Sex and Fury

A young girl witnesses the murder of her father who is a detective and the only clue to his killers are three cards which carry the pictures of a deer, a boar and a butterfly, but what does it mean?

The years pass and the girl has grown into a beautiful young woman who goes by the name of Ochô Inoshika, played by Japanese exploitation superstar Reiko Ike (. Having survived a tough life as a female orphan in patriarchal Japan, Ochô has to been strong and streetwise and prepared to use whatever means she had at hand, which quite often means her naked body. A skilled gambler and blade wielding streetfighter, Ochô finds herself thrown into a deadly confrontation with powerful, scheming factions whose true identity could be the key to her own revenge.

Sex and Fury is in many ways summed up by its title, as the character, Ochô's personality is easily summed up by both. A woman driven by a burning inner fury who will use sex as a weapon if she needs to (and this being an exploitation film it's pretty much guaranteed she is going to need to … a lot.) Reiko Ike (Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom, Girl Boss Guerilla, Female Yakuza Tale) is Joined in the film by Swedish exploitation sex-bomb, Christina Lindberg, best known for the Tarantino-influencing cult classic Thriller, A Cruel Picture AKA They Call Her One Eye. So, you know there is going to be a serious dose a naked. Christina plays Christina, a British spy and devil at the card table in the employ of a sleazy Brit on a mission to destabilise the emerging power of Japan and start another Opium war. Unknown to her boss, Christina became a spy to travel to Japan to find a former lover, a Japanese son of a man wronged by the same powerful group that Ochô is taking on. Needless to say, a degree of co-operation ensues to take on the mutual foes.

Enough of the plot, though, as needless to say it really performs as a vehicle to drive the sex and fury onscreen that exploitation audiences hunger for, including a Lady Snowblood-alike scene in which Reiko Ike strips naked and fights her male attackers in a snowbound courtyard. Most of the performances are very good, although the English speaking characters acting and delivery leaves a lot to be desired. I can only imagine the Japanese director was unaware of how bad they sounded, but that's OK as there is nothing wrong with an element of cheese in an exploitation movie and they don’t have a lot of dialogue. I guess I don’t need to tell you that the woman are sexy, the bad guy's eeeevil and the blood flows; it's a prerequisite of this type of movie after all. Reiko Ike is a great actress who really warms up the screen and has a very expressive face. which means she can convey many emotions without saying a word.

As exploitation films go, director Noribumi Suzuki has created a very attractive film; mixing pop art décor, funky seventies kitsch music and creating a great feel of an Eastern nation colliding with, and absorbing, elements of Western culture into its own. Many of the key exploitation elements are there; naked flesh, lesbian encounters, inter-racial love (maybe not exploitative now, but remember its 1973,) torture, gambling, organised crime, prostitution, extreme violence, rape and even a slice of nunsploitation and blasphemy. Fans of female Cult sirens will certainly want to watch out for the scene in which Christina Lindberg dons a swade cowgirl outfit and is made to whip a half naked and chained Reiko Ike.

While it will no doubt draw comparisons to well known Japanese cinema of the period including many samurai films, and the gambling scene at the begging is very remanisant of a Zatoichi movie, Ochô's outcast status similar to that of Ogami Ittô from the Lone Wolf series, it is perhaps Lady Snowblood which will draw the most comparisons and, in terms of setting, it can at times feel like Ochô could pass Meiko Kaji in the street (the same manga was the inspiration for both films). However, the characters are very different; Snowblood's Meiko Kaji is a trained and deadly emotionally controlled beast of vengeance, while Ochô is an emotional, wild spirit of fury, deadly with a blade but she is a rough and ready streetfighter and should the two have ever met in fantasy vs. land you get the feeling Meiko would dispatch Ochô without breaking a sweat. Both films where made in 1973 and both have there place in the collection of any serious fan of Japanese Cult cinema. So leaving aside comparisons and fanboy vs. dreams, Sex and Fury as an introduction to the "bad girl cinema" of Japanese studio Toei is an incredibly entertaining film. Packed with pretty much everything you could ever want from a well made exploitation film and its sequel Female Yakuza Tale is just as good.

