Home  |  Message Board  |  Creature Feature  |  Paranormal  |  Multimedia  |  Email Us  |  PCR Archives  |  Spotlight  |  Classics From The Vault
   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #559  (Vol. 11, No. 50)  This edition is for the week of December 6--12, 2010.

"The Tourist"  by Mike Smith
John Lennon Remembered  by ED Tucker
Lady Snowblood (1973)  by Jason Fetters
Rocking Rick .... Passing On .... And So It Begins .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

Lady Snowblood (1973)

A flash of a sword, a hand flies off a man's arm as bright red blood sprays into the afternoon sky as a woman, surrounded by men, looks on with grim determination. Such are the action shots found in 1973's Lady Snowblood. The live-action movie was based on a manga by Kazuo Koike and artist, Kazuo Kamimura. An English translation was issued by Dark Horse Comics, years later, in 2005, mainly due to the influence Lady Snowblood had on Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1. In fact, on an initial viewing of Lady Snowblood, the influence is made clear. Both films share the same revenge motif of a strong woman taking revenge. Both films have scenes with generous amounts of blood being sprayed. Also, both films show interesting dialogue between characters before an action scene. For example in Lady Snowblood, Meiko Kaji walks up to one of the men she intends to kill and talks to the man's daughter just before he meets a grisly death. This is reminiscent in the first Kill Bill when Uma Thruman is seen walking up to Vernita Green's house (Copperhead) and talking together just before the fighting begins.

Lady Snowblood tells the story of Sayo, a wife whose husband and son are killed by a gang of men. Sayo is repeatedly beaten and raped and forced into prostitution. Still the desire for revenge burns so strong in Sayo's heart that she kills one of the men and that lands her into a female prison.

Realizing that she can never escape prison and therefore never get revenge, she sleeps with multiple prison guards in order to give birth to a child for vengeance. Eventually, Sayo gives birth to Yuki who will carry out Sayo's revenge.

Once the basic plot details are done, Lady Snowblood is all about conning men and beautiful shots of samurai swordplay with bloody wet action. Against all the typical Grindhouse nature, Lady Snowblood has poetic expressions in how each of the chapters are titled and displayed like a fine poem from a highly regarded literary text. There is more here than just action and mayhem, there is also an art house vibe that sets this movie apart from mindless chanbara.

The structure of the movie is done in chapters as if one were reading a manga that moves from chapter to chapter as a novel. It is this type of set-up that allows the viewer to truly experience the story as it unfolds from beginning to end and each chapter's title conveys something that will occur within that chapter and that gives the discerning viewer a clue as to what may happen next. Still, there are unexpected scenes as when one of the women who assists the men is trying to stop Yuki's revenge, is shown hanging from a rope and pretending to play dead. Yuki hears her heartbeat and cuts her in two as her bottom half smacks the floor.

There is a lot of cool stuff for today's movie-goer to enjoy out of this 1973 movie. Lady Snowblood has stunning cinematography, plenty of sword fights, and bright red blood that looks more like something from a comic book than real blood to satisfy even the most hardened slasher fan.

Worth a view at the perfect time for watching it, during the Winter and over Christmas vacation.

5 out of 5 Stars.

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.