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DVD: Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter / Nora-neko rokku: Sekkusu hanta (1970)
Review Rating:   Standard  
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Catalog #:
STR 280
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1 (NTSC)

June 22, 2004



Genre: Crime / Action / Yakuza  
Miki, Mako, Megumi, Peko and Yuka face struggles inside and outside of their cool girl gang during the sexual and cultural revolution of early 70's urban Japan.  



Directed by:

Yasuharu Hasebe
Screenplay by: Takashi Fuji, Atsushi Yamatoya
Music by: Hajime Kaburagi
Produced by: none credited

Meiko Kaji, Tatsuya Fuji, Rikiya Yasuoka, Jiro Okazaki, Mie Hanabusa, Nobuko Aoki, and Mari Koiso.

Film Length: 85 mins
Process/Ratio: 2.35 :1
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   Japanese Mono
Subtitles:   English
Special Features :  

4 page booklet with liner notes by Film Critic Richard Kadrey / Cast & Crew Bio / Theatrical trailer for "Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter" / New digital transfer & improved English subtitle translation,

Comments :

Nikkatsu studio crime thrillers are known as ‘Nikkatsu mood pieces' and most of them are about as lurid and melodramatic and you'd hope for. Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter manages to hit another level by going over-the-top in several genres. It's a teen-gang flick (complete with a singing hero), with touches of social commentary involving one gang's desire to rid Japan of ‘half-breeds' (their term, not mine). It's also bloody and violent with a scary rape motif, all of it painted with candy colours and a poppy soundtrack.

It starts with a girl gang who hang out at the local café and listen to insidious Japanese/English pop while maintaining a safe distance from the Eagles, the boy gang (with the brightest shirts this side of Bollywood). But the local Amerasian hunk (who's looking for his long-lost sister, who shares a name with one of the girl gang…say…you don't think…) runs afowl of the Eagles, and things get messy. Imagine an Austin Powers movie by way of The Blackboard Jungle with a few elements from the Nikkatsu flick of your choice, and you're getting close.

If you ignore the plot and watch the film as an exercise in style, you won't be bored. Hasebe indulges some sublime weirdness with colour and angles- the aspect ratio actually shrinks during scenes in the local blues bar (with pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. on the wall), making it appear even more claustrophobic, and the flashlight-duel is pretty intense, and the Molotov cocktail, post-gangbang attack (don't ask) is genuinely harrowing.

Extras include notes from Richard Kadrey, who discusses the other Stray Cat Rock films (Sex Hunter was one in a series of five), a nice reprint of the poster, and trailers for both Stray Cat and HVE's upcoming Zatoichi releases. It's hard to tell if director Yasuharu Hasebe is trying to make a cautionary tale or a no-holds-barred camp piece, and there are a lot of sour notes when things get nasty - the rape scenes are particularly unsettling, although there's no question as to whether the director approves of them or not (this is not Straw Dogs). Just be aware- whether you are looking for camp or violence, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter does nothing by half measures.

Yasuharu Hasebe's Bloody Territories is also available from HVE. Other entries in the Stray Cat Rock series include Wild Jumbo, Machine Animal, Female Juvenile Delinquent Leader (all from 1970), and Wild Measures '71 (1971).


© 2004 Michael John Derbecker

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