Archive for the Japan Category

FUN WITH GIFs: Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975)

Posted in Fun with GIFs, Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2014 by goregirl

In keeping with my current Kaiju obsession here are two gifs from Ishiro Honda’s 1976 film Terror of Mechagodzilla. Eyes and lasers! Look out!


Katsura Mafune (Tomoko Ai) once a lovely human lady is transformed into a cyborg by the aliens.



Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: Toshiaki Tsushima – Girl Boss Guerilla (1972)

Posted in Goregirl's Dungeon on YouTube, Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by goregirl

Music and Images from GIRL BOSS GUERILLA (1972) directed by Noribumi Suzuki. Music by Toshiaki Tsushima. Starring Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto and Emi Jo. Special thanks to THE BIG BUST OUT BLOG for posting this music.

girl boss guerilla

For more images from GIRL BOSS GUERILLA (1972) click here.

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: The Words Get Stuck in my Throat from The War of the Gargantuas

Posted in Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , on February 12, 2014 by goregirl

Music and images from Ishirô Honda’s The War of the Gargantuas (1966). This track was clipped right from the film; the actress who plays the lounge singer in The War of the Gargantuas is Kipp Hamilton and the film’s score was composed by Akira Ifukube.

Have a goretacular weekend!

THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS (1966) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2014 by goregirl

There are dozens and dozens of films I love and adore that came out of Japan in the 1960s. It was the golden age of Japanese cinema; the Japanese new wave as it is sometimes called. Mikio Naruse, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Kaneto Shindô and Akira Kurosawa; just a few of the brilliant directors whose work I adore. For all of my admiration and the considerable artistic merits of the aforementioned there is no Japanese director whose work I have seen more of, or given more repeat viewings to then the work of Ishirô Honda. In fact, there may be no other director period, except for John Waters (ain’t NOBODY topping Mr. Waters) whose films I have re-watched more times than Ishirô Honda’s. There are a few terribly corny stories I like to share when I discuss Godzilla or Mr. Honda. I have shared these stories on this site and elsewhere but dammit I’m going to share them again. My parents took turns holding me as they watched Godzilla the day they brought me home from the hospital. I loved Godzilla even as a toddler and would make roaring-like noises and stomp on toys. In grade school I put up with being mocked by my little girlfriends for carrying a Godzilla lunchbox. I have always, and will always love the original 1954 Godzilla. I re-watch it regularly. It is not the only Ishiro Honda I have watched repeatedly. It is possible that I have seen Destroy All Monsters almost as many times as Godzilla over the years. These two films were the first DVD purchases I made. Other multiply watched Honda faves are Mothra, Mothra Vs. Godzilla, Rodan, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, The Terror of Mechagodzilla and today’s subject review The War of the Gargantuas. On a recent buying frenzy I finally replaced my VHS copies and bought all six of these Toho films for my collection. These films are tremendously entertaining and admittedly part of their charm is that they take me back to my childhood. As a grown up however I can appreciate these films on a new and different level. The tremendous and tedious work of putting together these epic adventures is pretty mind-blowing. They feature a tremendous amount of hand-made miniatures created only to be smashed to bits. The men who play the monsters which I covered briefly in a feature last week should be given the respect they deserve for performing in these hot heavy costumes for hours on end. Some of Japan’s most talented actors and actresses are featured in these films too. The wonderful Takashi Shimura (a huge favourite of mine), Ken Uehara, Minoru Chiaki and Kyôko Kagawa to name a few. Once in a while an American actor was brought in like Raymond Burr for the Americanized 1956 version of Godzilla (Godzilla, King of the Monsters!) and Russ Tamblyn for The War of the Gargantuas. I could recommend any of the Toho films I’ve mentioned here as I love them all; Godzilla (1954) and Destroy All Monsters are still my ultimate two favourites however but since I have reviewed them both I was forced to make a choice. It was a damn tough choice too! After much inner turmoil I thought The War of the Gargantuas was the most worthy of a review. The titular Gargantuas get more screen time than most of the monsters in the aforementioned titles. It has the most empathetic and human creatures, some of the best miniatures in the series and has one of the most epic monster battles in any of the Toho films I’ve seen. I love The War of the Gargantuas so much that the words get stuck in my throat.



“Captain, a giant octopus!” The giant octopus grabs the man and death is imminent. But Suddenly the Octopus disappears! He peeks cautiously through the window to see Gargantua attacking the giant octopus!


