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Thread: The Non-Synapse Roman Porno Thread

  1. #1
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    The Non-Synapse Roman Porno Thread

    This is for all things Roman Porno. The Synapse thread is here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    I finally had time to edit my mini-reviews of the films I saw at Shimbashi Bunka in August. Photos from the theater are in the other thread

    Secret Chronicle: Prostitution Market (Japan, 1972) [35mm] – 3.5/5
    A mentally challenged girl who has no idea what “sex” is is sold to a brothel. Hilarity ensues. Despite the politically incorrect premise that would give feminists a heart attack, this is a harmless and frequently cute male fantasy. Yuko Katagiri is super-cute as an innocent girl whose virginity proves difficult to steal. She always manages to misunderstand the intentions of the customers, which results in hilarious slapstick. The best sequence involves a sumo wrestler trying to catch her – and destroying half of the brothel in the process before knocking himself out.

    Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market (Japan, 1974) [35mm] – 3.5/5
    The final entry in the series, which was only linked by the prostitution theme, is an arthouse affair bound to bore typical pink audiences to death. The realistic slice of life film follows a prostitute who is proving services to her customers as well as her mentally challenged brother. The casting is excellent, the film is packed with interesting social context and the black and white cinematography truly striking. This was probably the only Roman Porno film ever to be filmed in black and white (as an artistic decision by director Noboru Tanaka).

    I also have this one on Japanese dvd, so here's a few screencaps for your viewing pleasure

    Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train (Japan, 1977) [35mm] – 3.5/5
    After causing a small scandal with Rape! 13th Hour Nikkatsu ordered director Yasuharu Hasebe to come up with something more romantic. Hasebe delivered this ridiculous but highly entertaining love story. It follows two robbers who take a newlywed woman as hostage and hide in a moving train. Luckily, the two man turn out very friendly fellows. One of them stops by in a shop and even pays for the stuff – and only returns to rape the cash register lady after the bitch tried to call the police. Add “stunts sequences” on the train top, utterly ridiculous Texas country music soundtrack, and very cute female lead, and you’ve got an utterly nonsensical, but fun romance with a crime film edge.

    Rape and Death of a Housewife (Japan, 1979) [35mm] – 3.5/5
    This adaptation of a true story was popular among mainstream critics despite being a Roman Porno production. In fact, it even got director Noboru Tanaka nominated for the best director at the Japanese Academy Awards. In a way, that shows how open minded critics could be at that time, and how much leeway Nikkatsu could give to their best directors. Indeed, the amount of sex is minimal for a Roman Porno production. The film is a pretty strong drama about three no-good youngsters who end up raping and accidentally killing the wife of a middle aged man who was trying to keep them out of trouble. It’s a solid film all around with an effective use of semi-documentary style. Hideo Murota is excellent as a man who mistakenly thinks he can lead the youngsters to a better life.

    Oddly enough, this was the second time I saw this film on 35mm. It was also a part of a Roman Porno retro that played nationwide in 2012.

    Rape Ceremony (Japan, 1980) [35mm] – 4.5/5
    Here’s a superb film about two generations of violent young men, hidden under a crude Nikkatsu title. The film follows a group of men driving around in a black Volkswagen and attacking selected targets. It turns out the victims are former members of a biker gang that disbanded under police pressure. The unemployed young men are now taking revenge against their former idols who betrayed their hopes and sold out their freedom. The way the film moves back and forth between present and past is brilliant. There’s a very strong Art Theatre Guild flavour to it as well. Unsurprisingly, director Kichitaro Negishi joined Art Theatre Guild the following year with Distant Thunder (1981).

    And here's a few VoD screencaps.

    This films needs a DVD so much! One of the best Roman Pornos ever made! I've seen it twice and it only got better on second viewing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    I should note that I'm a "malicious bastard who wants to recommend crap movies to people" as some genuine pink film fan said... (I don't remember the exact quote, but that would be quite accurate).

    To be honest, I find excessive sex scenes to be a major bore. That's not why I have watched nearly 150 Roman Porno films. The reason why I keep exploring the genre is because I find films that are terrific despite the boring sex. The genre contains great youth dramas (Pink Hip Girl, 1978), ground breaking police thrillers (Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland, 1973), masterful character dramas (Love Hotel, 1985) and even pink giallo (Zoom In: Rape Apartments, 1980). So please take my comments with that in mind.

    And I hate Naomi Tani.

