• The Pinky Violence Collection (Panik House) DVD Review



    Released by: Panik House
    Released on: November 15th, 2005.
    Director: Atsushi Mihori/Kazuhiko Yamaguchi/Norifumi Suzuki/Norifumi Suzuki
    Cast: Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Ryoji Hayama, Junzaburo Ba, Yoko Ichiji, Yuki Kagawa, Linda Kimoto, Emi Jo, Reiko Oshida, Seiko Saburi Misuzu Oota
    Year: 1973/1971/1972/1973
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    The Pinky Violence Collection - Movie Review:

    Panik House hadn't been around long at the time this set was released but they'd already started to make a very good name for themselves with their quality releases. Following hot on the heels of their fantastic digital offerings of Sex & Fury and Female Yakuza Tale comes the highly anticipated Pinky Violence Collection, featuring four of the finest filthy films from the Japanese exploitation scene of the 1970s. It’s a shame that they didn’t stick around much longer, but here’s a look at the crown jewel in their small library.

    CRIMINAL WOMAN - KILLING MELODY (Zenka Onna Karoshi Bushi):

    The first film in the set begins in a grim and dirty woman's prison - always a great spot to set an exploitation film - shortly after a few foxy women have been thrown in the slammer for various reasons.

    A few of the women, who have been cell mates for a while, don't take too kindly to the newest girl, played by Reiko Ike, when she doesn't want to explain to them what she's been locked up for. They feel that since they all spilled their guts in front of her, she owes them the same. This leads to some tension, and soon she's being tied up to Mike Sugimoto for an all-out prison bitch knife fight out in the courtyard!

    Both girls survive, but manage to give one another quite a beating. Once this is out of the way with, we find out that the reason she's in prison is because she attacked a Yakuza who killed her father. Her heart still burns with the hunger for revenge, and once she can get out of the big house, she's going to go right back after the sons of bitches who did in dear old daddy and give them what for.

    Now that the women all respect one another, the girls decide to help Reiko out with her cause and soon they've formed a gang of their own, bent on punishing the Yakuza that wronged one of their own. That doesn't mean tensions won't arise between the ladies though - things are still far from perfect between them.

    Fast paced, sexy, and violent, Criminal Woman - Killing Melody benefits from the exceptionally cool screen presence of Reiko Ike and the exceptionally alluring charms of her co-star, Miki Sugimoto, who would go on to blow more than a few minds in Zero Woman - Red Handcuffs. Director Atsushi Mihori directs with plenty of style, the camera doing a fine job of capturing all of the over the top set pieces and swanky seventies settings. The lens leers quite a bit at the girls in the film, but we're all the better off for it. The men who play the Yakuza in the movie are completely despicable and ever so easy to hate, making the girl gang a little more sympathetic than they might be otherwise, even if they are obviously not the kind of women you'd want to bring home to your mother.

    Rough, dirty, trashy and slicker than grease, Criminal Woman - Killing Melody is like mainlining a hit of trash cinema smack right into your veins. It comes up on you quickly and ends far sooner than you want it to.

    DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS - WORTHLESS TO CONFESS (Zubenko Bancho Zange No Neuchi Mo Nai):

    Moving right along, we've got Kazuhiko Yamaguchi's 1971 sleaze fest, Delinquent Girl Boss - Worthless To Confess, the last in the series of four films to go under the Delinquent Girl Boss banner.

    The movie sets its standards pretty high in the opening few minutes when a group of reform-school girls start a riot after their principal refuses to let them watch a Ken Takakura Yakuza film! From here, we see the lovely Reiko Oshida released from the reform school and back into the general population. Freedom is hers once again and she's going to make the most of it.

    The first thing that she does is head on out to find the father of a former acquaintance, who currently runs a garage on the other side of town. He decides to let bygones be bygones and soon he takes her on as an apprentice in his shop where she hopes to earn an honest living. It doesn't take long before a gang decides that they're going to start harassing her new friend though, and this, understandably, sets her off a bit.

