Shogun Assassin (1979)
Directed by: Kenji Misumi (original films)/Robert Houston (compilation film)
Written by: Kazuo Koike (original film)/Robert Houston (compilation film)/David Weisman (compilation film)
Based on manga by: Kazuo Koike/Goseki Kojima
This one has the distinction of being the only (as far as I know) Asian film on the list. Certainly the only Samurai film.
But really it’s TWO Samurai films. Sword Of Vengeance and Baby Cart At The River Styx (the first two Lone Wolf And Cub movies from 1972) were edited together to form Shogun Assassin in 1980. They tell the story of a Samurai who was betrayed by his master during the Tokugawa Empire. His wife was killed and he was left to care for their young son, who narrates this version of the film. But, instead of going into hiding and taking care of the boy, the Samurai goes on a bloody rampage of revenge.
And blood there is. An amazing amount of it. Blood fills the screen with severed limbs and heads being cleaved in twain. It’s actually pretty awesome. And the kid gets in on the action, too. He probably isn’t much older than three, but he knows how to get the blades going on his cart to cut off the legs of his rivals. And the blood splatters on him, too.
The story is as old as time (and, in fact, was originally a manga), but the violence is what makes this movie, really. Not a great film by any means, but a lot of fun for gorehounds like me. And awesome for Samurai fans…also like me. One of the best of the Nasties.
Oh yeah, the music. Not so great. Not so great at all. But it was written and performed by Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere And The Raiders. And THAT is the craziest fact on display here, folks.