Friday, November 9, 2007

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom

Shot with an absolutely ferocious edge by director Norifumi Suzuki in late 1972, TERRIFYING GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL: LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM is a whirlwind of creative energy and a kick in the face to anyone who doesn't think exploitation can work as a political statement.
Suzuki was just one year away from his rough attack on organized religion, SCHOOL OF THE HOLY BEAST (1974), when he directed this frenzied exercise in genre mixing. He had just directed the equally stupendous SEX AND FURY with Reiko Ike and Christina Lindberg, and he was obviously on creative fire in this period, as LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM seems to literally burn the screen with its sheer force.
Simultaneously funny, shocking, violent and profane, LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM tells the tale of Noriko (played by the wondrous Miki Sugimoto) and her gang who come to a school overrun by corruption to avenge the death of a friend. In the meantime, her arch enemy Maki (Reiko Ike) has revenge on her mind herself.
What is incredible about Suzuki, outside of his obvious compositional talents, his is ability to pile genre on top of genre (often in the same scene). LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM works as a juvenile delinquent film, a girl gang picture, a Yakuza picture, a satirical comedy, a sex film, and finally a bold commentary on the fall of the old Japan to an increasingly westernized world.
Working from a script credited to first time screen writer Tatsuhiko Kamoi, LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM has all the extreme violence and unhinged sexuality that one would expect from a seventies Pinky violence film, but it also has a raw passion and anger towards authority that is quite astonishing. Throughout the film we are continually presented with an overwhelmingly corrupt authority system, that is systematically taken down. From the images of the emperor like figure as a sad old pervert with a Hitler mustache, to a shot near the end of the Japanese flag burning while the young girls destroy their school, LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM feels nearly revolutionary in these days of our increasingly antiseptic and complacent cinema.

Photographed by talented Jubei Suzuki (whose colors on the current DVD are eye popping), LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM is an incredible beautiful film to look at. Also worth noting is the machine gun like editing style of Kozo Horiike, and the energetic score by Masao Yagi. The cast is also superb with special mention gojng to the incredible Miki Sugimoto, an actress with charisma and talent to burn, who controls every scene with a real power that is palatable.

One thing to keep in mind when watching these films, is to realize that many of these filmmakers and actors were children of one of the most destructive acts in human history. So the anger, rejecting and embracing of westernization, and questioning of authority is very real. LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM works as a kick ass exploitation film, but like the best exploitation there is something deep and resonate in the ideas it is exploring.
TERRIFYING GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL: LYNCH LAW CLASSROOM is available in Panik House's essential THE PINKY VIOLENCE collection. The set is out of print but copies can be found still for reasonable prices. Extras include a commentary, trailer, photo galleries and bio pages. It is a striking and unforgettable film.


Lastyear said...

This movie sounds terrible and the cover art is a big turn off but I'm willing to try just about anything so I've added it to my Netflix list.Hopefully I'll be surprised.

Jeremy Richey said...

Wow, I am pretty over the moon about...hope I didn't make it sound terrible. I think it is a really remarkable work...hope you get something out of it...

Neil Sarver said...

I think you made the movie sound like the same movie I saw... and love. Norifumi Suzuki is one of my heroes... *swoon*

I agree that the DVD cover looks oddly like "Japanese exploitation stars join the cast of Happy Days", although I don't find that altogether unappealing either... merely incongruous with the movie contained within.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much Neil...I love Suzuki and the films i have seen of his so far are just amazing. These films are so inventive, ands have so many layers...I appreciate the nice words...