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Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable More at IMDbPro »Joshuu sasori: Kemono-beya (original title)

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Great capper to an excellent trilogy

Author: srgilliem73 from Florida, United States
23 May 2006

I have been looking forward to the release of this DVD (and it's follow-up {Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701's Grudge Song}) for some time. I very much enjoyed the first two movies of this series. After just watching this film, I would have to say that this is probably my favorite of the three.

All three of these movies were directed by Shunya Ito. What is great about them, though, is that, even though they all feature the same lead character (wonderfully played by Meiko Kaji), they are each vastly different from the others.

The first movie (Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion) is more or less a typical Women In Prison movie. But the character of Scorpion is very intriguing - very reminiscent of the anti-heroes of many spaghetti westerns. And the director often used some very interesting and unusual visual approaches to the material.

The second movie (Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41) is a real tour-de-force. Not so much a WIP movie as the bulk of the film has Scorpion and six other escaped inmates on the lam.

This movie (Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable) is the third in the series and the last one directed by Shunya Ito. This one plays out as much more of a crime drama. Once again, our heroine is on the run. But this time out, she has managed to maintain a certain amount of normalcy in her life (relatively speaking anyway). She gets a job, she finds a place to live, she makes a friend on the outside. But, of course, everything has to unravel eventually. FPS: Beast Stable has a more straight-forward story that is told at a more leisurely pace than its predecessors. But I found it to be engaging from beginning to end. And don't worry: there is still plenty of depravity to go around in this movie! But I think these movies transcend most exploitation films because the more disturbing elements are played in a straighter tone rather than being used exclusively for in-your-face shock value. Yes, there were definitely moments in this movie where I cringed mightily. But I didn't feel that they detracted from the value of the story (well, maybe a time or two). One thing I have greatly enjoyed about these films is the continued build-up of Scorpion's mythos. With this entry character development is used much more extensively than in the previous two. We get to see that she is much more than just a stone-hearted vengeful badass!

As I mentioned earlier in this review, a fourth movie followed. It also features Meiko Kaji as Scorpion but had a different director. Without giving anything away I want to mention that FPS: Beast Stable ends in such a way as to make a sequel completely unnecessary. The fourth film is still quite good but it seems to play as a superfluous footnote to a mind-blowing trilogy.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in out-of-the-ordinary films. FPS: Beast Stable can be enjoyed as a stand-alone piece (as can the first two movies) but I would also recommend watching the others first if you have not already done so.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Third, And Most Brilliant Sasori Masterpiece

Author: Bensch
4 February 2008

The third film in a cycle of incomparably brilliant Exploitation movies, and the third masterpiece in a row, "Joshuu Sasori: Kemono-beya" aka. "Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable" (aka. "Sasori: Den Of The Beast" where I live) of 1973 is a film that differs from its predecessors in some aspects, but that equals (or arguably even surpasses) them in brilliance. The entire original Sasori series with the wonderful Meiko Kaji stands out as the absolute highlight in WIP cinema, and all of the films, especially the first three, uniquely combine Exploitation and Art-house cinema like no other movie does. "Beast Stable" is the third, and second-to-last "Sasori" film with Meiko Kaji, the last one to be directed by genius director Shunya Ito and, in my opinion, the greatest of them all. The first film "Joshuu 701-gô: Sasori" of 1972 is an absolute masterpiece of Exploitation cinema and simply THE Definition of Exploitation-Art. In the equally brilliant first sequel, "Joshuu Sasori: Dai-41 zakkyo-bô" Ito added more surrealism and symbolism. The third "Sasori" film, "Beast Stable" keeps up the surrealism (allthough not quite to the same extent as the second), and features even more social criticism than its predecessors. Topics like poverty, forced prostitution and the exploitation of the poor are central themes of the movie.

This third "Sasori" film is ingenious and sublime in all aspects and arguably the greatest of the, generally brilliant, cycle (to me it's this one, with the first one as a close second). Once again, "Best Stable" is both very artistic and very Exploitation-like. The visually stunning film features an enormous amount of brutal violence and sleaze again, as well as sequences of enormous surrealistic beauty. The stunningly beautiful Meiko Kaji is once again brilliant in her role of Nami Matsushima (aka. Sasori). I absolutely worship this wonderful actress, and I'm sure I'm not the only one to do so. The rest of the performances are also great, especially Mikio Narita is great as a police Inspector who is obsessed with catching Sasori. The musical score is the same throughout all three films, with "Urami-Bushi", sung by Meiko Kaji herself, as the main theme, which is great, since the score is, simply put, pure perfection. As its predecessors, "Beast Stable" is an absolutely brilliant masterpiece of Exploitation-Art that no serious lover of film can afford to miss. The entire Sasori-cycle ranges high on my personal all-time favorite list. "Beast Stable" is arguably the most brilliant masterpiece of them all! 10/10

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Very Japanese, very seventies, very much something else entirely

Author: Blaise_B from Pittsburgh
1 December 2006

This is Shunya Ito's final entry in the FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION series, starring the great Meiko Kaji. The series, based on a Japanese manga, follows the exploits of a woman unjustly imprisoned, brutalized by guards and fellow inmates, who defends herself with such aplomb, she becomes a jail-house legend. The other convicts nickname her Sasori, which means Scorpion. Over the course of two films, she escapes to wreak vengeance against the man who got her busted, is sent back for his murder, and escapes again; the second film ends with Sasori on the loose.

This, the third film, focuses on Sasori's life as a fugitive outside the walls. In an eye-opening first scene, Sasori evades detectives on a subway train; she comes out of it handcuffed to one of the detectives' arms, but not the rest of him. She flees to a slum which consists of a red-light district run by a forced-prostitution ring and a residential area made up of a mud street and shacks, where she is put up for the night and befriended by a lonely prostitute named Yuki. We soon discover that Yuki gives of herself on a nightly basis to her brain-damaged brother, who she keeps locked in a closet. Sasori tries to lead a normal life, taking a job as a seamstress and renting her own apartment, but she and Yuki soon meet again and are both embroiled in a plot that involves the Cruella De Ville-from-hell madam who runs the prostitution ring and the detective from the subway (Mikio Narita, a regular in Kinji Fukasaku films), who by God wants his arm back.

What follows is an atmospheric noir/horror yarn--it takes elements from both and uses them well--that applies Ito's flair for the visual to a mood that is different from the first two SCORPION films, yet bears the same unmistakable signature. A scene involving lit matches falling into a sewer tunnel is especially beautiful. Ito's use of sound, like when Sasori is incessantly scraping the handcuffs with the arm against a tombstone in an attempt to free herself, is as effective here as ever. He also employs silence more than usual, as if by virtue of a newly honed minimalism. This goes along with the relatively subdued tone of the first section of the film, which allows space to explore Sasori's and others' characters. Things pick up by the end, though it's all handled with a dreamier rhythm than the previous films. This is an asset. Each of the three films has its own style, I realize now, and seeing this one made me go back and watch the first, appreciating it more than before.

Meiko Kaji gives her usual amazing performance as Sasori, emoting silently, standing or moving or pouncing or maiming with a grace that switches seamlessly between human and animal. The pathos present in all three films is largely due to the human side of this grace, which never inhibits the films' darker aspects. Reportedly, Kaji, who did one more SCORPION film after this one, had as much to do with developing the character for film as Ito, not only in her performances, but off-camera as well. This film is a worthy swan song for the collaboration. Very Japanese, very seventies, very much something else entirely.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I cannot die before I fulfill my fate.

Author: lastliberal from United States
24 March 2009

After finishing the Zero Woman series, I was looking forward to the Female Prisoner Scorpion series; both based upon comics by Tooru Shinohara. Unfortunately, I was not able to see them in order, as this is the third in the series.

It starts great as The Scorpion (Meiko Kaji) is escaping from the police. Detective Kondo (Mikio Narita) did manage to get a cuff on her, but she proceeded to cut off his arm and get away. If that isn't bad enough, later on a dog digs up the arm and is seen trotting down the street before finding a place to enjoy his treat.

Scorpion might as well go back to prison as life is no picnic on the outside. First, a local Yakuza Tanida (v) threatens to put her back if she doesn't put out; and then the gang leader gets her when she gets rid of Tanida. But, they don't hold her for long before she escapes and is looking for vengeance.

Soon they are dropping like flies. Some certainly deserved it for wearing garish outfits with shirt collars so big they went all the way to the shoulder. The madam (Reisen Lee) turns herself in to avoid getting killed.

The police arrive at her latest kill and trap her in the sewer. She's in there for a week and the cops find out that a friend (Yayoi Watanabe) has been supplying her with food. (The story O Yuki (Watanabe) and her brother is a subplot that is very interesting, but only incidental to the movie.) They try to burn her out, but this is The Scorpion, and she has some unfinished business.

Not the usual mix of sex and violence, this is a slow tale that is beautiful throughout.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Bird of Prey ... Bird of Retaliation ...

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
12 March 2008

Since the past couple of days I'm really hooked on the "Female Scorpion" series and I keep hitting myself over the head because I waited until now – which is way too long – before purchasing the whole box set. "Beast Stable" is the third brilliant effort in a row, and the undeniably main trump of this series is how the writers always came up with something entirely new and different for each installment. Never before, or after, has there been an exploitation series that offered so much variety when it comes to story lines, settings, themes and filming styles. The original more or less qualified as a so-called "Women-in-Prison" flick (but already an atypical one), but you can't possibly categorize parts 2 and 3 as such, since they hardly feature any footage within prison walls. And the overall tone and atmosphere keeps changing with each new episode as well. The first film was harsh and gritty, whereas the second was psychedelic and part three is almost mainly melodramatic. Don't let this last description discourage you, however, as "Beast Stable" still features more than enough exploitative themes and disturbing footage in spite of the dramatic ambiance. The opening sequence, for example, is downright fantastic. Sasori, still a fugitive from the law, literally chops her way to freedom on the subway when there's no other possibility than to cut off the arm of the persistent policeman that handcuffed her. Her run through the city with the cut-off arm dangling on hers while the credits appear on screen, accompanied by the familiar theme song, is just pure and genuine exploitation gold! The story compellingly continues with our heroine desperately trying to lead an anonymous life in the big city, but the poor thing simply can't escape her past or even new types of agony. Sasori befriends a prostitute, though without exchanging dialog, and takes on a job in a sewing atelier. Her own retarded brother (!) impregnates the prostitute, while Sasori gets in trouble with the local pimping and underground crime network. She cleverly prevents a thug from taking advantage of her body, encounters a former enemy from prison and furiously avenges one of the prostitutes when she gets submitted to a barbaric abortion. Meanwhile, the one-armed cop continues to obsessively prowl the streets, looking for retribution against Sasori. Our multi-talented director Shunya Ito formidably criss-crosses all these story lines to a powerful wholesome and never once loses grip on the visual aspects or ingenious filming style. "Beast Stable" features some of the most impressive compositions and ingenious camera angles you can imagine, the editing is flawless and the exterior locations are effectively depressing. Those who know Sasori's character a bit are aware that the film seriously lacks memorable dialogs, but this always gets widely compensated with Meiko Kaji's wondrous on screen charisma and menacing grimaces. There's very little sleaze, apart from the aforementioned incestuous sub plot, but the brief flashes of extreme violence are terrific and the twisted ending is almost too brilliant for words. In fact, I think part three might just be the greatest (or at least, my favorite) one of the series so far. My only small and totally irrelevant point of criticism is regarding the ridiculous sounds one of the birds produces when Sasori is locked up in a cage. That bird sounds like a ventriloquist's dummy with stomach cramps.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Stunning masterpiece of pulp sleaze

Author: fertilecelluloid from Mountains of Madness
16 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Female Convict Scorpion - Beast Stable", the third in the series, is a magnificent piece of pulp sleaze. Closer in tone and subject to a Nikkatsu violent pinker than other Scorpion entries, it is stunningly photographed, directed with lurid enthusiasm, and populated with a rogue's gallery of villains and degenerates. Shinya Ito, the director of the first installment, returns for this surreal fable which begins with Scorpion (Meiko Kaji) cutting the arm off a cop she is handcuffed to and fleeing into the Tokyo subway with said arm still swinging from her wrist. She takes refuge in a red light district where she befriends a prostitute, who is first seen seen having incestuous intercourse with her brother (who ends up impregnating her). Scorpion's desire to protect this unfortunate woman eventually exposes her identity and all hell breaks loose. She is beaten, sexually assaulted, and locked inside a bizarre bird cage in the villain's lair. I loved everything about this hypnotic, nihilistic, and emotionally touching movie. It is the superior of the three first Scorpion films and features one great scene after another. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another excellent entry in the series

Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
12 February 2008

The original Female Convict Scorpion is an all time masterpiece. The first sequel, Jailhouse 41, was not quite as good in my opinion, though it's still notable for the fact that it took the idea from the original and created something in a completely different style. Director Shunya Ito has managed to do the same thing again with this film; the story is a bit different here, but still he's managed to take what made the previous entries excellent and better than many films of this type and craft something fairly original around it. Again the action focuses on Nami Matsushima (a.k.a. "Scorpion") and this time she's out of the jailhouse and not too keen on the idea of going back. After escaping from pursuing police officers, one thing leads to another and Scorpion finds herself getting it together with a prostitute and her retarded brother. The prostitute ends up getting impregnated by the retarded brother (...), while Scorpion is kidnapped and caged up by someone who she made an enemy out of in prison. But Scorpion doesn't like spending time behind bars and it's not long before she's back to doing what she does best.

The film gets off to a great start as we see Scorpion hack the arm off a copper intent on taking her back to jail. From there, however, the film slows down a lot and Beast Stable ends up being more of a drama than the previous two films. That's not to say that there isn't still plenty of action - Scorpion still spends a lot of time in 'revenge mode' and the film isn't exactly short on general sleaze. Meiko Kaji once again reprises her role as the sinister title character and it's another understated, almost wordless performance. Her screen presence is great, however and she manages to have a menacing presence despite being only small physically. The plot structure for this film is similar to the other two in that it all builds into a crescendo of revenge. There are more people who have angered Scorpion in this film than in the previous two so this section takes up a fairly large part of the film. There's a few surreal sequences, not as many as in the first film and nowhere near as in the second, but the film stays in with the rest of the series on that point. Overall, I would say this film is between the first two in terms of quality - not as great as the original and slightly better than the second.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another Rewarding Entry In The FEMALE PRISONER series...

Author: EVOL666 from St. John's Abortion Clinic
13 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Many consider BEAST STABLE to be the last of the "true" FEMALE PRISONER films, as it is the last of the series directed by Shunya Ito, and is followed by one other film (GRUDGE SONG) by a different director. I have not seen GRUDGE SONG yet (but soon will...) so I don't know how it stacks up to the previous FP films - but it will be interesting to see. The way BEAST STABLE ended didn't really leave a lot of room for another predecessor - but I guess I'll find out...

This entry has Scorpion on the run from the cops, where she hooks up with a street-hooker who ends up pregnant with her retarded brothers child (oh yeah - that's no lie...gotta love these sleazy story lines). Scorpion ends up being kidnapped by an old rival, but (as she is so good at...) ends up escaping and taking revenge on some people that wronged a few of her hooker friends...

I agree with some other reviewers, that this one is a little slower at points and more "serious" then the previous two entries. The story is somewhat confusing and convoluted at times, but a lot of these 70's era pinky films are - and I still love them. BEAST STABLE is lacking pretty badly in the nudity area which was pretty disappointing - but I thought it strong in other areas - storyline, cinematography, some good sleaze,etc...Definitely worthwhile to fans of this sort of thing, or who have enjoyed the other FEMALE PRISONER films...8/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

As good as its predecessors

Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
15 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The third and final Female Prisoner Scorpion film directed by Shunya Ito. The series' star, Meiko Kaji, would complete the series in the fourth installment, Grudge Song, directed by the capable Yasuhara Hasebe (who also directed Kaji in the excellent Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter). The original Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion is one of my all-time favorites. The sequel, Jailhouse 41, is nearly as good. It's generally considered the best of the series, and I might agree, I think, if it ever gets a better release on DVD (the original, by Image, is very poor). Beast Stable, in my opinion, is nearly as good as FP701. It's much slower, much more contemplative. It has its share of violence and nastiness, but there's more focus on the story and the characters. Sasori (Kaji) eludes detectives in the first scene (she is handcuffed to one and lops his arm off – and escapes with it in tow, which must be seen to be believed!) and hooks up with a freelance prostitute, Yuki. Yuki is being hassled by a local prostitution ring, which includes a goofy-looking madame with a cage full of pet crows. What really surprised me is how sad the movie is. Yuki's story, which is never resolved, it heartbreaking. The images are startling, and Ito's direction is masterful. It's too bad that he never went anywhere after he left the FP701 series. This is an awesome film.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A new direction

Author: goldenhairedone from Annapolis, Maryland
29 May 2005

The first three "Female Convict Scorpion" movies, which are the only ones directed by Shunya Ito, are part of the same series but are entirely different entities structurally. The first one is a fairly straight-forward 'women in prison' flick, the second is a piece of great avant-garde film-making, and the third is a slow paced character study. In fact, for most of the movie it is pure Japanese drama, especially the first half, and most viewers would be hard pressed to pigeonhole the movie with just calling it an exploitation film.

Not to say it is completely separate from the other two. Matsu is still her usual quiet self, albeit with a few more lines than normal, and the men are still complete scumbags. She's still running from the cops and using any pointy object she can get her hands on, but she is also keeping a steady job sewing, which is a strange sight to see for any fan of Matsu's previous exploits. She soon finds herself in a situation defending herself and two prostitutes against a local gangs, and violence obviously ensues.

So is it actually any good? For most part, yes, yes it is. The pacing is definitely slower but works well with its new rhythm. It just that it really does not go anywhere with all its character development that fills the first half, and the carnage that ensues does not the fun spirit of its predecessors. Its still a very colorful and stylish film, with some really memorable scenes, but it leaves you wondering why such an otherwise energetic trilogy had to end on a period, and not the exclamation point that its avid fans had all been expecting.


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