Glorious bad girl action, Reiko Ike is indeed sexy and furious, as she slashes and sleeps her way to deadly revenge! 8/10

Sex and Fury - trailer


The Senator Likes Women

Italian senator Gianni Puppis is on the verge of being elected President, but he has a problem. The senator has just found out "He likes women". After years of steadfastly dedication himself to his political career and abstaining from the pleasures of the flesh, senator Puppis's carnal urges are erupting uncontrollably. After being caught on film squeezing the bottom of a visiting female dignitary Puppis finds himself the victim of blackmail. The problem is until now Puppis had no idea he was doing these things, but once his obsession with the female posterior is revealed to him the bouts of ass squeezing come at more regular intervals. Senator Puppies has no choice but to get help for his affliction and with the election coming up he needs it fast. Luckily a Dominican monk who runs a nunnery in the countryside believes he can help, but is it really such a good idea to put the rear end obsessed Senator in a nunnery with 21 beautiful young nuns?

Once at the nunnery Puppis finds his "Sickness" in full swing and it's not long before he sleepwalks his way into the bedrooms of all 21 nuns. Returning home he believes himself cured and he better be because he is the puppet of a power mad Catholic bishop he will stop at nothing to see his man win the election. Unfortunately for Puppis and the Bishop there are a lot of beautiful asses to be squeezed in Italy and Puppis is far from cured.

"We're fucked"
"He’s not cured! He's worse than ever!"
"This means Giacinto doesn’t just touch clothed asses anymore!"
"Now he wants more!"
"He wants naked asses!"

The Senator Likes Women (All'onorevole piacciono le donne) is directed and co-written by "nun" other than Italian cult favorite director Lucio Fulci (The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, Warriors of the Year 2072, Contraband, Conquest). Fulci is generally thought of as a pulp director, even a hack by some and is certainly most famous for his horror and gore than any of his other works. How ever with a directorial career spanning over 30 years and having worked in the industry Fulci turned his hand to quite a few genres and The senator likes women finds him directing a farcical political satire come sex comedy. While much of Fulci's back catalogue has long been plundered by "for the fans, by the fans" DVD labels, their constant pledge to bring weird and interesting films to the DVD market rarely see's them get past the predictable sex and violence. So props must be given to Dagored films for taking the step to release this little gem. Here we have a film the likes of which most cult and film fans in general will not have seen before.

The music is very, very cool in places with the track that plays every time Puppis looses it and starts needing to grab an ass being a must own for me. Fulci's direction is pretty good here and the weird shots and old school special effects are just brilliant. The softly exploitative dream sequence with Senator Puppis grabbing the naked asses of a line of nuns is just fantastic and need to be seen.

"Last night, you dishonoured my entire convent!
You used my nuns to quench your beastly instincts!
You dared to defile twenty-one immaculate bodies!"

The Senator Likes Women takes several elements and blends them together. It can be seen as and works very well as a Rush Myer esque / Carry on films, type sex comedy with a happy dose of female full frontal nudity. How ever there is more to it than that, it also takes aim at the Italian establishment of the early seventies with the government, the Catholic Church and organised crime in the firing line. Not happy with blending both these elements Fulci then throws in a dash of Nunsploitation, a large dose of weird and just a touch of his patented horror.

Italian funny man Lando Buzzanca (For a Few Dollars Less, Monte Carlo or Bust, Dracula in the Provinces), gives a wonderful comic performance as Senator Puppis, reminding me at times of British comedy legend Peter Sellers for some reason. The rest of the cast is suitably fun all giving slightly hammed up performances.

Maybe not a film for Fulci horror fans, but for those who like comedy exploitation this is great fun and genuinely funny in places.

... The kind of movie that makes you want to go out and grab a nun yourself! 

NB. This review concentrates on the film itself, the Dagored DVD sadly features a very poor transfer from a weak source and has not be re-mastered in any way. I am not sure there is currently any other release for the movie so Fulci fans and sexploitation lovers may want to pick this one up anyway, but be warned it offers the picture quality of a heavily watched VHS tape at best and that’s probably being too favourable.