    Oshida hopes to settle things peacefully, but we wouldn't have much of a movie if things worked out for her and before you know it, she's in the middle of an all-out war with the rival gang. Oshida allies herself with a few other girls, they slap on some slick red overcoats, and decide to set things right for once, no matter what the cost.

    Artfully directed with fantastic use of colors (red, predominantly), this one finds a nice blend of humor, action, and comic book inspired visuals that really do work very well together. Whereas the first film was out and out action, this second movie in the set is a little more light hearted and not quite as bleak. Rest assured, though, that there are still plenty of exploitative elements in here to keep the action coming, and enough oddball bits and pieces in the background to make sure your eyes never get bored.

    That said, when the final showdown gets going, you're certainly not going to think you're watching a comedy. The finale is bloody, stylized violence at its best, with some fantastic bottoms up camera angels, odd citrus colored lighting gels, and a fair amount of lovely arterial spray. The big finish is the only real action set piece in the movie, but it's good enough and long enough that if you're going to take anything away from this film, it's going to be that last chunk of celluloid.

    On a side note, director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi moved on from this series to the Sister Street Fighter series starring Sonny Chiba's main leading lady, the lovely Etsuko Shiomi.

    GIRL BOSS GUERILLA (Sukeban Gerira):

    The best of the four films in the set is this third entry, directed by Norifumi Suzuki (of Convent Of The Sacred Beast fame) in 1972 and once again starring Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto in prominent roles. This is the third film in the Sukeban series.

    Miki is the tough and spunky leader of a gang of female bikers who ride around Tokyo on their choppers and tend to get into trouble a lot. When she falls head over heels in love with a troubled boxer played by Masataka Naruse (who also shows up in Sex & Fury), her life starts looking up.

    That doesn't last for too long, however, as a Yakuza gang have set their sights on the female bikers, and they don't have nice things in mind for them. Miki knows that the only way that she and her gal pals will be able to stand up to the Yakuza is to make amends with her sworn enemy, played by - you guessed it - Reiko Ike.

    Once the girls have made peace, and the Yakuza are no longer a threat, the movie takes a strange turn into typical Suzuki anti-Catholicism territory when the girls decide that they ought to try their hands at seducing some priests so that they can blackmail them. Once that's out of the way with, the girls get back on their bikes and the movie picks up the romance aspect as Miki sets out to find the boxer who stole her heart.

    Just before the girls show up at the gym where he's training with his coach, the bad Yakuza guys shake the poor bastard around a bit. Being a boxer by trade, he's not going to take their crap lying down and he gets into a pretty serious brawl with the gangsters. Just as it looks like it's curtains for ol' Rocky, Miki and the girls burst onto the scene, hoping to save the day.

    Miki almost gets her arm chopped off by a maniac mobster with a power tool fetish, but she makes it out more or less unscathed. Too bad her boy toy wasn't so lucky - he takes a knife to the gut and goes off to that big boxing ring in the sky.

    With her true love buried, Miki and her minions decide it's time for cold hearted revenge, girl gang style. They mount up on their bikes and head on out after the men who killed her Romeo...

    Plenty of topless biker girl action, some killer fight scenes, a great score and even a few cool scenes with vintage motorbikes make this one a complete blast. Fast paced with plenty of period kitsch (watch for the guy in the striped pants and the Easy Rider shirt) coupled with the plentiful amount of naked ladies ensure that the movie a visual treat, and the story clicks along at such a great pace that it's never dull, not even for a second.

    Miki Sugimoto does an excellent job of carrying the film, showing audiences that she can be saucy, sexy and brainy all at the same time. Her character is as tough as any of the gangsters that she's up against and Suzuki wisely allows the focus of the film to remain on her this time out.

