Friday, 25 July 2014

[Feature] Trailer Trash (25/0714) - Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion

What is Trailer Trash? Every Friday, I will share with you -- our fine readers -- a seedy, sleazy, trashy trailer of my choosing. This feature will run in cohesion with our sleaze obsessed friends over at Neon Maniacs. So, enjoy a slice of depravity, you sicker than sick bastards (whom I love dearly).

Female Convict 701: Scorpion
Director: Shunya Ito

This week in Trailer Trash, we're turning our attention to the nasty little sub-genre known as the "Woman in Prison" film. This week's choice is none other than the 1972 Japanese Film Female Convict 701: Scorpion.

Based on the Manga by Tōru Shinohara, the film tells the tale of Nami Matsushima (Meiko Kaji) who is set up by her boyfriend, a crooked Police Detective named Suigi (Isao Natsuyagi) in order to appease the Yakuza. As a result, the Yakuza savagely rapes Matsushima. In retaliation, Matsushima attempts to stab Suigi in the name of payback. However, her plan fails, and she finds herself incarcerated in prison. A prison maintained by ruthlessly sadistic prison guards at that.

Much is the case with pretty much every "Woman in Prison" film, Matsuhima is subjected to the vilest of treatment by her captors. Raped, imprisoned, tortured, treated lower than a dog and abused over and again. And yet, she endures such horrendous treatment with one thing on her mind: Vengeance. Because of her fiery will to endure such heinous treatment, she earns the nickname "Sasori" (Scorpion) from her fellow inmates.

The stunningly beautiful Meiko Kaji is pitch perfect for what is required of the role. She's given little dialog throughout the film, but her eyes tell us all we need to know. In her eyes, we witness the fury of hell as she endures such rigorously devastating torment. It's ironic given that she has so little dialog throughout the film, yet her soulful voice ended up providing the theme song "Urami Bushi." Which, of course, was repopularized and exposed to a wider Western Audience thanks to its inclusion in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.

Marking the Directorial Debut of Shunya Ito, the film is not without its striking moments. The opening sequence, in which hundreds of naked women are forced to march down a narrow corridor in sheer humiliation set to the somber Blue's infused tune of "Urami Bushi," is a completely striking combination of haunting visuals and music infusing art-house and sleaze in one package.

Make no mistake about it, the film is exceedingly gratuitous and not for the faint of heart. Sasori is a true highlight in the Sub-Genre thanks to its central performance given by Meiko Kaji. Kaji would later go on to star in the Lady Snowblood films -- again, another key influence to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill -- and it's not necessarily hard to see why after watching Female Prisoner 701. Also, the character of "Sasori" would later return for three more sequels with Kaji once again reprising the role.

As such, the entire "Sasori" series reigns supreme in the "Woman In Prison" subgenre.

-Daniel M



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