Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Beast Stable (Shunya Itô, 1973)

More spoils from my trip to NYC and the obligatory stop at Mondo Kim's Video & Music.* This time part of the three DVD "Female Prisoner Scorpion" box set.

*I shall forever be obliged to Tenebrous Kate for introducing me to this wonderful place!

Female Prisoner #701: Beast Stable (Joshuu sasori: Kemono-beya) is more Women's Revenge film than true WIP. This time Nami Matsushima, aka "Sasori," aka "Matsu," aka "Scorpion" is out of prison and on the run from the law. This is the third film in the series. You don't appear to need to have seen any previous film to watch this one.

Scorpion has a brief run-in with potential captors in the beginning while riding the Tokyo subway. She is handcuffed to a detective, and promptly (suspend disbelief) chops his arm off with a large chef's knife. The scene with her running through Tokyo with a severed arm connected to her by handcuffs is quite the beautiful thing, as it is unclear if the people on the streets know what is going on, so stunned is their expression.

The film is in Japanese with English subtitles, though this is hardly troublesome. Despite the trailer below, the film is less prison based, dealing mostly with Matsu and her new friend's troubles with sex slavers. They are as vicious as most prison guards from the genre, and definitely shows more of why Tarratino used these films as inspiration for the Kill Bill series. It gets a touch kinky at times, but not overly so. It is not a "nice" movie, and can still offer some shock to us moderns with our jaded film sensibilities. If you get the chance, it is well worth checking out.

For your benefit, this is a list (which I believe is accurate) of the "Scorpion" films:
  1. Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion (1972)
  2. Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972)
  3. Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Beast Stable (1973)
  4. Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion: Grudge Song (1973) - Final with Meiko Kaji
  5. New Female Convict 701: Scorpion (1976) - Yumi Takigawa
  6. New Female Prisoner Scorpion: Special Cellblock X (1977) - Yoko Natsuki
  7. Joshuu Sasori: Satsujin Yokoku (1991, OVA) - Naoko Amihama (?)
  8. Scorpion's Revenge (2005) (non-cannon?) - Yôko Saitô
  9. Sasori (2008) - Miki Mizuno


Vulnavia Morbius said...

Have you seen/written about the second movie, Darius? That sucker is one of the most deranged movies I've ever seen. I like Beast Stable a lot. It's beautifully shot, and that image that opens the movie, in which Matsu runs through the streets with a severed arm dangling from her own on a pair of handcuffs, is too awesome to be believed.

Lisa K. said...

I love Meiko Kaji. I only recently got me the Sasori Scorpion box. Those movies are so intense. I think Jailhouse 41 would be my fav.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Dr. M 7 Lisa - I have not seen Jailhouse 41 yet. The box set I got had 1, 3, and 4. Going to order 41 after payday ;-)

Have you seen any of the post-Kaji Scorpion films? I hear they don't compare, but a few seem to have their charms.

Lisa K. said...

I have, since I am such a huge fan of the Kaji ones and yes- they really do not compare.
They aren't bad, but when watching them it couldn't be more obvious that Kaji's presence is very essential.
But it wouldn't be a waste of time to watch them :)

Darius Whiteplume said...

I may have to give them a try, if they were just easier to find. Not sure i want to make the financial commitment. "Bad Girls" has been hard enough on my wallet lately :-)

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