Challenge of the Lady Ninja (1982)

Challenge_Of_The_Lady_NinjaDirector: Lee Tso-Nam
Starring: Elsa Yeung, Chen Kuan-Tai, Peng Kong, Kam Yin-Fei

Challenge of the Lady Ninja is a difficult film to describe because it refuses to explain itself. Not that any film should have to spoon feed an audience, but in this instance it almost comes across as if they were making the story up as they were going along. But let’s see if I can put the pieces together. Firstly, it is a contemporary film, meaning it appears to be set in the year that is was made – being 1982. I know this because the villains drive around in modern motor cars. Next point, Japan has invaded China, and now controls Shanghai. However there is an underground resistance of freedom fighters who are rebelling against the Japanese oppressors. So Chinese / Japanese animosity is at an all time high.

As the movie opens in Shanghai, we meet the villain of the piece, Lee Tung. We know he is the villain, because Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars plays when we see him first. Lee Tung lives in a luxurious villa, with high walls and four specialist bodyguards – skilled at various martial arts.

Lee Tung is a Chinese business man but is reviled because he works hand in hand with the Japanese, He is considered a traitor to his people. His uncle, and prospective father-in-law calls on Lee Tung and begs him to change his ways. Lee Tung refuses. Uncle has no option but to try and kill Lee Tung. But before he can strike, he is cut down by the body guards.

The movie changes location to Japan, and we are introduced to Yu Chow Wei. She is at ninja school, and the time has come for her to prove she is worthy of being a ninja by passing a series of tests. Wearing a fire-engine red ninja costume, during the test she is attacked by the other ninja students as she tries to make it through a forest to a temple where she must retrieve a medallion. It is during this test, we are introduced to Miss Wu’s special ninja power – which I have got to say is kinda goofy! Surrounded by a cadre of ninja men holding swords, with a Linda Carter Wonder Woman twirl, she magically appears as a smokin’ hot bikini babe. The ninja men go all slack jawed and goggle-eyed. They drop their weapons and rush forward to… well, I guess some kind of ninja gang-bang. Thankfully before the movie gets all rapey, it is revealed that the smokin’ hot babe shtick is all an illusion planted in their minds. She is standing to the side, still dressed in her ninja costume. She throws a smoke bomb at the ninjas who are groping thin air. Then she continues her quest.

Her last challenge is against the number one pupil at the ninja school. He is guarding the medallion. If she gets past him, she will become the first lady ninja. She does succeed by outwitting him. However, he thinks she is unworthy of being a ninja for two reasons. Firstly, because she is a woman. And secondly, because – shock horror – she is Chinese!

At graduation, Miss Yu is informed of her father’s death. If you haven’t worked it out, she is the first cousin of Lee Tung (and his fiance). It was her father that was killed in the opening scene. So now equipped with freshly minted ninja skills, she heads back to Shanghai for her father’s funeral, and naturally to avenge him – because she is a ninja!

Upon arrival back home, Miss Yu finds things are worse than she though in Shanghai. She decides to train three other women in the art of ninja-ism so they can take down Lee Tung and his Japanese lackeys. This provides the opportunity for a training montage as the ladies get into shape – and it must be said, it contains a studied amount of leering, upskirt, crotch-shot photography. I always like to use the words upskirt, crotch-shot where possible in my film reviews because it helps the blog attract more traffic. While I am at it, I would just like to add naked, nude and porn. They have little to do with the movie, but once again will increase the amount of hits this post receives. But the film does have boobies though, so there’s that. But where was I? Actually I think I’ve finished. So let’s wrap this up.

So the rebels, with the assistance of four lady ninjas take on Lee Tung and his bodyguards. Ninja mayhem ensues – swordfights, smokebombs and er, mud wrestling! Despite any veneer of being a cheesy sleazy ninja flick, Challenge of the Lady Ninja actually turns out to be a cheesy sleazy spy flick, complete with a twist ending (which I have to admit I did not see coming).

Needless to say, this film is not for everyone. But let’s face it, the name Challenge of the Lady Ninja tells the viewer everything they need to know. Ninjas. Ladies. And it’s relative obscurity means you’re not going to accidentally pick this film up. You’d have to seek this one out, and if you’re the type to seek out a cheap-jack Hong Kong film called Challenge of the Lady Ninja, then you know what your in for before you even start watching it. Therefore my thumbs up or thumbs down opinion is pointless really. But let’s just say the overall goofiness of the film won me over in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

For a more in-depth review with screencaps, head over to TarsTarkas.net

Advertisements
Challenge of the Lady Ninja (1982)

Stripper Pole at the End of the World

StripperIt’s no secret, when it comes to movies I like ‘Ploitation’ – whether it be Exploitation, Bruceploitation, Sexploitation, Nunsploitation, Dwarfsploitation – all of it. And over the years, Permission to Kill has presented its share of ‘Ploitation’ or schlock cinema reviews.