“That is…Frankenstein. I told you before, Gargantua looks like a Frankenstein!” The authorities are anxious to know what happened to the other four crew members of the lost vessel. They refuse to believe the lone survivors story that the other four men were attacked by a Gargantua. Come on now Japanese authorities! Do you, or do you not have a problem with giant monsters? By 1966 Japan was overrun with them!


They have recovered clothing belonging to the ship’s crew. “Why are they torn like that? They look like they’ve been chewed and spat out.” Suddenly lone survivor’s story ain’t sounding so crazy eh Cheif Izumida? Eh?


Cheif Izumida makes a call. “Make a long distance call to Kyoto. Office of Dr. Stewart, the expert on Frankenstein.” See what I mean? A “Frankenstein Expert”? The fact that there is a “Frankenstein Expert” should automatically legitimize any claims of such existing. Or at very least given some serious thought!


“Professor, it’s a call from Yokosuka Maritime Safety Agency.” Dr. Stewart “frankenstein expert” and his team.


Akemi (love interest), Dr. Stewart’s assistant working with the baby Gargantua. Dr. Stewart refuses to believe that the Gargantua/Frankenstein they raised in their facility would ever harm a human being, never mind eat one.


More Gargantua related terror! Disaster at Uraga Strait!



“It’s a Gargantua! Run! Run!” Yet another headline and sighting of a Gargantua! “Is it Frankenstein? Terror at Miura Peninsula”


Dr. Stewart and Akemi hike up the mountain with a team to investigate a Gargantua sighting.




“Haneda Airport is in an emergency situation!”





Folks enjoying a lounge act on a lovely summer evening. The rousing version of The Words Get Stuck in My Throat ends with a visit from Gargantua. The delicious looking songstress is just about to be dinner when the place is set aglow with light. It turns out that Gargantua has a fear of light; he drops the songstress and makes for the water.


Time to bust out the military.



They do some damage to the Gargantua.


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A larger brown Gargantua shows up to save it! What? Two Gargantuas?! SHIT!



“From now on sea Frankenstein will be called Gailah and mountain Frankenstein Sanda.”


Sanda peeking through the trees.


Gailah emerging from the water.


Dr. Stewart’s team finds some skin and wonders if it is Gailah’s. “It looks like his tissues.”



Sanda’s and Gailah’s cells are identical “This proves that these two Frankensteins are brothers.”




“Hold on Tight!” Akemi slips and falls and Sanda comes to her rescue. “You remember me!” Sanda does seem to remember his time in the lab with Akemi.


“If we attack them Sanda and Gailah will be blown to pieces. Their cells would be scattered not only over Tokyo but all of Japan! Than countless Sandas and Galiahs would emerge!” Not good.


The menace Galiah attacks another part of the city.


Dr. Stewart and Akemi are attacked by Galiah.

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First Dr. Stewart tells Akemi she is the most important person and then he admits that her theory was correct about Sanda. Someone is definitely getting laid tonight.


Sanda. Ready!


Galiah. Ready!



Lasers are employed to kill the creatures.


Sanda picks up a boat like it is a toy and attacks Galiah.


Underwater volcanoes erupt around the giant creatures.



War of the Gargantuas opens with a giant octopus and Gargantua fight and never lets up. This is one of the liveliest of the monster movies and has very little chatter between creature sightings. The monster mayhem is evenly scattered throughout. The first half of the film focuses specifically on Galiah who is a giant wrecking ball! I loved the scene when the military is attacking him and and he is picking up tanks one by one and smashing houses with them! The Gargantuas are the most human-like of any of the Kaiju; sort of a cross between a man and ape with a Frankenstein twist and a wee bit of yeti vibe. There are not too many creatures in the world of giant monsters that elicit empathy but Sanda is definitely one that does. Sanda was raised by humans and still feels a connection to them where his counterpart sees them as the enemy and a snack. Sanda comes down from his mountain home to save Gailah; a home where he managed to safely avoid human beings. Sanda puts his life in peril not once but twice. Once to save Galiah from the humans and again to save the humans from Galiah. It is a bittersweet story; very much like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The minatures are amazing and very realistic; the airport is particularly impressive. Almost all of these Kaiju flicks seem to have a love interest bit but the connection between Dr. Stewart and Akemi is very low-key and not at all unpleasant. Kumi Mizuno who plays Akemi is a lovely, likable and talented actress who fits her role perfectly. Russ Tamblym is dubbed in Japanese but is nonetheless a handsome and beguilling presence as Dr. Stewart. Dr Stewart and Akemi are really the only two human characters that get focus, everyone else comes and goes with little impact. The real highlight here of course are the Gargantuas Sanda and Gailah. I recently did a feature on suit acting where I focus on Toho’s most prolific performer; Haruo Nakajima. Besides the original Godzilla, Nakajima considers his role as Sanda to be his best creature performance. Part of the effectiveness comes from Nakajima’s ability to emote with his eyes. Sanda is the only creature suit he donned that exposed an actual part of his face. Yû Sekida is also outstanding as Gailah. The two men worked extremely well together. The battle between them in the film’s finale; mutually coordinated by the men is one of the best in any creature feature! My only complaint is not about the film itself but rather the quality of the DVD. This was a Toho Masters Collection DVD and the images were not clear and the night shots were very dark. If you click on any of the pictures to make them larger you will see what I mean. The War of the Gargantuas has everything you could ask for in a giant monster movie. A solid story, an energetic pace, monster sightings at regular intervals, copious chaos and destruction, great effects, a groovy soundtrack and an epic monster battle to end it all. The War of the Gargantuas gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Tomorrow…music from The War of the Gargantuas!!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Ishirô Honda

