Genre: Bad-Girl Gang Brawls Extraordinaire
review in one breath
Beneath the facade of the Hope Reform School for Girls is a seedy and corrupt administration using the female students for everything from bar hostesses to discipline enforcers. When tough girl gang leader Kazama Noriko is suddenly sent to the school, she finds that cruelty and injustice run rampant. As the powers that be attempt to put the squeeze on Noriko, you can begin to hear the slight tic tic ticking of a very BIG time bomb.
HOLY COW!! There is indeed a WHOLE LOTTA "pinky violence" going on here -- a veritable smorgasbord of sexploitative bizarrities!!
This film is one of four released in December 2005 by Panik House Entertainment under the collective title "Pinky Violence Collection".
The four films in this collection are:
Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (Zenka Onna Karoshi Bushi)
- A 1973 film directed by Mihori Atsushi.
Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai)
- A 1971 film by director Yamaguchi Kazuhiko.
Girl Boss Guerilla (Sukeban Gerira
- A 1972 film by director Suzuki Norifumi.
Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom
(Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Boukou Rinchi Kyoushitsu)
- A 1973 film (also) by director Suzuki Norifumi.
I discuss in some detail the collection as a whole in my review of another of these films, Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess, and so I will not repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that these four films are directed by three different directors (Suzuki Norifumi has two films here) and that most of the films fall somewhere within that director's well established series.
This is the second film of the collection I have seen and thus I am unable to give you comprehensive comparisons at present. However, it is already very apparent that the overall character and degree of "pinky violence" varies significantly among these films. And given some background, this variation is perhaps to be expected.
Within just a few years' time in the early 1970s you can find the emergence and sudden evolution of a particular genre (or sub-genre?) of film wherein the principal character is a tough and formidable female. The earliest of these films emphasize primarily the female character's internal strength and struggles and had very little, if any, nudity or sexploitation. But it was soon decided (or discovered?) that the viewing public wanted more flesh, more eroticism, more PINK. And so these heroine films quickly became notoriously sexploitative and "shocking".
[I should point out that not every heroine film during these years followed this trajectory toward sexploitation. One excellent example is the 1973 Lady Snowblood which creates a wonderfully traditional and strong female character without even a nod toward its contemporary rivals' "pink" trend.]
And this is one important reason behind the differences among the films in this particular collection. Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess is a 1971 film directed by Yamaguchi Kazuhiko who by that time had already directed three prior films in the same "Delinquent Girl" (Zubeko Bancho) series. Thus he represents for the most part the earlier phase of this genre.
The film under review here, however, is a 1973 production of director Suzuki Norifumi who prior to this film had directed an entire series of four "Girl Boss" (Sukeban) films during the period of 1971 to 1973. (The third of this series is also contained in this "Pinky Violence Collection".) Near the end of that series, Suzuki began experimenting with a new theme/series, the "Terrifying Girl's High School" (Kyoufu Joshi Koukou). The film we are reviewing here is the SECOND in this later Suzuki series.
Just months prior to the release of this film, Suzuki directed a film which is perhaps recognized as the cult exemplar of this particular genre, Sex and Fury (1973) starring Ike Reiko as the formidable and bare-breasted heroine Inoshika Ocho. (The popular actress Ike also appears in the current film as Takigawa Maki "leader of 38 Kanto gangs".)
So, Suzuki Norifumi is a name to be reckoned with in this particular genre, as he has produced at least one of the most memorable films therein. And this reputation would be a good justification for the fact that he has two films in this collection. The following is an annotated filmography for Suzuki between the years 1971 and 1973. (A full filmography would include 63 films between 1959 and 1991)
1971 - Sukeban Buruusu: Hinbachi no gyakushuu
"Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Counterattack"
1972 - Sukeban Blues: Hinbachi no chousen
"Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Defiance"
1972 - Sukeban Gurira
"Girl Boss Guerilla"
1972 - Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Onna Bouroku Kyoushitsu
"Terrifying Girls' High School: Violent Girls' Classroom
1973 - Sukeban
1973 - Furyo anego den: Inoshika Ocho
"Delinquent Elder Sister: Inoshika Ocho" (aka "Sex and Fury")
1973 - Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Bouroku Rinchi Kyoushitsu
"Terrifying Girl's High School: Lynch Law Classroom"
Top billing in the current film seems to go to Ike Reiko who at the time was the most well-known name amongst the cast. However, the storyline's most central character is played by Sugimoto Miki, a similarly popular female actress during these years and particularly within these "pinky" or sexploitative films. Sugimoto was cast in every one of Suzuki's films listed above, though often as a (slightly) secondary character. (One film in which she does play the lead character is director Nakajima Sadao's 1973 Sukeban: Kanka-in dassou ("Girl Boss: Reform School Escape") as Aoki Ruriko.)
