Nikkatsu

discs death force and vampire hookers

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Drive-In Collection: Death Force / Vampire Hookers In Death Force, Doug Russell (James Iglehart) is a soldier on the way home to his wife and infant son, but when he runs afoul of two supposed friends he’s left for dead in the middle of the ocean. Luckily he washes up on an island beach where he’s found, nursed back to health, and trained in the way of the samurai by two Japanese soldiers unaware that their war (WWII) ended years prior. Vampire Hookers doesn’t really need a synopsis, does it? Vinegar Syndrome’s latest double feature of obscure drive-in favorites is one of the good ones thanks mostly to the first feature. At its core it’s a revenge flick, but the story touches and fight choreography make it a surprisingly good time. In its uncut incarnation, aka Vengeance Is Mine!, it does for decapitations and gut slashings what Olympus Has Fallen did for head shots. Better, the numerous fight scenes are actually pretty great. And best? The ending! Vampire Hookers meanwhile comes from the same director (Cirio H. Santiago) but is a completely different beast tone-wise. It’s a comedy through and through, complete with physical gags, bats on strings, and a very vampy John Carradine. The seven minute-long (but relatively tame) sex scene stands out though. [DVD extras: Trailer]

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nikkatsu 2

Japan’s oldest major film studio, Nikkatsu Corporation, began producing romantic pornography (aka Roman Pornos) in the 1970s. The movies are a mix of sex, nudity, violence and nuttiness, and while they range from dramas to comedies the focus never veers very far from the obscene and offensive. The studio has been out of the business for a while now, but Impulse Pictures is resurrecting the films on DVD. I covered a pair of releases last year (review here), and while one of them managed to be both funny and sexy the other was too rape-happy for my tastes. One bad egg wasn’t going to ruin the entirety of pink cinema for me though, so being the consummate professional that I am I’ve gone spelunking once more in the fleshy caverns of Nikkatsu’s back catalog with two recent releases from Impulse.

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According to Deadline Tokyo, John Woo will director his first non-Red Cliff movie since 2003’s Paycheck. Fortunately, he’s chosen something that will definitely facilitate the use of slow motion doves. He’ll be tackling the world of the Yakuza for a remake of the 1963 Seijun Suzuki film Youth of the Beast, which will aptly be titled Day of the Beast. Production will be handled by Lion Rock and Nikkatsu – Japan’s oldest major movie studio which celebrates a full century in business this year. According to the release, the movie “follows a western outsider with a grim past as he becomes embroiled in a global turf war between a vicious new breed of Yakuza and old school Cold War Russian mobsters. It’s an action-packed saga of loyalty, revenge and redemption which erupts in the heart of Tokyo.” Yes, yes, and yes. The original was a 60s-trippy, frantic crime story with a lot of ins and outs (and whathaveyous), so it’ll be fertile ground for Woo to get as weird as he wants to be.

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