Les Demoniaques: Un film expressionniste de Jean Rollin

On the coasts of Northern Europe at the end of the 1800's a small group of wreckers make their living by enticing ships to their destruction on the rocky coastline. After a successful wrecking two beautiful young women are washed ashore and encounter the four deadly wreckers. The girls find themselves raped and beaten to death, how ever they return from the beyond to seek out their revenge.

Les Demaoniaques carries the sub title "Un film expressioniste de Jean Rollin" and it certainly does tip it hats towards expressionist era cinema as much as it does the adventure serials shown at the cinema in times before television proliferated the homes of the majority. As with allot of low budget cinema from the late 60's and 70's the backers put the money forward under the proviso that the film contained a certain amount of nude and sex scenes so it could be sold to an "International" audience, something which Rollins cinema is famous for. Rollins actually was accused of then selling on his young female starlets into "White slavery" for the North African market. As with many of the director’s films the plot plays second fiddle to the visuals, both sexual and surreal, Rollin is one of those directors who is maybe more about hamaging and experimenting with cinema as he is about producing cohesive well told stories. That said there is an interesting if simplistic ghost story at the heart of Les Démoniaques.

The actors are of as you would expect in exploitation cinema of varying competence, but all make interesting visual impact even if their acting skills are questionable to say the least. The four wreckers in particular do manage to camp up the serial inspired pirate roles to wonderful levels. John Rico (A gay Mexican actor I think), plays the character known as captain in his only starring role and he does a great job as the open shirted macho leader of the wreckers. Rollins long time friends Willy Braque (Le Jouisseur, Lèvres de sang ) and Paul Bisciglia (Les Raisins de la mort) play Bosco and Paul respectively and both make great characters. The stand out character in their deadly crew though has to be Tina played by the very attractive Joëlle Coeur (Jeunes filles impudiques), who manages to camp up the stereotypical pirate body movements while in various states of dress and undress to the point of genius. Lieva Lone and Patricia Hermenier who play the wronged girls (the Demoniac’s from the title) both do a competent job in their only film appearances, not that they have to do much more than wander about getting in and out of their clothes without speaking.

When Encore Filmed Entertainment sent me out this DVD to review I let it sit for a week or two, knowing that Rollin films tend to be the kind of cinema I need to be in the mood to watch, this is a world away from the popcorn munching brainlessness of modern cinema. Les Démoniaques contains some great imagery, locations and surrealism and these are things you really need to be able to appreciate to enjoy this film. if you where to come at this looking for a linier story with tight editing and high production values that makes quickly digestible entertainment you will be left no doubt feeling like some of the negative commentors on the IMDB.

For me the film is certainly one of the better Rollin films I have seen, the high camp mixed with the stark gothic imagery works well, certainly you have to accept things which are down right silly like the Magus and clown who live together in an old ruin. Well the magus maybe you can accept to be keeping an eye on the imprisoned devil there, but the clown you just have to write off as being one of the directors screen fetishes.

Les Démoniaques is certainly a movie worth seeking out for fans of the cult director Jean Rollin, sexploitation, French cinema and of course those who just want to experience something a bit different.

7/10

TRIALER

Buy It: hkflix.com


Lynch Law Classroom

The super strict School of hope which prides itself on taking delinquent teenage girls and making them into suitable fodder for wives and mothers receives three new students. Amongst the three is Noriko AKA "The boss with the cross" and she has an agenda which has nothing at all to do with being turned into a respectable member of Japanese society. How ever the school is run by a pack of girls who form a disciplinary committee and with the backing of the corrupt vice principle they run things with an iron hand.

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom opens with a semi naked schoolgirl being held against her will in the science lab. She is surrounded by a group of girls wearing red surgical masks and armbands. The girls have set up some pipes and jars and placed a needle and tube in her arm and have convinced her they are going to bleed her to death. Hysterical she brakes free and runs out onto the roof of the school, her tormentors drive her to the edge and force her to fall to her death. The girl they killed though was lieutenant in the gang of Noriko the cross and now she has come to the school to find out just what happened, believing her lieutenant was not easily defeated. Once she gets there Noriko finds more than she bargained for as the school is completely corrupt with girls used by the administration for sex and rampant bullying performed by the disciplinary committee.