    My Top 20 Roman Porno list would looks something like this:

    1. Love Hotel (Shinji Somai, 1985) (genre: character drama)
    The only Roman Porno by Shinji Somai, who was arguably the best Japanese director of the 1980s. This film features one of the best storylines I have ever seen in any movie all the Somai trademarks from breathtaking tracking shots to great soundtrack. Yokohama (Mainstream) Film Fest winner: best film, best director, best screenplay (Takashi Ishii), best cinematography, best lead actor and best female newcomer of the year.

    2. Female Delinquent: A Docu-Drama (Toshiya Fujita, 1977) (genre: delinquent girl)
    Ultra-realistic and ultra-violent bad girl drama. Imagine Kinji Fukasaku directing a Sukeban film with Toshiya Fujita ‘s usual youth film themes and social commentary. Fantastic performances, innovative cinematography and a stunning rock soundtrack.

    3. Oh Women! A Dirty Song (aka Rolling on the Road) (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1981) (genre: rock sleaze)
    Kumashiro’s jaw dropping sleaze fest and "true account" of the asshole rocker / movie star Yuya Uchida, played by Uchida himself! The most memorable scene: a sadomasochist nurse is strangling Uchida with a telephone cord during sex while his other girlfriend is crying at the other end of the line.

    4. Rape Ceremony (Kichitaro Negishi, 1980) (genre: drama / character study)
    Despite the crude Nikkatsu title, this is a small masterpiece about two violent generations of young men. A group of young men are taking revenge against their former idols, a biker gang that disbanded under police pressure and betrayed their hopes. A highly Art Theatre Guild esque film with great characters, cast, music, and broken chronology.

    5. Pink Hip Girl (Koyu Ohara, 1977) (genre: youth / pop art)
    This is one of the cutest, most adorable youth films ever made, and the movie that earned Ohara his reputation as “pop-art director”. It’s a highly entertaining road movie with snowy landscapes, cute girls, great soundtrack, and real chemistry between the two leads. This was a hit among female audiences as well.

    6. Ecstasy Sisters (Naosuke Kurosawa, 1982) (genre: existential city drama)
    Kurosawa (Zoom Up: Sex Apartments) was the most visually talented of all Nikkatsu directors. This is his masterpiece: an existential Tokyo drama featuring terrific cinematography. It's also somewhat similar to Noboru Takana’s work like Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market (1974). Never mind the typically misleading Nikkatsu title.

    7. Retreat through the Wet Wasteland (Yukihiro Sawada, 1973) (genre: cop thriller)
    Ultra-nihilist police corruption film in which two beast-cops are hunting down their former colleague who escaped from a mental institution and could reveal their crimes to the public. Produced as Roman Porno because no mainstream studio dared to touch it. Even Nikkatsu had second thoughts because they thought it was too political and tried to stop the production.

    8. Beauty’s Exotic Dance: Torture (Noboru Tanaka, 1977) (genre: psychological drama)
    A haunting psychological drama. With snow! Probably Tanaka’s best film.

    9. Red Violation (Chusei Sone, 1980) (genre: slice of life drama)
    A great slice of life drama following real life rock-band Devils, played by the real members, including the gaijin member James Hunt in a pretty big role. It's a film that could've been produced by ATG just as well. There's a bit of sex, quite good characters, and tons of great music. It also captures the spirit of the time really nicely. The film ends with a terrific 10 minute scene where the band is composing their new song.

    10. Rape! 13th Hour (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1977) (genre: violent pink / thriller)
    Hasebe’s most outrageous film turns the violence against men when a serial rapist with a protégé is chased by a homosexual gang. It’s also his slickest thriller, and full of interesting social commentary, even if Hasebe denies such intentions for some reason. William Friedkin later made a film which has an identical ending!

    11. Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Chusei Sone, 1979) (genre: psychological drama)
    Most of the Angel Guts series is great, but this haunting psychological drama is probably my favourite of them. Beautiful score, good performances and fine cinematography. The ending is unforgettable.

    12. Assault! Jack the Ripper (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1976) (genre: violent pink / thriller)
    The coming of age story of a serial killer. A shy young man finds his passion for slaughtering women, and his girlfriend gets sexual kicks from it. Rarely have sex and death been so close. The most influential violent pink film, although I think Rape! 13th Hour may be even better.

    13. Delicate Skilful Fingers (Tooru Murakawa, 1972) (genre: contemporary drama)
    This film was praised by critics as a movie that turned Roman Porno into respectable youth cinema that captured Nikkatsu's past glory days. Indeed, it's a terrific, stylish film of an innocent young woman who falls in love with a professional pickpocket and discovers a new decadent life. Co-stars cult actor / rock star Ichiro Araki. Screenplay by Tatsumi Kumashiro.

