Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion
|Meiko Kaji as Matsu/Sasori (Scorpion)|
|Directed by Shunya Ito|
1970’s exploitation cinema reached new heights with the Scorpion series of movies from Japan. The Scorpion series of movies are classic example of revenge movies, of women wronged and chained, who fight back and kill those that used and discarded them. Anyway, those types of movies are right up my alley, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing some obnoxious character get killed horribly by someone he abused earlier. And this film is full of it!
Opens in a prison, the Warden is getting a commendation for service, but suddenly the alarm goes off! PRISON BREAK! Only one prisoner would dare break out in the daylight……Matsu! (aka Scorpion) Matsu and her girl Yuki are running though a field, but suddenly Yuki is bleeding. But it is okay, it is just her period. (because you don’t get periods while in jail! Or so says the movie…). A dog attacks, but is beaten to death. But it is too late, the girls are caught. And the opening credits begin. Which are some of the greatest opening credits in the history of the world. And I’m not just saying that because of the dozens of naked girls. Actually, yes I am!
Back to the actual story, the Warden cracks down on the prisoners because of the escape. And the more privileged prisoners dressed in red lead the backlash against Matsu. Matsu and Yuki are bound, and in solitary in dank cells. After some Warden yelling, we get a flashback as to why Matsu is here, apparently she was the girlfriend of a cop, who needed her for an undercover investigation. She was exposed as working for the police, and the gang she was with started to rape her, and her boyfriend bursts in, only to laugh. It was all a setup by her boyfriend who is on the take. She tries to kill him with a knife in front of the Police Station, but is caught and ends up in Jail. One of the red-dressed prisoners brings them food, complete with contempt and wet blankets. She then tries to dump hot soup on Matsu, who instead yanks the rug she is on, and causes the soup to instead fall on the red clothed prisoner.
Matsu’s old Boyfriend is still around, and he and Mob Guy are worried Matsu will escape, kill Ex-Boyfriend and expose the Mob Boss. So they set to have Matsu killed in prison. The girl they eventually get is Katagiri, who is the leader of the red-clothed girls. Later some of the other girls are gambling, and the Red-clothed girls are cheating. Another Prisoner exposes the cheat, and a fight breaks out, quickly broken up. Katagiri and another Red-Clothed girl Masaki plant a wire on Another Prisoner’s clothes while they shower. But Matsu sees it, and puts it back on the Masaki’s clothes. Masaki freaks out, and attacks Matsu, who dodges her, and slams a glass door in her face. Masaki gets up, her face bleeding, and is suddenly Kabuki Attack Girl, and chases Matsu around the shower area with a glass shard. She strikes, but Matsu dodges, and instead the Warden is stabbed in the eye. He is so ticked off (and rightfully so) he strangles Masaki to death right there. All of the girls in the prison are then given the old “dig a hole/fill the hole” work detail, including the Red-Clothed girls, who are demoted. Matsu is put in Solitary again, but this time there is another girl in there named Kitoh. “Why is there another girl in solitary?” you ask. “Because you can’t have a Lesbian sex scene with only one women” I shall reply. And they do. And it is good. Kitoh seemed to know a lot about what happened in the prison for someone who claimed to be in solitary the whole time she was there, and we find out it is because she is a cop sent in undercover to interrogate Matsu, but instead falls for her. (because the sex was just that good!) Matsu is then sent out to dig with the rest of the women.
After the next day’s digging, the women leave tired and complaining, except Matsu, who is forced to dig all night. “Devil’s Punishment” the others whisper. The next day, the other girls are ordered to fill the hole Matsu is digging, with Matsu still in it digging. Then after a while, all the girls are put in the hole and ordered to dig until Matsu dies. But Matsu keeps going. Fifteen to twenty girls collapse, and the guards start yelling, and finally Matsu herself falls. One of the guards starts to beat her, but Yuki slices part of his head open with her shovel, complete with lots of cool spraying blood. Another guard shoots Yuki, which spurs a riot. Katagiri tries to shoot Matsu during the confusion, but Yuki takes the bullets herself. The prisoners hole up in a warehouse with a few guards as hostages. There they demand food and an end to digging work. Warden finds these demands outrageous. Some of the girls then practically rape the male hostages while other prisoners cheer (obviously a man wrote this scene). Katagiri stirs up some crap about Matsu not being with them and her being the reason they started rioting. The Warden agrees to give up Matsu hoping they tear her apart. Which they begin to do, and after beating her, they hang her from the ceiling, and Katagiri burns her with a lightbulb.
But that night Katagiri tries to set fire to the warehouse, is caught, and beaten and strung up while Matsu is let go. The cops get into the compound, there is a firefight, and Matsu sets the building on fire escaping in the confusion. Then Mastu begins killing all those that shamed and wronged her, beginning with the mob henchmen. While killing them left and right, she’s dressed in a black dress with a black hat so she looks like the Wicked Witch of the West. The Prison won’t tell anyone she’s escaped, because otherwise people would find out about the riot and the fire. So they hush up but try to track her. Ex-Boyfriend Sagumi tries hiding, but is found by Matsu and they fight in an elevator. Sagumi tries to arrest her, and gives a speech about how the more she hates him, the more she thinks about him. Then he kisses her, but she bites his tongue, then stabs him in the thigh. Then stabs him again. And again. Then he dies, slowly and horribly like he deserves, it’s too sweet.
But the Warden then catches Matsu, and it’s back to Prison for Prisoner #701.
This film rules! Meiko Kaji is a legend in the cult film circles, for these and the Lady Snowblood movies. She’s also singing the song in the opening credits, which is on the Kill Bill soundtrack. Many people enjoy the second film in the series more than this one, but in my opinion this is superior because the vengeance angle is more pronounced. In Jailhouse 41 it is more about prisoners escaping than seeking revenge, though that shows up in it’s lesser extent. Overall, a good flick and good fun, especially if you are into these movies.
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