Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter
December 11, 2003
Stray Cat: Sex Hunter (1970) is the third installment in a wild series of cult films that play out like the Japanese version of Jack Hill’s exploitation movie, Switchblade Sisters (1975). Sex Hunter is an unhinged trip complete with vintage ‘60s psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll music, a funky fashion sense and outrageous, over-the-top violence.
A group of young girls accuse a man of touching one of them inappropriately, so they do what comes naturally and mug him. They take his watch, pawn it and go shopping with the money. These girls are unrepentant delinquents (are they any other kind in these kinds of movies?) who steal a car for kicks and fight each other with knives. A rival gang of guys known as the Eagles drive around in army jeeps and eventually hook up with the girls. They are led by the Baron, a cool cat of few words who always wears sunglasses and smokes cigarettes. Just lighting a cigarette is a declaration of war for this guy.
However, when his gang beats up the half-breed boyfriend of one of the girls, it doesn’t sit too well with them. To add insult to injury, the Baron tells Mako (Kaji) and her gang to stay out of their business. No one tells Mako what to do and as you can probably imagine, the girls decide to exact some revenge.
It is definitely a well-deserved payback. The Eagles are a group of racist bullies who go after anyone that doesn’t conform to their warped beliefs. Anyone who isn’t pure blood Japanese is fair game. They also extort money from hapless store-owners. They even terrorize a couple for sitting too close.
Watching this movie is like stepping into a time machine to another time and place—the Japan during the swinging ‘60s, baby! Mako dresses like a cross between Zorro and Cher (during her Chastity period). At first, she comes across as a ruthless troublemaker but her romantic involvement with the Baron shows a softer side to her character.
Sex Hunter is a gleefully trashy movie complete with trashy dialogue that is, surprisingly, not all that memorable with a few possible exceptions (at one point a girl says, “I can’t lose my chastity in this cesspool!” during a party that turns into a chaotic orgy gone bad). The movie does contain the requisite thrills—people are threatened with busted beer bottles and dragged underneath jeeps—but it doesn’t quite go all the way with it like in Seijun Suzuki movie.
A trailer for the movie and a filmography for director Yasuharu Hasebe.
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter is not quite as sexy as the title would suggest. It is, however, an interesting snap shot of its time. The DVD features an excellent print of the movie and decent liner notes by film critic Richard Kadrey. Fans of Japanese cult films should dig this movie in a big way.