    14. Zoom Up: Rape Apartments (Naosuke Kurosawa, 1980) (genre: pink giallo)
    This is just about the last thing you'd expect to find in the Roman Porno genre: a pink-giallo. The cinematography and sound design are absolutely stunning and it features one of the most WTF kills in movie history. Too bad about the excessive sex scenes.

    15. Woman in the Box 2 (Masaru Konuma, 1986) (genre: horror/drama)
    I'm no fan of Masaru Konuma, but this film is an exception. It's a beautiful, melancholic horror film set on a ski resort. Terrific score, too.

    16. Assault (Yukihiro Sawada, 1976) (genre: violent pink / thriller)
    Another film by the director of Retreat through the Wet Wasteland. It's an effective study of violence and growing balls, obviously influenced by Straw Dogs. Although most of it falls short of great, the eight minute climax is a melancholic ballad of violence that rivals the best scenes directed by Sam Peckinpah or John Woo.

    17. Painful Bliss! Final Twist (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1977) (genre: WTF / pop art)
    This is an absolutely insane film mixing yakuzas, transvestites and all kinds of pop-art. Imagine a mixture between Takashi Miike, Pedro Almodovar and Noboru Tanaka and you have a pretty good idea what to expect.

    18. Secret Chronicle: Prostitution Market (Chusei Sone, 1972) (genre: comedy)
    A very funny and frequently cute male fantasy of a mentally challenged girl who is sold to a brothel. Her virginity proves difficult to steal as she always manages to misunderstand the intentions of the customers. The best sequence involves a sumo wrestler trying to catch her – and destroying half of the brothel in the process before knocking himself out.

    19. Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1977) (genre: romance / thriller)
    An utterly ridiculous but highly entertaining love story following two robbers on the run. Add “stunts sequences” on the train top, a ridiculous Texas country music soundtrack, and a very cute female lead, and you’ve got an nonsensical, but fun romance with a crime film edge.

    20. Trap of Lust (Atsushi Yamatoya, 1973) (genre: action / thriller / WTF)
    Atsushi Yamatoya, one of the screenwriters on Branded to Kill and a cult figure on his own, directs this bizarre professional killer / spy film satire that is sometimes considered a remake of Branded to Kill.

    Also recommended:
    Secret Chronicle: She-Beast Market (Noboru Tanaka, 1972)
    Modern Prostitution: Lust Under Uniform (Chusei Sone, 1974)
    Wet Lust: 21 Strippers (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1974)
    Watcher in the Attic (Noboru Tanaka, 1976)
    Getting Raped (Masaru Konuma, 1976)
    Shinjuku midare machi: ikumade matte (Chusei Sone, 1977)
    Eros School: Feels So Good (Koretsugu Kurahara, 1977)
    Angel Guts: High School Co-ed (Chusei Sone, 1978)
    From Orion's Testimony: Formula for Murder (Kichitaro Negishi, 1978)
    Rape and Death of a Housewife (Noboru Tanaka, 1978)
    Woman of the Afternoon: Incite! (Nobuyuki Saito, 1979)
    Angel Guts: Nami (Noboru Tanaka, 1979)
    Pink Hip Girl: Proposal Strategy (Koyu Ohara, 1980)
    Path of the Beast (Tatsumi Kumashiri, 1980)
    Image of a Bound Girl (Masaru Konuma, 1980)
    Love Beast: Attack (Naosuke Kurosawa, 1981)
    White Rose Campus: Then Everybody Gets Raped (Koyu Ohara, 1982)
    Sukeban kabushiki gaisha (Koyu Ohara, 1984)
    Oh! Takarazuka (Koyu Ohara, 1984)
    Rouge (Hiroyuki Nasu, 1984)
    Hakuchu no onnagari (Chusei Sone, 1984)
    Lolita Vibrator Torture (Hisayasu Sato, 1987)
    Angel Guts: Red Vertigo (Takashi Ishii, 1988)

    Some popular films that I think are crap:
    Flower & Snake (1974)
    Wife to be Sacrificed (1974)
    Rope Cosmetology (Shogoro Nishimura, 1978)
    Woman in the Box: Virgin Sacrifice (1985)
    Captured for Sex 2 (1986)
    + about 95% of all other Roman Porno films
    Last edited by Takuma; 01-23-2015 at 06:03 AM.

