Tokyoscope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion
by Jasper Sharp
With so many books on Japanese cinema now going down the exploitation route, you might think there wouldn't be much room for another. Proudly wearing its cult film origins on its sleeve, Patrick Macias's Tokyoscope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion still proves that there's a lot more out there still to be said.
Featuring a foreword by Kinji Fukasaku and an afterword by Takashi Miike, Tokyoscope breaks down the material into a series of informative chapters covering Monster Movies, Horror, Yakuza flicks, disaster flicks, "Pink and Violent", Fukasaku, Miike and Sonny Chiba, all succeeded by a series of reviews pertinent to the section in question. Highpoints include a fascinating interview with the guys who transformed the first two Lone Wolf films into that trash favourite Shogun Assassin, an enlightening section covering films that have actually been banned in Japan, and a translated article about the making of Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster. Full marks for including films that haven't been written about elsewhere (Nikkatsu's The Weird Love Makers, anyone?), and digging deep with the background research, though as the author states in the foreword, this isn't intended as an encyclopedia, so the scattershot approach taken here at covering as broad a sample from the exploitation genre as you can fit into 240 pages results in a fairly eclectic selection of material (9 films reviewed in the horror section, for example). As I said, there's a lot of info in here not available elsewhere, but you get the impression this isn't going to be Macias's last word on the subject.