Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kyôfu joshikôkô: bôkô rinchi kyôshitsu (1973)

...aka: Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom

Directed by:
Norifumi Suzuki

At the School of Hope for Girls, an utterly ridiculous boarding school that prides itself on turning the delinquent teenage criminals of today into the obedient housewives and child bearers of tomorrow, three new transfer students; girl gang leader Noriko (Miki Sugimoto), "Razor Blade" Remi and slutty bisexual Kyoko have just been brought in by the cops to be whipped into shape. Soon enough they find themselves facing off against the "disciplinary committee," a gang of sadistic bullies who are paid off by the school's corrupt vice president to torture the students who get out of line or challenge authority. Sounds fair enough for a sleazy little exploitation film and this movie opens on high note as a tied-up girl is slapped around, belittled, gets her breast cut with a scalpel, has her blood slowly drained and is then knocked off the school roof. Noriko discovers the murdered girl is actually a friend of hers and vows to get revenge. There's also a wealthy tabloid reporter involved who also wants to see the school crumble for his own reasons. Unfortunately for this viewer, the opening scene is the sole shocking moment in the film and one of the only memorable things about it. TERRIFYING GIRLS... is classified as "pinky violence;" something I'm not too familiar with. Apparently it's a subcategory of Japanese films of various genres that try to cram in as much T&A as possible because they could not legally show pubic hair. I guess for fans of this kind of film, it delivers the goods, with many scenes of gorgeous Japanese women sans clothing and in various sexual situations, some a little kinky and others a little comic. But to me, something was really missing that kept the film from being as good as it otherwise could have been. It's adequately sleazy, but there is also an element of fun that's missing.

Don't get me wrong, it's not terrible or anything. I was just surprised at how pedestrian much of this seemed and how bland even many of the more outrageous scenes came across. I think it has something to do with the overall uncertainty of tone and the fact the characters (even the supposed heroines we should be cheering on) are all so nasty, one-note and/or unlikable. Kind of takes away from the pleasure of seeing girls kick ass when you don't even really care who wins in the end. The premise, and the depiction of the school, is impossible to take seriously for one second. That wouldn't be a problem at all, except for the fact that the film wants us to start taking it - and its characters - seriously toward the end. I actually really didn't care much by then, despite a few entertaining and amusing moments here and there. I'm sure the making-girl-do- push-ups-after -a-red-hot-light -bulb-inserted-her-vagina gag will go over real well with some people. There's also nipples getting shocked with electric wires, the girls bringing in a rubber band so they can gang bang an elderly teacher and other things that sound outrageous on paper but aren't quite so outrageous how they're set up and visualized here.

It is the second entry in a four-part series the began with WOMEN'S VIOLENT CLASSROOM (1972). I probably won't be making these a priority.


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