Specializing in noir, horror, and risqué oddities, Japan’s Shintoho studio produced more than 500 films in 14 years. The company went bankrupt in 1961, and few of their films have been seen in the West—until now. Though they produced works by masters like Kurosawa and Ozu, they are best remembered in Japan for their low-budget, high-concept genre films. Shintoho is comparable to American International Pictures, who, along with producer/director Roger Corman, flooded American drive-ins in the 1960s with tales of rebellious teenagers, vampires, werewolves, and curvy girls in bikinis. Join us for the West Coast premiere of these eight newly-remastered hidden gems. Curated by Mark Schilling, and originally presented by the Udine Far East Film Festival.
Ghost Story of Yotsuya
Thu, May 9, 7:30 PM
By Nobuo Nakagawa
A masterpiece of shock from the father of J-horror, this adaption of a famous kabuki play by Tsuruya Nanboku (1825) is a classic of the genre and widely considered the best of more than 30 film adaptations.
Sun, May 12, 2 PM
By Teruo Ishii
Flesh Pier tells the twisty story of evasions and betrayals is set in Japan's sex industry, in the back streets of Akasaka, Ginza, and Shinjuku, in a semi-documentary style with an unblinking recognition of its sordidness, together with a winking acknowledgment of its pleasures.
The Horizon Glitters
Thu, May 16, 7:30 PM
By Michiyoshi Doi
Released just before the studio’s collapse, The Horizon Glitters is a brilliant one-off about a prison break gone wrong that doesn’t fit in the usual genre boxes, and is made with a freedom and an energy that verges on the anarchic.
DOUBLE FEATURE: Vampire Bride and Ghost Cat of Otama Pond
Sun, May 19, 2 PM & 3:45 PM
By Kyotaro Namiki
Vampire Bride is a deeply odd take on the vampire theme, with a suitably deranged performance by young actress Ikeuchi Junko.
Ghost Cat of Otama Pond
By Yoshiro Ishikawa
The story of Ghost Cat of Otama Pond—a young couple caught in a web of ghostly revenge, with a black cat serving as a conduit between the worlds of the living and dead—is familiar from the era's horror films, though otherworldly shades of red and green, shadowy period atmospherics, and a Kabuki-esque theatricality combine to deliver shocks with skill and conviction.
Death Row Woman
Thu, May 23, 7:30 PM
By Nobuo Nakagawa
Arrested for the murder of her wealthy businessman father, convicted on false evidence and sentenced to death, Kyoko is determined to prove her innocence. With the aid of an older convict, she makes a daring escape and reunites with her fiancé. But with the police closing in, can they unmask the real killer in time?
DOUBLE FEATURE: Yellow Line and Revenge of the Pearl Queen
Sun, May 26, 2 PM & 3:30 PM
By Teruo Ishii
In Yellow Line, director Ishii was able to create his own unique atmosphere, somewhere on the borderland between dream and reality, where the forbidden and unlawful thrill and threaten in equal measure.
Revenge of the Pearl Queen
By Toshio Shimura
When Shintoho's voluptuous new discovery Michiko Maeda undressed for Revenge of the Pearl Queen, she hit the screens with a seismic force and a new star was born. Not only that, a new genre was born—the female pearl diver film.