Now that same kind of cheap and nasty thrills can be downloaded onto your kindle. From Schlock Zone Drive In Theater comes their latest novella, Stripper Pole at the End of the World scribed by the prolific Eric Beetner.

Here’s the blurb.

In the near future, after The Collapse, work is hard to come by. The economy is in ruins, much like the city crumbling around Janet, a woman who has lost everything – her husband, her job … her leg.

When the lure of a job brings her out on the increasingly dangerous streets she must confront the deadliest of new fears – the bands of cannibals who roam the city.

With a ragtag group of bikers, strippers and survivors Janet must face down the most dangerous night of their lives. When dawn comes, not everyone will live to see a new day and dance at the Stripper Pole At The End Of The World.

So yeah, Strippers, Biker Gangs and Cannibals. Sells it self really. Of course, to a fella like me, this is a must read.

The Stripper Pole at the End of the World is now available from Amazon.

Stripper Pole at the End of the World

Churchill's Vixens No 3

Churchill’s Vixens No.3 The Leaning Maiden

By Leslie McManus
Published by Mews Books 1976

The Leaning Maiden, is the third book in the Churchill’s Vixens series and it may even be more sleazy than the first. The second book in the series, The Belgian Fox I haven’t found a copy of — and that may be a good thing!

The action passages in The Leaning Maiden are poorly written – so if you look at the story from a blood and thunder perspective – it doesn’t pass muster. But let’s be honest, this book was never intended to be more than low-class 1970’s smut.

Even though I enjoyed this book (and I have had a bug, so my brain hasn’t really been firing on all cylinders), I couldn’t really recommend it to anyone.

From the back cover:

THE ALLIES GREATEST AGENTS AT ESPIONAGE, DESTRUCTION AND SEX

Churchill’s Vixens: The most secret weapon employed against the Third Reich. Special agents as capable on a midnight mission as in the beds of friend or foe.

Sophia Veluttio: Athletic and voluptuous, young, English girl of Italian ancestry, is parachuted into Italy to help the resistance prepare for the Allied invasion.

She proves as adept at blowing up factories as seducing Italian officers.

Sophia leaves a trail of destruction and confusion for the enemy as she and her comrades move toward the day of reckoning on the beaches of Anzio.

Sophia’s story, like the others in this powerful new series, might just be true.

Churchill's Vixens No 3

Las Vegas Grind Vol. 6

As I am sure you’re aware, I am a sophisticated man of the world, who derives no pleasure from rummaging through the trashcan of popular culture. But still, I bravely troll through the filth on your behalf. I like to think of it as a public service. After all, who would you rather hear about sleazy subcultures from? Permission to Kill, or some old geezer in a mac!

Today we enter the secret world of the ecdysiast – or if you prefer Burlesque Queen, Show Girls, Bump and Grinders, Stripteasers, Strippers, Exotic Dancers, Erotic Dancers or Lap Dancers. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to to it!

I am now at an age where going to a Strip Show doesn’t hold the lure that it once did. I am no longer the pimply youth attracted by bright lights and sins of the flesh. Now, most likely, I would be considered the ‘dirty old man’ in the corner. A figure to be scorned, pitied and ridiculed. However when I was younger, on the odd occasion I was known to frequent such establishments. My years at art-school encouraged me to admire and appreciate the female form, and if that’s a crime I’m sorry!

But the shows I went to back then, were positively primitive to the big clubs they have in the city these days. The shows I went to were mostly in hotels and pubs, with the blinds drawn down and doors locked, while an anemic girl would writhe around on the pool table (usually armed with a bottle of baby oil and shaving cream). If she was the fearless type, she may launch herself onto the bar and strut around from on high, allowing the punters ample opportunity to see the goods on display. It was nothing like a Paul Verhoeven film. Despite the rustic and slightly seedy setting, rest assured, I was dressed immaculately in a dinner suit, sipping a ‘Creole Scream’ (with one olive), because then, as now, I am a complete gentleman and a class act. The music back then, in these venues was always the same – a mixture of cock rock, Billy Idol and Prince. And of course let’s not forget Berlin – their song Sex (I’m a…) was a classic.

But times have changed. Strip Shows are big business these days, with lavish glittering establishments, with rock-concert standard lighting, and powerful sound systems blasting out the music at levels that make conversation impossible. Smoke machines spew out coloured plumes, keeping the atmosphere hazy enough to make sure that you cannot focus on the naughty bits – the actual ‘naughty bits’ that you paid good money to see. And furthermore, adding insult to injury, you have to take out a small loan just to buy a drink. Strangely enough, although the setting has changed, the music these days (in the fair city of Melbourne at least), still seems to rely heavily on 80’s cock rock. Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses and Poison’s Every Rose Has its Thorns are still routinely given a good workout. But poor Billy Idol and Prince seem to have gone by the wayside.

