“You’ve made an unbreakable vow. In the name of vengeance, you must foreswear all human emotions, all love and hate, everything.” Your basic all-inclusive vow, then? Got it. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they check out the major influence for Tarantino’s Kill Bill Duology, Lady Snowblood(1973).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 172 – Lady Snowblood (1973)
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A young woman is trained from birth to be a deadly instrument of revenge against the swindlers who destroyed her family.IMDb
- Director: Toshiya Fujita
- Writers: Norio Osada (screenplay); Kazuo Kamimura (manga illustrator) & Kazuo Koike (manga writer)
- Cinematographer: Masaki Tamura
- Selected cast:
- Meiko Kaji as Yuki Kashima (“Lady Snowblood”)
- Mayumi Maemura as young Yuki
- Kō Nishimura as Dōkai the priest
- Toshio Kurosawa as Ryūrei Ashio
- Masaaki Daimon as Gō Kashima
- Miyoko Akaza as Sayo Kashima
- Eiji Okada as Gishirō Tsukamoto
- Sanae Nakahara as Okono Kitahama
- Noboru Nakaya as Banzō Takemura
- Takeo Chii as Shokei Tokuichi
- Hitoshi Takagi as Matsuemon
- Akemi Negishi as Tajire no Okiku
- Yoshiko Nakada as Kobue Takemura
- Rinichi Yamamoto as Maruyama
Lady Snowblood, the horror-adjacent inspiration for Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) & Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), is Jeff’s pick and he loves this movie, describing it as a visual feast with a non-traditional story structure incorporating Japanese culture and history. It is so much fun!
Seeing Lady Snowblood for the first time with excellent visual quality, Bill is completely absorbed in the film. He was already familiar with the lead actress, Meiko Kaji, from Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972), which he also loved, and he loves her performance. It’s the kind of performance the viewer can read a lot into. He describes the character and Kaji’s performance as a female version of Clint Eastwood’s “man with no name.”
This is Doc’s first time watching Lady Snowblood and he falls in love with the movie. The simple story with an interesting structure, amazing sound effects, plenty of gore for the gorehounds out there, and the great screen presence of the lead actress all contribute to him cherishing every moment of Lady Snowblood.
You’ve probably guessed by now that the Decades of Horror 70s Grue Crew heartily recommend Lady Snowblood. At the time of this writing, it is available to stream from HBOmax, the Criterion Channel, and various PPV sources. In terms of physical media, it is available in The Complete Lady Snowblood (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray], which also includes Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974). And if you are as infatuated with the acting of Meiko Kaji, you might want to check out her Female Prisoner series – Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972), Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972), Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (1973), and Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701’s Grudge Song (1973) – all of which are currently available to stream from Shudder.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule, chosen by Bill, will be The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973. Ray Harryhausen, Caroline Munro, John Phillip Law, Takis Emmanuel, Tom Baker, Robert Shaw, and the usual assortment of stop-motion animation creatures? Oh yeah!
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