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Tag Archives: exploitation

The Age of Stupid (2008): …Begins Here

The Age of Stupid (Franny Armstrong, 2008)

Pete Postlethwaite, the film's narrator, is almost showed out of the poster by the title.

They had to keep the late Pete Postlethwaite on a leash to keep him from running away once he realized what an awful movie he’d signed on to do.
photo credit: IMDB

Somewhere in the innards of The Age of Stupid is a really, really good idea. But Franny Armstrong beat, pummelled, tortured, and scarred it until it was a twisted, unrecognizable, hateful, murderous shell of itself, the insane stepbrother of 12 Monkeys that was kept locked in the basement and fed nothing but dead rats until it was forty-five years old, then kicked out of the house and left to forage for itself. As expected, it turned to murder and cannibalism, but was too incompetent even for that, getting knocked over the head by a little old lady and turned into the police, who shot it in the temple, putting it out of its misery, rather than letting it survive. Okay, that last bit only happened in my fantasies. Instead, it turned to making movies and The Age of Stupid, a clunky, Neanderthal piece of Michael-Moore-style “documentary” filmmaking with all the subtlety of a homeless schizophrenic pissing on a cinema wall, was the result.

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Virgin Witch (1972): You Stupid Woman!

Virgin Witch (Ray Austin, 1972)


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The Virgin Witch can do it all!…except act, really.

If you hear the name Vicki Michelle and you jump in your seat, you want to see this movie. (Note, after my terrible experience with Bloodsucker Leads the Dance a few weeks back: while Redemption Video got their hands on this, thankfully, that is not the cut you can find on Netflix Instant as I write this.) If you don’t, then you can safely pass it by without a worry, but to fill you in: Michelle played Yvette, one of the perpetually-horny waitresses in the smash Britcom ‘Allo Allo! in the eighties and early nineties. And that, my friends, is absolutely, positively the only reason you would want to watch this otherwise ridiculous waste of celluloid.

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Le Scomunicate de San Valentino (The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine) (1974): Step on a Crack, Break Your Mother Superior’s Back

Le Scomunicate se San Valentino (The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine) (Sergio Grieco, 1974)

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When a problem comes along, you must whip it.

I have to start off by asking how you can begin with a title like The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine and manage to go so hideously wrong. And yet here I am, having watched Sergio Grieco’s ridiculous attempt at making a nunspolitation flick last night, asking that very question, because The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine goes so hideously wrong at every turn it could have, resulting in an incoherent mess of a movie that you would do very well to avoid at all costs.

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Kifujin Shibari Tsubo (Noble Lady Bound Vase) (1977): Pinky? More Like Blood-Red.

photo credit: Oregon State University

Kifujin Shibari Tsubo (Noble Lady Bound Vase) (Masaru Konuma, 1977)

[note: review originally published 20Jul2011]

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In America, you’d never see a cover like this on a movie that isn’t considered porn, not even the kind of cheap exploitation film this is.

I don’t know why it continues to surprise me that subgenres that appeared, in essence, exclusively in foreign film markets sometimes house bad movies. I am discovering somewhat rapidly that this seems especially true when it comes to Japan’s notorious pinky-violence genre. While there’s no arguing some fantastic works came out of the genre, there’s also a lot of, well, crap. That that should be the case in a genre devoted to cheap exploitation films is probably no surprise to anyone but me, actually.

photo credit: Grindhouse Database

Takagi seems quite happy with the proceedings. Of course, he’s not the one tied up.

Masaru Konuma’s twenty-fourth feature is pretty much of a piece with a lot of his earlier ones (such as the timeless Wife to Be Sacrificed and Cloistered Nun: Runa’s Confession, sure to bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened sociopath). What’s surprising is how much Western influence shows in this one (which was released in English-speaking countries, however briefly, under the title Noble Lady Bound Vase); you can trace a pretty basic genealogy straight back to Just Jaeckin here, both in the weak, watery “eroticism” the film conveys and in the casual, and thus entirely ineffective, attempts at getting a behind-the-scenes look at extreme BDSM/slavery.

Paper-thin plot: Naniji (pinky star Naomi Tani, who retired from showbiz in 1979 and became a restauranteur) is a noblewoman whose father sold her to the brutish Yoshino (Throne of Blood‘s Hitoshi Takagi) to pay off gambling debts. Yoshino married Naniji, and now subjects her to the life of a slave; she pleasures him whenever necessary, is given freely to his associates, and spends a good deal of time tied up, locked up, or otherwise restrained. The only thing that keeps her going is her continuing love for her ex-boyfriend, a respected doctor to whom she still writes (Akira Hanagami, who the same year would appear in a remake of pinky classic Gate of Flesh). When Yoshino finds out about Naniji still being in contact with her ex, his punishment of her is severe, but to add to the humiliation, Yoshino invites the good doctor down to the house for a weekend…

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The subtitle pretty much says it all.

Unlike the films of Seijun Suzuki, the pinky master, Noble Lady Bound Vase exists for no reason other than to depict slavery and humiliation. The emotional twists and turns of the film are not an attempt to get to know these characters as much as mechanisms that allow the basic plot to flow. And if you can’t care about Naniji as a person, why on earth would you care what happens to her? That’s what makes the film ineffective. * ½

Sorry, trailer freaks, you’re out of luck. I can’t even find clips on youtube!