But Strip Shows had a life long before my days (well, duh?), and pre-recorded music was not the norm. Often they had bands playing alongside the girls. That’s how the Beatles started! Of course the punters weren’t interested in the music, they came to see the girls, however many of these bands were tight little units. Admittedly the environment they were in, and the backing they were expected to provide, didn’t allow for too much variation, with most of the numbers not too far removed from the standard twelve bar blues. But to make their tunes just that bit more exotic – and strippin’s all about exoticism as much as eroticism – the performers would throw in a crazy organ solo, a fevered sax break, or even a bongo rhythm that made the tracks sound Middle Eastern or Tribal African. The soundscapes they created were attempting to conjure up visions of the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’, ‘Primitive Jungle Love Rites’ or any other secret sexual fantasy world, including B & D – which gives us songs like The Whip, by The Creeps. But I am getting ahead of myself. Allow me to introduce you to Las Vegas Grind.

I first discovered the Las Vegas Grind series many years ago, very, very late at night, on vinyl, owned by a friend who had an absolutely staggering record collection. And as you have no doubt you’ve guessed, this series is devoted to old time stripper music. Bluesy, swingin’, wild stripper music! The albums are compilations featuring some underground nuggets and obscure performers. I doubt that you’d have heard of any of the artists presented (I hadn’t), but don’t let that dissuade you.

This review looks at Volume Six, the last in the series (but it could easily apply to all the albums), and this one is available on CD. The availability of the series does tend to fluctuate a bit, and finding some of the early albums is hard, but to be honest, unless you really, really love dirty stripping sounds (and I can appreciate that), then you probably only need to hunt down one album in the series to fill that seedy void in your music collection.

Let’s get down to brass tacks then shall we. Las Vegas Grind: Volume Six has twenty-six tracks – almost all killer, no filler. Highlights include Ray Gee and his Orchestra, with The Slouch, which features a cheesy slice of organ (imagine being at a baseball game), with suggestive ooohs and aaahs over the top, which fade into smooth harmonies. Bowlegs dish up One More Time, Part Two which is a piano (or should that be ‘Piana’) blues with a scat narrative over the top and some mean tenor saxophone. Johnny Little John & Guitar presents Johnny’s Jive which is a jangly guitar driven rocker, with some wild sax running alongside, and hammond organ spiraling along under the surface. The El-Capris get all primitive on our ass with Safari which is a rumbling tribal number with a hip shakin’ bongo beat. Omay Kay’s Turkish Coffee could come straight out of the Arabian Nights with a sound so familiar you’ll think you’ve heard it before – but can’t remember where. Freddy Scott and the 4 Steps take a page from the Wilson Picket handbook (via early James Brown) with Same Ole Beat, and The Ramrocks On the Rocks is Tequila in all but name. The Jaguars track, entitled, er… Jaguar taps into The Batman sound, and Ronnie Isle’s Wicked is straight ahead fifties, greased hair rock and roll. Of course I could mention a lot more, but music is not really an literal medium. It really needs to be heard to be appreciated.

As you can imagine, lyrics aren’t really are big part of this music. It is more about the musicians hitting a regular go-go groove and riding it. But many of the songs have lyrics of a sort. Sometimes they simply have a phrase repeated at the end of each twelve bars (such as ‘Tequila’). Here we have phrases such as ‘Cold Slaw’, ‘Spunky Onions Boy’, ‘Kaput’ and ‘Jaguar’. Bowlegs attempts a running commentary during his number, The Slouch, with ‘Holey-moley look at that over there’, and Johhny Little John reassures the listener that ‘It ain’t nothin’ but a titty’. With such silly lyrics, or I think ‘vocal stylings’ may be a better phrase, sometimes these numbers come close to being novelty songs, but as I have suggested, it really is all about the groove, and creating a mood and beat to which the girls can ply their trade.

Somehow listening to this music makes the strip shows of the past seem innocent and fun. I am sure that they weren’t and it was still about making money, and fleecing the customers. However, there is a sense of energy and spontaneity in these recordings that make it seem that a visit to a strip club was a visceral heart pounding adventure, rather than a soul sapping, mechanised money extraction system, like today’s clubs. I guess that’s a sad reflection on our times and how homogenised it has become.

Las Vegas Grind: Volume Six was released by Strip Records, Germany in 2000.

Las Vegas Grind Vol. 6