The administration of the Hope Reform School for Girls likes to refer to itself as also "the Graveyard of Delinquents". Run by chairmnan Sato Shigeru who holds promising political aspirations and Vice Principal Ishihara whose extra-curriciluar interests center around shmoozing with the socially powerful, sheer conflicts of interest have turned this otherwise well-intentioned school into a zoo of inappropriate behavior and exploitation.
Keeping the student body in line is the "Disciplinary Committee", a group of particularly brutal girls appointed by Ishihara and they quickly demonstrate themselves capable of sadistic murder. These girls run the school with an iron hand during the day and at night work as full-blown hostesses at Ishihara's privately owned night club.
Soon after her parole from prison for the crime of assault and battery, Kazuma Noriko, a Shinjuku gang leader is again picked up by the police and sentenced to time at the Hope Reform School for Girls. While enduring the sadistic abuses of the Disciplinary Committee, she learns that her former gang lieutenant Michiyo was recently killed in that very school. Although the police deem her death an accidental plunge from the roof, the truth eventually emerges that she died while being "disciplined" by the Committee.
Though Noriko vows revenge, she soon discovers that the Disciplinary Committee acts wholly under the protection of Ishihara and that his personal connections to leaders in local government such as the police chief and the mayor himself make the Committee virtually immune from retaliation...
...Unless of course, Noriko, with the help of some dedicated friends, decides to make her target the very heart of this institutionalized debauchery.
For some reason I have recently been watching almost exclusively heroine-centric films from the early 1970s and am slowly getting my bearings within all the variety herein. Of those films I have seen thus far, this one most successfully pushes the envelope in terms of controversial content while maintaining a very engaging storyline.
By that I mean that the narrative here is quite good, containing just the right recipe for a killer revenge theme in which the audience will truly be cheering for the underdog. Of course, audiences cheer only as loudly as the characters are convincing, and so too here the cast and their roles do in fact contribute to the traction of this story. A tough yet likeable girl finds herself in an abusive reform school which is virtually run by student thugs who take advantage of the weaker, all under the smirking corruption of the administration. Can you hear that ticking time bomb?
So YES, the plot is all here and the potential (and payoff) for MAJOR revenge pay-back is literally oozing. But to make this a truly "Pinky Violence" film, director Suzuki must (?) then throw in the following:
- Razor blade fights
- Vigorous Hand Jobs
- Torture by Light Bulb and Electric Shock
- Butt Baring Bathhouse Brawls (aka BBBB)
- Rape and Suicide
- Mandatory digital "sex checks"
- Quasi (Fake) Surgical Torture
- Impressive 1973 vibrators (!)
- Toilet humiliation
- Orgies Galore
- And one Full-Out Student Riot
Get the picture?
Anyway, my point is that director Suzuki actually balances and contains all these pinky elements within his narrative and throughout the entire film skillfully straddles the very thin line which divides obviously gratuitous scenes from scenes which contribute to the momentum of the narrative.
AND YOU ARE THE JUDGE!!
I personally liked this film, and while it is in the same collection as Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess, I consider these two films worlds apart and deem both recommendable for completely different reasons. I'm anxious to see how the other two films in this collection compare and fit into the overall picture.
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.
|A rather gritty and eye-popping extravanagza exemplifying the (successful) extremes of "Pinky Violence".||Oh My! In addition to the requisite cat fights (MEOW!!), knife and slap violence, you'll find herein a veritable encyclopedia of tortures. For example: Torture Trivia Time!! Yes, boys and girls, pubic hair CAN conduct electricity!! YOWZA!!!||Although you never "really" see anything more than (a gazillion) young naked breasts, the many rather, uh, convincing scenes of, uh, SHEER debauchery just might have you hitting that rewind button (more than once). I'm just saying...||This one gets honorable mention for almost bending the laws of physics by cramming this HUGE amount of truly PINK content into a compelling narrative without causing audiences to giggle or roll eyes.|