Shintoho Schlock Series Pass
One of the six studios active during Japanese cinema's 1950s Golden Age, Shintoho began life in 1947 in the chaos of a ferocious labor struggle, and was on a shaky financial footing for most of its brief history. Once showman Mitsugu Okura became its head in 1955, Shintoho shifted production to nationalistic war epics and low-budget genre pictures that proved successful with fans. The occasional hit, however, couldn't drain the swamp of red ink. When the end came in 1961, the only surprise was that the studio had managed to hold on so long.
In its early days, Shintoho was home to such internationally acclaimed auteurs as Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Kon Ichikawa. Under Okura's reign, however, Shintoho began to resemble American International Pictures, the Hollywood schlock factory that targeted the drive-in market in the 1950s and 1960s with B-grade pics featuring fast cars, rebellious teens, vampires, werewolves and curvy girls in bikinis.
Condemned as cheap, disposable trash at the time, these films have had a surprisingly long afterlife, as well as oversized influence. Just as there was a direct line from the AIG biker movies of the 1960s to the phenomenon of Easy Rider, Shintoho's genre product had a big, lasting impact on everything from Japan's porno industry to the J Horror shockers that became favorites of Hollywood remakers.
Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122