubbing here. Kelly speaks English, and a few sentences of (understandable) Japanese here and there, the rest of the cast speaks Japanese and a few sentences of (understandable, again) English here and there.

                The film is a fun curiosity, but don't kill yourself if you never get to see it.

                Here are some stills

                As a very pleasant surprise, Sharon Kelly had sent a new video greeting to the Japanese audiences, which was played before the film. She shared some memories about working on the film, such as having no idea what was going on half of the time. She recalled how in one scene they gave her a machine gun but she didn't really know who she was to be shooting at. She also remembered the costumes, some of which were utterly ridiculous (as you can see in the poster). She also said she got along well with director Yamaguchi, whom she found much hotter with his cool 70s look and sunglasses than her co-star Tatsuo Umemiya.

                [Umemiya, of course, had a very different opinion about his charm. Apparently he claimed in an interview back in 1974 that Kelly was so under his spell that they had real sex in the film. Almost certainly not true!]

                [Oh, and Kelly was no stranger to Japanese audiences prior to the film's release. Her American films Teenage Bride (1970), A Scream in the Streets (1973), and The Dirty Mind of Young Sally (1973) had been released theatrically in Japan in 1973-1974, and the Japanese late night TV program "11 PM" had been covering her several times].

                And here's some unrelated program playing in Laputa

                Oh, and I also visited Meguro Cinema to see Mad Max: Fury Road again. Fury Road had a successful mainstream release last summer, but has become a real cult hit since then, playing in almost every indie cinema who are organizing cosplay events, double screenings with older Mad Max movies, and other program around the film. Meguro Cinema had "Thunder Screenings" where the volume had been cranked up. All the theatre staff was also dressed as the film's characters.

                Japanese theatrical posters from the original films

                This guy was also promoting the screenings on the street


                • Thanks for the coverage, Takuma.


                  • I just had the real life Abashiri Prison yakuza film experience on my way home. Try to imagine the scene:

                    It's a winter afternoon in Hokkaido. Cold, snow everywhere, and the train travels between a long line of mountains (on the right) and a freezing semi-story sea (on the left). I'm sitting in the train when an old man, maybe in his late 70s, boards the train. He's wearing a thick coat and a huge winter hat, and he looks just like Kanjuro Arashi (the "Devil Tiger") in the Abashiri Prison series. He sits down, looks at the sea through the window, and start singing in quiet, low and broken voice something that sounded like theme song from a 1960s Toei yakuza film. He kept singing all the way for about 25 minutes.

                    That was cool as fuck.

                    I imagined his story. Born in the late 1930, joined yakuza since he was a kid. Had some trouble with law numerous times and finally went to prison in his late 20s in 1967 for killing his wife and her lover. He was sentenced for 18 years, but got out after 15 (in 1982) for good behaviour. He came back to his gang, but in 1989 at the age of 51 he started his own gang. He had become an honourable yakuza who took care of young men who had been in trouble with the law. They were running a gambling business in a small fisherman town. In the mid 90s a dishonourable gang led by a man who looked like Bin Amatsu came to the town and started exploiting innocent people. It went on until he couldn't stand it anymore, and he went and stabbed the villain to death on October 3rd 1996. He got 19 years this time, and was released from Abashiri Prison today.

                    Here's a bit more to get you into mood.

                    Abashiri Prison theme:

                    Trailer for the 7th movie:
                    Senior Member
                    Last edited by Takuma; 01-20-2016, 09:51 AM.


                    • I love this thread! Thanks, Takuma.
                      Check out my F'dup Flix blog for more musings on disreputable films.

                      Latest post: The "Halloween" series


                      • Originally posted by Takuma View Post
                        Thursday: Poster for A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse (Bakeneko Toruko furo) (1975)

                        A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse was a bit like a dress rehearsal for Wolfguy (1975), only different genre and a bit less outrageous. Nikkatsu actress Naomi Tani is the star of the first third, playing a poor wife tricked by evil husband Hideo Murota to work in a brothel. She's eventually killed by Murota and his lover, but her spirit returns to haunt them, first as a cat, and then as a white faced creature that looks like a runway cast member from a CATS musical. Boobs, violence, supernatural horror that isn't scary in the least, ultra-funky score, occasional apocalyptic sunsets, and bloody cat attacks (where the evidently bored and not-aggressive-at-all cat is being thrown through the air by the staff). It's a fun film and never boring, but the climax isn't quite as far-out as one would wish, especially when compared to the amazing Wolfguy. Consider it Yamaguchi's House-lite, Toei Porno style.

                        I scanned a few still photos from Sugisaku's pinky violence book. Quality is poor, though, and they make the film look more violent than it really is. Anyway.

