Monday, 26 May 2014

House on Straw Hill (1976)

Warning! This review is a fair bit spoilerish.

Infamous for being the only British film to suffer the wraith of the DPP making it on their 72 list of video nasties even to make it to the final 39 to be successfully prosecuted in 1983, 'House on Straw Hill' (a.k.a. ‘Exposé’) was available uncut on VHS very fleetingly up until this point. Banned in the UK until 1997 cuts had to be made to get it passed by the BBFC and it was not until last year with a Blu-ray/DVD release from Severin Films that an uncut version was finally made available again. This is the cut you want as in its censored form a fair bit of the tension is lost with the 51 seconds that was trimmed. Apparently, the original camera negative was discovered in a barn somewhere in rural England that was used along with two prints to create an uncensored version. The original title ‘Exposé’ is a bit of a head scratcher as in the story there is no subject of an exposé nor does it feature a character of an investigative journalist. ‘House on Straw Hill’ is a much more suitable title considering the actual setting is a house on a hill called Straw Hill and it is even referenced in dialogue. It is also the title the uncut version has been released under.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972)

The Japanese studio Toei Company are the innovators of pinky violence a term used to label a more specific range of pink exploitation films they produced throughout the 1970s. These were action thrillers with strong female protagonists, brutal graphic violence and generous amounts of female nudity and sexual titillation. Completely done away with, the stereotype of servile sexually repressed Japanese women is replaced with portrayals of tough sexualized badass girls fighting to free themselves from the shackles of Japan’s male dominated society. The depictions of violence usually entail catfights, knife fights, swordfights, torment, torture etc. The nudity, sex and sexual violence serve as the character’s degradation through their plights or using sex for empowerment over their male or even female adversaries… that and the sights of gorgeous naked young Asian women and their sexual activities are used to arouse the male viewers.