  4. #4
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    I really enjoy your contributions here at RSP Takuma. It just makes me so damn jealous.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Robin Bougie's Avatar
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    Wow, great stuff. Thanks for such a comprehensive post. While I don't agree with some of your opinions, I can't argue with your experience with the genre! I have no doubt I'll be returning to this thread later for reference.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    Robin, just out of interest, which ones do you not agree with? And don't worry, I'm not easily offended. This thread is open for all kinds of opinions. I know I don't always represent the majority opinion when it comes to Roman Porno. After all, I'm a Roman Porno fan who hates sex scenes

  7. #7
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Decided to subscribe for a VoD pink channel for one month again. Treasure hunt time!

    Warning: Takuma's probably going to anger a whole lot of people again by bashing their beloved junk. Remember, the more sex it has, the faster I'm going to fall asleep.

    Women In Heat Behind Bars (Japan, 1987) [VoD] - 1/5
    Not much to write about here. I usually give even bad movies a chance to impress me by paying attention at least for the first third, but this one I could barely get through the first five minutes without resorting to fast forward. It's a women in prison movie with almost nothing but sex. It was filmed on 35mm for being a Roman Porno, but it feels much more like a 1990s shot-on-video cheapo. Horrible, just horrible.

    Captured for Sex 2 (Japan, 1986) [VoD] - 1/5
    A young couple's car breaks down in the middle of a forest. A nice man comes for rescue and takes them to his house, but for this being a pink production he of course turns out to be a manic kidnapper with a taste for sexual torture. This is a minor cult classic of sorts, for reasons that go beyond my understanding. It's little more than a violent porn film with non-existent cinematic merits, a sort of sexual version of the Guinea Pig series but without the humour, scares, or the special effects. It does , however, sport a somehow nostalgic 1980s smut feel to it. That doesn't help much when the film is an utter bore. Released in Nikkatsu's Roman X series, which was a short lived hardcore spin-off of the Roman Porno series.

    Pink Hip Girls: Slinking Classmates (Japan, 1982) [VoD] - 1/5
    Director Koyu Ohara tries to revive the magic of his Pink Hip Girl trilogy in this unrelated but similarly titled and themed film. Unfortunately, it's a miserable attempt. The Pink Hip Girl films were energetic road movies and cute youth flicks with strong pop-art flavour despite being produced in the Roman Porno genre; this on the other hand is a tiresome city movie following four young girls making money with sex and trying to help an impotent young man become a rock-star. There's an abundance of sex, a lack of charming actresses, no striking visuals, and only a small amount of pop music. The film is not necessarily among the worst in the genre, but it is tiresome.

    Never in the Morning (Japan, 1980) [VoD] - 1.5/5
    Talented director Kichitaro Negishi is slacking here. This is a standard sex drama/comedy with a weak satirical bite that doesn't make the film much more interesting. It's about a woman who is working for an underwear company and sleeping with his boss every now and then. None of the bursting energy and style of Negishi's earlier films From Orion's Testimony: Formula for Murder (1979 and Rape Ceremory (1980) can be found here.

    I Can Feel It (Japan, 1976) [VoD] - 1/5
    Here's an early attempt at Koyu Ohara style perky youth cinema within the pink genre. Unfortunately director Shin'ichi Shiratori wasn't up to the challenge. There's a decent attempt at spicing things up with pop music, but the poor writing and underwhelming performances undo the effect. There is no reason to care about any of the characters, including newcomer Jun Izumi, who didn't have the charm required to play a lovely virgin girl. In the end, the film is little more than a standard sex comedy.

    Sweet Scent of Eros (Japan, 1973) [VoD] - 2/5
    Toshiya Fujita was one of the Nikkatsu directors who often used the Roman Porno genre to make arthouse films. Here he teams up with screenwriter Atsushi Yamatoya to deliver a character piece set almost entirely in one room. The film follows a mysterious photographer who decides to make himself home at a random woman's house. Next, her two friends who up, and they all decide to live together. What follows is lots of chatter, out-of-the-blue suicide attempt, random surrealism, and a graphic pig slaughter that is supposed to make some kind of intellectual point. The cool guitar riffs are the film's most entertaining aspect. Otherwise it feels a bit pretentious, and far from Fujita's best efforts.

    Delicate Skillful Fingers (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 4/5
    This debut feature by Tooru Murakawa apparently almost killed his career by setting the standard too high. The storyline, penned by Tatsumi Kumashiro, follows an innocent girl on the streets of Tokyo. She falls for a pickpocket who is soon arrested and never seen again. The guy's friend (cult rocker / actor Ichiro Araki) then takes his place and teaches her into the business. It's basically a bit old fashioned morality tale, but directed with a stunning level of cool. Murakawa does excellent job capturing the spirit of the era and the soundtrack is a standout. Much of the movie was filmed on the streets of Shinkuku, which also gives it a fresh feel compared to most other Roman Pornos. Indeed, upon its release it was praised as sensational leap from sex cinema to respectable youth cinema. The fame seems to have been too much for Murakawa, who quit two movies later. His career, however, was resurrected in the late 1970s when he begun to helm (mostly mediocre) Yusaku Matsuda action pics for Toei.