Lynch Law Classroom is directed by legendary Japanese exploitation director Norifumi Suzuki, who is maybe best known in the west for Sex and Fury as well as exploitation classics like School of the Holy Beast, Girl Boss Guerrilla and a slew of Terrifying Girls' High School films. While not a match for Sex and Fury, Lynch Law Classroom is excellent fun and a great example of Toei’s classic 70's bad girl cinema. All the ingredients are there, cute girls who are not afraid to bear some flesh, soft-core sex, lesbians, girl on girl violence and a dash of rape. Though described as pink cinema these films differ a lot from the artistic brutality of Nikkatsu's Roman Porno films like the Angel guts series and Watcher in the attic. Although exploitative the sense of fun is much stronger as is female empowerment (all be it within the realms of a very masculine fantasy). Both Toei’s top girl stars are present for this slice of funky girlie fun. Reiko Ike (Female Yakuza Tale) plays second fiddle though in this outing to rival starlette Miki Sugimoto (Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs) who takes the lead role as Noriko.

As you can imagine a sexploitation flick centring on Japanese schoolgirls is not exactly a film that's going to be crammed with politically correct imagery. In the opening scene which see the girl driven from the roof the camera spends as much time zooming in a the subjects knickers as it does her face. This does make you feel kind of wrong watching it. The plot is pretty threadbare and plays on the classic youth vs. the system theme which has comes up in a lot of Japanese cinema. How ever you didn’t start watching this for plot you came for the funky music, the kitsch fashion and most of all semi naked Japanese girls hitting each other and the films delivers on all those counts.

So if you love, 70 films, funky music, exploitation, Japanese cinema this should be for you. If you’re a fan of Norifumi Suzuki, Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto and their friends this is also for you. Fans of Pam Grier's 70's blaxploiation movies should also find themselves pretty much at home with this film as theme tough women who don't mind if their clothes come off at some point in the film theme is pretty similar as is the sonic background. The film does get slightly weaker towards the end, but it makes for fun viewing all the way through. 

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom was featured as part of Panik Houses Pinky Violence Collection, but is now available on it's own.

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The_Nun_And_The_Devil

The original, and to many "Eurotica" afficionados the best, "nunsploitation" movie of all time, The Nun And The Devil comes to DVD for the first time in its most complete and uncut English language version, fully restored and boasting all the quintessential trappings of the genre it created – sadism, masochism, lesbianism, torture, unfeasibly attractive nuns and plenty of gratuitous nudity.

Starring former Miss Great Britain and Golden Globe nominee, Anne Heywood (The Fox), alongside Ornella Muti (The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things; Flash Gordon; Tales Of Ordinary Madness), Tinto Brass regular Martine Brochard (The Voyeur; Paprika) and Maria Cumani Quasimodo (Behind Convent Walls), The Nun And The Devil is a gothic-style tale of lust, greed, jealousy and corruption.

The untimely death of their Mother Superior sparks a villainous power struggle amongst the nuns of the Covent of Sant Arcangelo, all of whom are uncommonly eager to replace their departed sister – but for good reason. The position comes with untold wealth and power in the form of control over a charter for the exploitation of gold mines in the New World. As rival aristocrats pull the strings behind the scenes, the ruthless Mother Julia (Anne Heywood) sets about eliminating the competition from inside the convent. Complicating matters is the arrival of Mother Julia's beautiful and headstrong niece, Isabella (Ornella Muti), who despite her induction into the convent secretly continues her affair with her boyfriend. As the nuns' fight for supremacy escalates, degenerating into wanton depravity and murder, it attracts the attention of the local Cardinal, triggering a Holy Inquisition. With so much at stake, the nuns are reluctant to co-operate with any investigation into their actions, leaving the inquisitors no option but to resort to torture to resolve the issue.

Director Paolo Dominici skillfully blends stylish eroticism, wry humour and wince-inducing torture sequences to produce a sexually charged and utterly compelling study of immorality and religious hypocrisy.

"The best of the sex-and-violence-in-a-convent movies"   Aurum Horror Encyclopaedia

The Nun And The Devil (cert. 18) will be released on DVD  by Argent Films on 16th October 2006.

Buy It: amazon.co.uk


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