    TERRIFYING GIRLS' HIGH SCHOOL - LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM (Kyoufu Joshi Koukou Bouroku Rinchi Kyoushitsu):

    Norifumi Suzuki also directed the last of the four films in this set, a strange blend of horror, action, and exploitation that can't quite make up its mind what it wants to be but which manages to entertain none the less. This film is the second of the four films in the Terrifying Girls' High School series.

    Set in an all-girls high-school, the film starts off with a pretty intense scene where some of the students are draining the blood out of one of their unfortunate classmates. These horrible neo-Nazi sadists have just shown up at the school, much to the dismay of Miki Sugimoto and her pal, Reiko Ike.

    It turns out that the principal of the school has paid these nasty punks to show up with the express purpose of keeping the girls in line, and that draining blood isn't all that they do to the poor girls who are dumb enough to get in their way. Some of the girls who get taken down by these new additions to the school are so shaken by what happens to them that they end up taking their own lives, unable to deal with the humiliation that has been dealt to them.

    Luckily for everyone, Reiko Ike is here and she's also very well connected. She gets in touch with a buddy of hers who happens to work for the local Yakuza, and spills the beans about what is going down behind the walls of this supposed institute of higher learning. Once the Yakuza are involved, they set up some rather precocious situations to trap the staff into sexual situations that they shouldn't ever find themselves in, to blackmail them into laying off the thug tactics. It seems that those in charge of keeping the place running are themselves guilty of breaking more than a few social taboos in terms of interacting on a less than professional level with some of the pretty (and young!) girls enrolled and entrusted to their care. Of course it all builds up to an ugly climax, with the cops being called in and the girls taking matters into their own hands.

    While Reiko Ike is in this one a fair bit, it really is Miki Sugimoto's show this time out with the lovely Ms. Ike relegated to supporting cast status. Sugimoto proves to be more than capable of taking the ball and running with it, however, and at times her screen presence rivals (maybe even tops) the kind of poise and self-assurance that Ike showed in the films where she played the lead.

    Plenty of skin, a copious amount of blood, and more naughty schoolgirls than you can shake a stick at make Terrifying Girls' High School - Lynch Law Classroom a pretty unique viewing experience. It's quite different in tone than the other three films in the set. While it shares some of the same themes of young women busting out against the society that they're supposed to be assimilated into, it manages to be a more original and certainly more unusual film than the other three entries presented here.

    Ultimately these four films stand as a fantastic, if randomly assembled (it would have been nice to see the entire series' presented in boxed sets rather than one from each) collection of quality Japanese trash-art hybrids. While they're certainly made for and to be enjoyed by the exploitation crowd, there's no denying that these are well-made and well-acted little slices of Japanese pop culture.

    The Pinky Violence Collection - DVD Review:

    Panik House gives all four films 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfers that pretty much gets everything right, even if they're limited by the fact that they're standard defintion offerings from almost twenty years ago. They're properly flagged for progressive scan playback, they're all in their original aspect ratios, and they have all been given very nice clean ups job that really breathe new life into these older films. The colors are wonderfully bright and vibrant and at times they seem to literally pop off of the screen, but thankfully the reds never bleed into the other hues and everything is very distinct looking. The black levels stay strong and don’t break up or pixelate at all. Flesh tones look fantastic (which is good because there are a lot of them on display throughout these four films), and there’s an exceptionally high level of detail in both the foreground and the background of the image (at least by DVD standards), even during scenes where there's a lot of smoke or heavy shadows. There are only one or two scenes where any unsuaully heavy film grain or print damage is visible (if you're looking carefully for it, it's there at the beginning of Criminal Woman - Killing Melody but it doesn't last past the first five minutes or so, after that it's more or less pristine) and even when you can see it, you really have to be consciously looking for it.

    The films all come to DVD in their original Japanese language tracks with optional English subtitles in pretty solid Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound mixes. Dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow and the soundtracks, comprised of everything from romantic instrumental music to some free form be-boppin’ jazz to some nice grungy guitar bits, come through with a little more punch than you’ll probably expect them to.