Starring: Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Nobuo Nakamura, Jun Tazaki, Hisaya Itô, Yoshifumi Tajima, Ren Yamamoto, Kipp Hamilton, Kôzô Nomura, Nadao Kirino, Haruo Nakajima, Yû Sekida


Posted in Japan, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2014 by goregirl

Female Prisoner Scorpion is a series of Japanese pinky violence films that are based on a comic by Tōru Shinohara. Today’s subject film Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 was directed by Shunya Ito who directed three films in the series beginning with Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972) and ending with Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (1973). All three films star the beautiful and intense Meiko Kaji. Kaji also stars in one of my long time favourites The Tattooed Swordswoman as well as Lady Snowblood which has gained some notoriety thanks to Quentin Tarantino. I loved Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 so much that I immediately marched my ass to Black Dog Video to rent the first film in the series Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion. I recognized instantly having seen the film; but I was obviously past due for a revisit. I enjoyed the hell out of Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion, so much so I actually considered reviewing it instead of Jailhouse 41; it is after all the first in the series. What tipped the scales in Jailhouse 41’s favor was the visuals. Don’t misunderstand 701 is a slick-looking film and comes highly recommended but Ito adds so many interesting and imaginative details to Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 I could not help but feel just slightly more admiration for it. For those new to this genre and interested in checking it out just be warned pinky violence is not for squeamish. Simply put, pink is a term for sex, and that is what you get in a pinky violence film; sex and violence. Every pinky violence film includes rape and usually multiple scenes of rape but it also offers up some ass-kicking bad-ass ladies who get some sweet, sweet revenge. For fans of seventies exploitation the Female Prisoner Scorpion series is mandatory viewing.

Don’t forget…you can click on the pictures for a larger view.


“There’s been no trouble since we put you here a year ago.”

In the opening scene of Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 we meet Matsu who has been kept chained up in “the hole” and is in some seriously rough shape. Warden Goda put her in the hole after she took his eye. As far as he is concerned she can rot down in the prison basement. Unfortunately the prison is having an inspection and Goda is forced to allow her to join the other prisoners for the day.



“Goda, I’m impressed with your perfect management.” The inspector has spoken too soon and a scare from a suddenly lively Matsu literally makes him shit his pants. This initiates a storm of laughter and incites the other prisoners to start a riot.


The women are forced to work in a nearby quarry as punishment. “Severe punishment will only make Matsu the girl’s idol.” Goda intends to humiliate Matsu and sends four guards to rape her as the other prisoners looks on.


“Acting like a dog in front of the girls! Shameless!” On the way back from the day’s punishment the small group in the vehicle with Matsu harass her and kick her repeatedly until her body flops lifelessly.


Prisoner Rose screams over and over that Scorpion is dead which provokes the guards to stop the truck and investigate. The guard kicks Matsu a couple of times and discerns she is dead. Of course the indestructible Scorpion jumps up and uses her handcuffs to throttle the guard. The other prisoners use the opportunity to take out the second guard. Freedom sweet freedom!



The prisoners leave a love letter for Goda and his monkey sidekick Oki.



Matsu stares intently at Oba who does not like to be stared at. Oba is one of the freakiest, baddest bitches to grace celluloid! Oba has a chilling icy stare, gravelly voice, unapologetic lack of empathy, brutally violent behavior and one hell of a barbaric back story! Oba killed her two young children just to spite her cheating husband. The older child she drowned and the second she stabbed to death while it was still in the womb!





The women are visited by a spirit under the guise of an old woman.

“Women commit crimes because of men. Driven by love, hatred and jealousy. Listen to my story of these seven sinful girls.” We get a brief summary of each of the women’s crimes with the exception of Matsu. Matsu was framed in the first film by her piece of shit boyfriend and is not guilty of the crimes for which she was charged. Frankly I didn’t think the woman who killed her lover because he beat up her son or the woman who killed her father because he was trying to violate her were entirely in the wrong either.


“I’ll curse them.” I wasn’t really sure if the old spirit woman meant the men chasing them or the sinful women.


One of the women can not resist going to see her son who lives near to the place the group have found shelter. Unfortunately, two prison guards are waiting for her. They send her back and follow behind. The suspicious Matsu is waiting for them.


“Escaped female prisoners seem to be hiding around here.” A group of male tourists on the bus suggest they go look for the prisoners who they figured would be hungry for men.


Rose stumbles upon a trio of the aforementioned male tourists who rape her and kill her.




The women take the trio by force and hold the entire bus as hostages. “You killers!” “They killed our friend for fun!”

They drink the tourists booze, tie up the trio of men and stomp on them a bit before harassing the other passengers.

“Say hurrah!” Oba insists one of the older men shout Banzai with enthusiasm whilst putting his hands in the air. She has the other passengers join in.


A blockade is set up. The police and prison officials are closing in on the women.



This is where I shall leave you hanging and add that the satisfying finale concludes with more than one twist.

There is so much to appreciate about Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41. One of those things however is not its literal title. The titles of these films make me nuts; mainly because when I am discussing them with people I screw them up. The “Jailhouse 41” is completely unnecessary! We already know she is a convict, the jailhouse shit is redundant. And furthermore why is the first film Female “Prisoner” instead of “Convict” or vice versa? Why are they different? Why? Bloody hell! The visuals in the film really are brilliant. There are loads of beautiful point of view shots; looking up, looking down. When Goda first visits Matsu in the hole we get a series of perspectives from her lower vantage point. She looks tiny compared to her aggressor. When Matsu is being raped by the prison guards we first see the horrifying shots of men’s distorted stocking-covered faces followed by a shot of the women prisoners looking down at her as she is being violated. There are so many of these shots throughout the film I could not possibly note them all but each one is perfectly executed and mutually effective. The supernatural spin in the film worked extremely well and added nicely to the bad mojo vibe these women had hovering above them. It was such an interesting and visually creative way to tell each woman’s story if a few sentences. The prisoners are eliminated over the course of the film in various tragic ways. I especially felt bad about Rose who along with Matsu were the two empathetic characters of the group. There are also very sleek special effects used; the tree impalement imagery I included was one of the best. Female Convict Scorpion wastes no time getting into its story and keeps things lively and continually moving and changing from beginning to end. Finally the performances, which were enjoyable across the board from the most minor to the feature roles. Kayoko Shiraishi who plays Oba was an unfamiliar face but it is her character that stuck with me the most; more so than the film’s lovely bad-ass heroine. Shiraishi’s look and delivery were very unique and I thought she was extremely convincing as the brutal Oba. Her resume is pretty thin and includes some voice work; no surprise there, the woman has a compelling and unusual voice. Since I already spoke on Meiko Kaji who plays Matsu/Scorpion in my opening paragraph I will only add that Kaji is a woman who carries herself with assured confidence that makes her so very convincing in these types of roles. Kaji speaks only one line in the entire film. Fumio Watanabe who plays Goda will be a familiar face to fans of sixties and seventies Japanese cinema. Watanabe appeared in Yasujirô Ozu’s Late Autumn, Nagisa Ôshima’s Naked Youth, Pleasures of the Flesh and Violence at Noon as well as several exploitation gems like Teruo Ishii’s The Joy of Torture, Kenji Misumi’s Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance, Shigehiro Ozawa’s The Streetfighter, and one of my very favourite nunsploitation film’s Noribumi Suzuki’s School of the Holy Beast. That is a just a small sampling from the man’s resume! Watanabe has an intimidating and authoritative presence that always leaves an impression. Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41 along with its predecessor Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion are two of the most wildly entertaining Japanese exploitation films I have ever seen! Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41 gets my highest of recommendations a perfect score! Furthermore these two films have been added to my personal collection! Say Banzai!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Shunya Ito

Starring: Meiko Kaji, Fumio Watanabe, Kayoko Shiraishi, Yuki Arasa, Hiroko Isayama, Yukie Kagawa, Hôsei Komatsu, Gôzô Sôma


Meiko Kaji as Scorpion