    Note: this one is also available on recent remastered DVD from Happinet

    The original poster is fantastic

  8. #8
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Pink Curtain (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 2/5
    Here's an interesting but ultimately underwhelming attempt at trendy roman porno drama. The catch is a brother falling in love with his sister who moves in with him into a small Tokyo apartment. Unfortunately the scenario doesn't really go anywhere as the film spends way too much time on sub-plots involving third party characters and packs an overload of sex scenes - a typical pink film symptom. That being said, the stars (Jun Miho and Masahiko Abe) have some chemistry despite the performances not being award-worthy by any means, and director Yasuaki Uegaki includes occasional energetic moments camera movements, pop music and manga influences. But in the end, it feels more like a pink film with some potential buried underneath it than the other way round. It's by no means a match for Koyu Ohara's Pink Hip Girl (1978), which could be a comparison point of sorts.

    Pink Curtain 2 (Japan, 1982) [VoD] - 2/5
    The second film in the series follows the exact same formula as the first. Again there's a potentially interesting storyline about a sister and brother buried under a bucketful of less interesting sub-plots and third party sex scenes. And like last time, director Yasuaki Uegaki again has his moments, especially towards the end. One gets the feeling that this series could be much better if it focused on the right things.

    Pink Curtain 3 (Japan, 1983) [VoD] - 1.5/5
    The final film in the series and the storyline still doesn't go anywhere. Like its predecessors, the film has a couple of cute and pop moments, but most of the time is wasted on dull sub-plots. It's not a downright terrible movie, but it's hard to get excited about it. The ending is stylish, though.

    Fallen Angels Gang (Japan, 1981) [VoD] - 1/5
    This yakuza/action/Roman Porno hybrid predates Wives of the Yakuza by five years. It's about a yakuza wife and her two step daughters who swear to avenge the death of a gangster. Unfortunately it's a pretty miserable film packed with pink actresses trying act tough - and failing. There's a little bit of poorly executed action, boring sex, and an uninvolving storyline that takes 91 minutes to reach its conclusion.

    Love Bandit Rat Man (Japan, 1972) [DVD] - 2/5
    A poor house servant becomes a sex thief in Chusei Sone's period film, which is a sexploitation version of a popular Japanese Robin Hood tale. It's not too bad a film, but it's hardly an exhilarating one. The flashback structure, in which the captured thief tells his story while being tortured, works pretty well, the production values are fine, and there are some imaginative sequences, such as one that is made to look like black & white 8mm film, but none of it stands out as being especially exciting. In the end it's more of a case of "not bad for Roman Porno" than a genuinely good movie. Sone had much more success in the period movie genre later the same year with the very funny and cute Secret Chronicle: Prostitute Market.

    Erotic Liaisons (Japan, 1978) [VoD] - 3.5/5
    Here's a very stylish neo-noir based on a novel by the French author Raymond Marlot and produced during the late 1970s when a small amount of Roman Porno films attempted to bridge the gap between mainstream and pink cinema. Cult actor / rock star Yuya Uchida stars as a private detective who falls in love with the woman he's hired to follow. Big mistake! It turns out the woman is surrounded by small time gangsters and she's got a plan on how to get rich. The film's storyline and atmosphere are so strikingly European (save for the main character, who is modelled after American film noir heroes) that the viewer constantly forgets the film is set in Tokyo and not Paris. Sex is tastefully integrated into the story, the film sports strong female characters, and there's some wonderfully dry humour. If it wasn't for some carelessly handled plot twists that needed more exposition to work, the film would be even better. Koji Wakamatsu remade the film in 1990, with Uchida starring again. This original film was directed by Yasuharu Hasebe.

    Last edited by Takuma; 02-06-2015 at 12:16 AM.

  9. #9
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    This thread makes me wish that I spoke/understood Japanese. Great stuff, Takuma.

    I know there are a lot of torrents around, some of which are fansubbed which is great, but I'd love to be able to support English friendly releases of this stuff with my hard earned dollars.
    Rock! Shock! Pop!

  10. #10
    Discotek is supposedly looking at crowd-funding some anime releases. Wish they'd do the same with Japanese live-action stuff.

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