“Or, as Chris called it, ‘Lynch Law Lolitas’…”
This was the title that finally ‘broke’ Chris, and she wondered what the hell I was Googling to come across this movie. Shame she missed it, as despite some rather nasty sexual sadism, it’s among the best of the genre. Girl gang leader Noriko (Sugimoto) is assigned to the “School of Hope”, a morally-bankrupt educational establishment for delinquent girls. It’s principal is entirely ineffectual, and it’s actually run by the vice-principal (Imai), with the collaboration of the “Disciplinary Committee,” a group of the girls he allows to dish out punishment. Noriko isn’t going to stand for that, and teams up with a sleazy journalist (Watase) to bring down both the Committee and those in charge.
Right from the opening scene, where the Committee drain the blood of a victim, before she falls to her death from the roof, this certainly grabs the attention. Another review described it as, “Like Mean Girls via Caged Heat as written by Jess Franco and directed by Russ Meyer,” and that’s about as accurate a synopsis as you’ll get. The girls – not just ‘Noriko of the Cross’ [which she has tattooed on her inner thigh], but also “Razor-blade Remi” and the members of the Committee – are undeniably hardcore, and not the kind of people you want to cross. Yet, other sequences are outright misogynistic, such as one pupil being punished by having a light-bulb inserted into her, then being forced to do push-ups. Where did that come from? There’s also a lengthy omorashi fetish sequence. Look it up. Could have done without it as well.
But if you can get past that – not that I would blame you if you couldn’t – the good stuff outweighs the bad. You can even read a socio-political subtext into this, as the early seventies were a time of political instability in Japan, with their Red Army group in operation. The main theme is power: the struggle to achieve or hold on to it, and the final ten minutes, with the entire school rioting and taking on the Japanese police with rocks, stick and other weapons is pretty much a middle finger at all authority. Almost all such structures are portrayed as rife with corruption, and if the male side of the species is not subject to the same level of brutality, they’re cynically depicted as relentlessly perverted and driven by their brains. The only honour or humanity to be found here is with Noriko and her allies, in a severely screwed-up world, and it’s this transgressive approach that deserves approval.
Dir: Norifumi Suzuki
Star: Miki Sugimoto, Reiko Ike, Tsunchiko Watase, Kenji Imai