Brutal Story at the End of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Samurai films have a curious knack for expressing compassionate, humanist ideals via soul-crushing bleakness and violence. One would be hard-pressed to find a bleaker, more violent indictment of the romance of the samurai — and the culture of violence in general — than director Tai Kato’s blood-drenched and aptly named Brutal Story at the End…

Ghost Stories of Wanderer at Honjo

Release Year: 1957 Country: Japan Starring: Juzaburo Akechi, Namiji Matsuura, Shigeru Amachi, Hiroshi Hayashi, Akiko Yamashita Director: Goro Katano Original Title: Kaidan Honjo nanfushigi Alternate Title: Seven Mysteries Researching the history of Japanese yokai in cinema is a difficult task. At least, it’s a difficult task if, like me, you don’t read Japanese and are…

Godzilla’s Revenge

If more Godzilla fans could get the broom out of their ass and actually enjoy the films rather than nitpick and dissect them under an electron microscope, they’d see that in its own way, for its own audience, Minya and Godzilla’s Revenge are as effective and important to the series as the original.

Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter

During the 1970s, Japan’s Nikkatsu Studio became famous, and yes most likely infamous, as the number one home for sleazy sexploitation, violent pink films, and just softcore porn in general. Although hardly the stuff of highbrow cocktail party conversations, the thoroughly exploitive nature of the Nikkatsu films doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of boldness…

Black Tight Killers

When we reviewed 3 Seconds Before the Explosion, we stated that it was one of two Nikkatsu Studio espionage films released onto the home video market in the United States, both starring studio mainstay Akira Kobayashi. We also said that 3 Seconds Before the Explosion, daft though it might have been, was the more conservative…

3 Seconds Before the Explosion

When Nikkatsu Studio began to gain steam once again in the 1950s, thanks to the success first of their “Sun Tribe” films and then their “borderless action” style, their marketing department struck upon the clever idea of selling the studio’s top young stars as a brand name — the Diamond Line, as they would be…