                        And here's two tiny color pics from the internet


                        • A few pictures from the Noboru Tanaka retro in Cinema Vera. Unfortunately some of the most beautiful posters had already been taken down by the time I got there as those films were not playing anymore.

                          I was happy to see strong attendance in the screenings, especially on Thursday which was a national holiday. I counted about a dozen females in the Abe Sada screening, including two pretty girls sitting in front of me. Most of them seemed to have come alone or with a female friend.

                          Village of Doom & Monster Woman '88

                          Beauty's Exotic Dance: Torture & A Woman Called Sada Abe

                          Midnight Fairy

                          Amorous Family: Like a Fox and a Racoon

                          Noboru Ando's Account of Filthy Escape into Sex

                          Female Teacher

                          I wrote mini-reviews of some of the films I saw.

                          Amorous Family: Like a Fox and a Racoon (Japan, 1972) [DCP] - 1/5
                          It is odd that Noboru Tanaka, one of the most talented arthouse directors who worked in the Roman Porno series, is also responsible for possibly the most nerve shattering idiot comedy the genre ever produced. It's about a family who are all after the dead-sick grandmother's hidden family jewels. Leading girl Mari Tanaka aside, the characters are all amazingly irritating cartoon caricatures constantly goofing around and making the viewer feel suicidal. This is the first time in 10 years that I've slept in cinema, and it was entirely intentional as I just couldn't take it anymore. Terrible, absolutely terrible.

                          Midnight Fairy (Japan, 1973) [DCP] - 4/5
                          A desperate young man ditched by his girlfriend hooks up with a mentally challenged prostitute. Together they set out for a journey that includes kidnapping, raping and kissing goodbye for the rules of the society. This is a superb, overlooked arthouse Roman Porno by Noboru Tanaka. Tanaka lets his camera wander on the streets, beautifully capturing the early 1970s locations and atmosphere. He also creates fantastic, carefully staged images such as baby on a bar desk. It's pretty poignant too: Tanaka seems to suggest that in a civilized society the only innocent person is a retarded prostitute who is too dumb to lie, cheat, and use violence. The film never feels pretentious, though; rather the contrary. It's fun, playful and relatively fast paced. On the minus side the continuity and logic don't always hold water, though Tanaka and supporting actor Nobutaka Masutomi seem to acknowledge this sometimes makes fun of it.

                          Noboru Ando's Account of Filthy Escape into Sex (Japan, 1976) [35mm] - 3/5
                          The recently deceased gangster film star Noboru Ando was the real deal: a former yakuza leader who was sent to prison after his man nearly killed a blackmail victim on his order. After his release, Ando became an actor, starring in several fictional movies as well as films based on his own life. The accuracy of these films is probably best demonstrated by the fact that Ando sometimes dies at the end of the story. This film, directed for Toei by Nikkatsu import Noboru Tanaka, shows Ando's fugitive days before his capture. According the Chris D, his sexual exploits were exaggerated "just a wee bit" and that's easy to believe. Here Ando spends his time hiding from the police by taking turns banging his 3 girlfriends and several one night (or one afternoon in front of the pool) stands. It's moderately fun and sleazy, and Ando has his dangerous charm, but one wishes there would be more violence and crime film imagery. The ending is quite a delighting "fuck you" to the police, though.

                          Beauty's Exotic Dance: Torture (Japan, 1977) [35mm] - 4/5
                          Leave it to Noboru Tanaka to deliver the most intelligent SM film found in the Roman Porno genre. The final and best film in Tanaka's Showa Mad Love trilogy, it's a true account of a writer/artist with an obsession on the beauty of female torture. After his own wife has been consumed by the physical stress, he hooks up with a bar girl (Junko Miyashita) who, likewise, goes thru an enormous amount of physical stress until her mind and body give up. Tanaka is more interested in the mental aspect of an SM relationship, and its consequences on both body and mind, than exploitation. The usual villain-victim angle is completely ignored. He creates an interesting character drama with several haunting scenes, using silence especially well, and some impressive images in the brutal winter nature where most of the SM scenes are set. Newcomers be warned, though, it's still a rough film and the line between misogynist exploitation and character drama may not always be so clear.

                          Village of Doom (Japan, 1983) [35mm] - 3.5/5
                          As a truly odd move, Roman Porno director Noboru Tanaka went to "family film studio" Shochiku for a movie that is not only full of sex, but also so violent it would've been considered a prime example of a video nasty had it been released in the UK back in the days. It's a film that belongs to a genre I like very much: the "something odd going on in a small village" movies. The film follows a young man, unfit for army, who is left practically alone with all the women after the other men are sent to war. He ends up getting seduced by the horny housewives, then dumped by everyone when their husbands return. He eventually goes crazy and conducts an amazingly bloody massacre, the kind that hasn't been seen in Japanese cinema since then until Miike's Lesson of Evil. A fascinating movie, and very bleak. Potentially harmful for mental health. And based on true story. Co-star Misako Tanaka is very cute, btw, and gets naked.

