HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
1917
Tree House, The
Sputnik
Seducao da Carne
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 Soulful Sasori packs a sting in her tail
Year: 1972
Director: Shunya Ito
Stars: Meiko Kaji, Fumio Watanabe, Kayoko Shiraishi, Hiroko Isayma, Yukie Kagawa, Hosei Komatsu
Genre: Horror, Sex, Action, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  10 (from 1 vote)
Review: A delirious, cult movie gem, FCS: Jailhouse 41 unfolds like a candy-coloured fever dream: high art surrealism, swirling widescreen imagery, karate thrills, black humour, soft-core lesbian antics, fantastical gothic horror, spaghetti western shootouts and deadly serious political subtext set to a fuzz guitar and catchy pop soundtrack (Kaji croons: “A Woman’s Grudge Song”, later featured in Kill Bill (2003)). Ten movies condensed into one dynamite night at the movies, fuel-injected into your brain’s pleasure centre the way Toei Studios intended. Based on the gekiga (adult-oriented manga): Joshu Sasori, the potty-mouthed title character was transformed, upon star Meiko Kaji’s request, into a female Clint Eastwood – few words, all action, iconic in her swish black coat and wide-brim hat. Framed by her dirty cop boyfriend (Jailhouse 41 is actually part two), Nami a.k.a: Scorpion endures sexploitation hell in a women’s prison, gouging out the evil warden’s eye to make a lifelong enemy. Overcoming an assault by his cadre of sock monkey ninja rapists, she escapes together with a mixed band of bad girls.

A box office crisis hit Toei Studios in the Seventies with audiences deserting cinemas for the simple pleasures of the goggle box. At the same time, a generation of film school graduates found jobs hard to come by. Many joined anime studios, filtering their Nouvelle Vague influences to create the world’s greatest animation industry. Others were cajoled into a genre that became box office gold: sexploitation. The sweetener was so long as their films contained the requisite naked lovelies and gory thrills, they could employ social satire, text and subtext and tackle any provocative subjects they wanted. These men were students in the Sixties, angry about America’s naval presence, the Vietnam War and right-wing conservatives employing yakuza thugs to destroy the liberal dream. These were filmmakers with something to shout about.

Ito was a star that burned brightly. Employing cinemascope compositions of exquisite beauty, machine gun editing, and tricksy angles, he fused comic book thrills with social commentary, envisioning Nami as an avenging angel against social injustice, defying government power. A key scene features a coach load of obnoxious businessmen who fondly reminisce about raping their way through war-torn China (“I could hear my backpack clacking as we went at it.”) before they assault one of Nami’s friends. Ito condemns them and others like them as the shameful secret behind Japan’s economic growth. Vile rapists, corrupt politicians, dirty cops, Nami slays ’em all in slow-motion blood-fests that would awe Sam Peckinpah.

Kaji was a pop princess and after Nikkatsu Studios’ Stray Cat Rock series (1970-71) made her a star she jumped ship to Toei where FCS made her an icon, the original lady vengeance. Four FCS instalments later she hit the big time with Toho Studios’ prestigious Lady Snowblood (1973). Jailhouse 41’s wordless climax is a testament to Ito’s visual flair and Kaji’s phenomenal expressiveness as an actress: surreal, unsettling, yet poignant and life-affirming.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2616 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: