Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Phil's Shudder Picks: FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION (1972) - September 11, 2018

Welcome back my fellow horror hounds to a new installment that I call Phil's Shudder Picks. If you are not hip to what the kids are watching, let me break it down for you: Shudder is an online horror streaming service that features the largest library of horror films. Backed by AMC, their catalog ranges from horror classics to indie darlings, silent films to cult classics, foreign fright flicks to Shudder exclusives not found anywhere, they have become the go-to app for horror fanatics. Recently, they've added a beloved Japanese exploitation series that I've been a huge fan of. So for today's review, I'll be talking about the grindhouse classic FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION.

Original Japanese Poster (1972)
The film's official synopsis: When young Nami is framed and falsely imprisoned, she must find a way to escape and exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her. Meiko Kaji (LADY SNOWBLOOD) leads the 1st ferocious film in director Shun'ya Itô's stylish must-see FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION saga.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Japanese sure can make some awesome 70's exploitation classics! What makes it so much fun to watch is Meiko Kaji's stunning perfromance as Nami. She carries the film without hardly any dialogue. It's her mannerism, her body language, her facial expressions, and her ability take the audience with her on her journey. We sympathize with her; we want her to get revenge on those dirty bastards that put her in jail, the women that try to kill her, and those who want her to die. Kaji just radiates off the screen and grabs us by the throat and she doesn't let go until the very end of the film!

No only is Meiko Kaji a talented actress, but she is an amazing singer! Yup, she sing's the film's main theme song"Urami-Bushi", which became more well known when Quentin Tarantino used it for the soundtrack in his KILL BILL films. If that isn't cool, then I don't know what is? And yes, the song is available through iTunes, Spotify, and other musical platforms.

Credit for the movie's visuals and stylistic violence  goes to the outstanding Shun'ya Itô, Believe it or not, this was his feature film debut! He started out as a chief assistant director on the 1968 film ZOKE OTOSHIMAE before getting his big break directing this film. He also wrote "Urami-Bushi" for the film as well. While he did a great job making the film, he really matured by the time he directed his second film, which was the first sequel of the franchise FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41, which I will discuss further in my review of that film.

Now, a warning for the faint at heart. There is A LOT of carnage, rape, violence, bloodshed, gore, and nudity in the movie! If you're familiar with the genre, then you have already come to expect this. But there might be some of you out there that have never seen the movie, let alone a Japanese exploitation from this particular era. They don't shy away from any of this, and the camera longingly captures all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION is a true, bona fide, 1970's Japanese exploitation cult classic that is regarded viewing for all horror hounds!! It's influence on western cinema is far reaching, and continues to attract fans and haters alike!! So make sure you watch this and see how what movies were like back then! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 

FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror! 

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