                          Monster Woman '88 (Japan, 1988) [35mm] - 2.5/5
                          Noboru Tanaka's final movie is a trendy fantasy / mystery / love story with video game programmers as main characters! A dead woman begins communicating with a young video game programmer via his computer. What's going on? This is one of those movies that keep your interest from beginning to end without ever being especially good. It's strictly a mainstream affair without any exploitation, but the programmer angle is pretty cool indeed. There's also an amusing otaku love story side plot with the guys hiring a pretty girl with big boobs to help them beat the coding deadline, despite her complete lack of programming skills.

                          My return flight did not go quite as planned. My flight got cancelled due to bad weather and I was left in Tokyo without accommodation. So what does Takuma figure out? "There's a clown movie all nighter in Shin Bungeiza. Problem solved!" I stayed there from 23:00 until around 4am and then went to wait for the first train... which broke down after 15 minutes. Somehow I still managed to get to the airport by 5:45 and miraculously managed to board the 6:05 flight.

                          Of course it was just my luck that the films played were in German, Japanese and Spanish (and no, my Japanese subtitle reading skills still aren't up to much), and the only English language film played after I had left. But there was positive irony to the one Japanese film being Tanaka's Watcher in the Attic, which I missed at the retro because it screened before I landed in Tokyo. The last time I had seen the film was on Finnish TV about 7 year ago.


                          • A few photos from Norifumi Suzuki festival in Cinema Vera

                            I'm sure they will have new posters on display later when films like Killing Machine screen. Unfortunately I could stay only for a few days. I caught School of the Holy Beast, Star of David, Red Peony Gambler 2, Roaring Fire, The Great Chase, and Shogun's Ninja. All 35mm. So much fun!


                            • There was another Norifumi Suzuki retrospective in Shin Bungeiza about two years ago. I don't think I have posted pictures before.

                              Outside the theatre

                              Lobby. Posters for other program

                              Suzuki Retro program + mini posters on the left. 28 films in total.

                              They screened 9 of the 10 Truck Yaro films. One was excluded because there was no decent 35mm print available

                              Dolls of the Shogun's Harem + Ninja's Mark

                              Onsen geisha films

                              I saw the two Onsen Geisha films, which are fun but forgettable time wasters (and feature underage Reiko Ike!), Dolls of Shogun's Harem, which was amazing to see on large screen, and Ninja's Mark, which is a pretty cool ninja exploitation film.


                              • I also visited Shin Bungeiza's all night screening the other week. Their all nighters are a real mixed bag. Sometimes you get BD screenings, even DVD, and sometimes you get all night of 35mm greatness. This time it was J Taro Sugisaku's "Film School" Vol. 2.


                                22:30 Talk show
                                23:25 Minato no Yoko, Yohohama, Yokosuka (1975) (35mm)
                                01:05 Girl's Pleasure: Man Hunting (1977) (35mm)
                                02:25 Rugby Yaro (1975) (35mm)
                                04:15 Trail of Blood (1972) (35mm)
                                05:45 Finish

                                That's what I call a quality program. Four interesting films, none of which are available on dvd in Japan (Trail of Blood has a R1 dvd release, though, and Girl's Pleasure is available for streaming in Japan; the other two are impossibly difficult to see), and all on 35mm!

                                Only Trail of Blood of Blood was screened from the Mikogami trilogy, but they'd put up posters for the whole trilogy + 1 additional film

                                Minato no Yoko, Yohohama, Yokosuka and Girl's Pleasure: Man Hunting

                                Minato no Yoko, Yohohama, Yokosuka

                                From the right: Hayato Tani, J Taro Sugisaku, a guy whose name I forgot

                                Shin Bungeiza's 10m screen is totally awesome.

                                Minato no Yoko, Yohohama, Yokosuka was a real discovery. A crazy disco dance youth film plays out like a Japanese Saturday Night Fever with a murder suspect plot. Expect psychedelic clubs, dance till you drop dead all night dance marathon competitions and Downtown Boogie Woogie Band whose song gave the film its title and who appear in the super cool intro scene.

                                Girl's Pleasure: Man Hunting I have already discussed elsewhere, Rugby Yaro will be reviewed in the Chiba thread in the future, and Trail of Blood probably doesn't need further introductions (I'll probably post a mini-review somewhere later anyway).

                                So, yeah, that was an awesome nigh. I managed to get back to my capsule hotel by 7 am, sleep till 13:30, then head to Cinema Vera and Laputa Asagaya for three more movies. Learn from the pro, kids!