    Each of the four DVDs in this set has its own set of supplements, though you'll notice that the content and layout follows a similar pattern across the set. All four films come with scene selection and animated menus. Also worth noting is that the trailers are all in great shape and presented in anamorphic widescreen across the board.

    CRIMINAL WOMAN - KILLING MELODY:

    The first disc features two small still galleries (one for poster art - two images; the other for production stills - twelve images), production notes that detail the history of the film, and biographies for director Atsushi Mihori and performers Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto, Yumiko Katayama, and Ryjoi Hayama. The original theatrical trailer is also included here.

    The commentary for the film is provided by film critics Andy Klein and Wade Major. They provide some basic background information on the film, the genre, and the people who made this movie but fail to go into any heavy detail. This makes for an alright primer on the movie but will likely disappoint seasoned fans of the genre, though their comparisons to the American women in prison films of the same era are interesting and quite valid.

    DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS - WORTHLESS TO CONFESS:

    First up are the still galleries - one for the poster (one image), one for color production stills (twelve images), and the last for black and white production stills (twelve images). Up next are some production notes that detail the history of the film, then biographies for director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi and performers Yumiko Katayama, Masumi Tachibana, and Yukie Kagawa. The original theatrical trailer is also included.

    Chris D. handles commentary duties for this film, and it proves to be more interesting than the track that was supplied for the first film in the set. Chris gives us some interesting background information on the director and the main performers in the film and makes some interesting critical comparisons to other films in the same genre but also points out some things that are unique to this picture.

    GIRL BOSS GUERILLA:

    First up is the trailer which is a pretty entertaining little promo spot. From there we move on to the galleries where we find two images in the Posters And Promotional Art section and fourteen black and white images in the Production Stills section. Biographies are included for director Norifumi Suzuki and stars Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto as well as Masataka Naruse. Production notes are also included.

    Commentary chores for this disc are covered by Asian Cult Cinema columnist Wyatt Doyle and Panik House President Matt Kennedy. With two people on this track, this one is a little livelier than the others in this set and the two are able to go into a little more detail this time than what we're treated to on the other releases in the set. Again, they cover the history of the movie, give some biographical and trivial information on the performers and director, and provide some interesting critical insight into the movie.

    TERRIFYING GIRLS' HIGH SCHOOL - LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM:

    On the fourth and final film in the set we get a trailer, a poster gallery (two images), a color production stills gallery (six images) and a black and white production stills gallery (fourteen images) as well as biographies for Norifumi Suzuki, Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto, Yukie Kagawa, Yuko Kano, and rounding things out are some more production notes.

    Once again, Chris D. does the commentary duties and as he did on the other disc he spoke on, he covers the background of the movie and those who made it.

    The packaging for this release is quite exceptional. The four DVDs are housed in clear plastic trays which in turn are affixed to a pink plastic binder-like book that also contains Chris D's liner notes (which provide a really good history of the genre) and biographical text pieces, complimented by numerous images from the films. The whole thing is laid out really nicely, using the graphics to compliment the text. This is not only a really unique design, but also a very original one and the inclusion of a sticker that reproduces the image from the cover is another nice touch. Little things like this, attention to detail, and such really show the amount of care that has gone into this release.

    This release also includes an audio CD as a fifth bonus disc that feature some of Reiko Ike's music, which is quite welcome and a nice addition to the package overall.

    The Pinky Violence Collection - The Final Word:

    While this release, which is now long out of print came with a pretty hefty price tag, all four films were very good treatment and fans of Japanese trash movies will be in high heaven with these movies. The Pinky Violence Collection is a solid effort from start to finish, and it's great to see these movies get the treatment that they deserve in the North American home video market, even if revisiting them these days makes you yearn for some Blu-ray upgrades!
























































































































    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Spaghetti Monkey's Avatar
      Spaghetti Monkey -
      Such a fun collection, shame we didn't get more.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I really dug the Pink "Trapper Keeper" like packaging and its featured prominently on my shelves. Such a fun collection of films as well.