Lady Snowblood (1973)


You know that sound when you cut yourself and the blood gushes out like it’s coming from a tap? No? Well you will after watching Lady Snowblood. There is not one stabbing, slashing, swording, samurai-ing (definitely words) that doesn’t end with someone bleeding out like they’re more blood than anything else and they just turned on a geyser. Also, get used to it. There is a lot of stabbing, slashing, swording and samurai-ing in this film.

Lady Snowblood is a classic story of revenge but Lady Snowblood herself is one generation removed from the victim she is avenging – her mother. This makes for some intrigue as we travel with LSB as she tries to track down the bad doers with only their names to inform her. This is a grand old story and really quite clever in the use of flashbacks and backwards story telling so you are never sure of the whole story – just like LSB.

The film is pure Japanese fun times. Best to watch this in the original language I think. It would be too cheesy with American accents and mistimed mouthing.

Here’s something else I can tell you – Quentin Tarantino has seen this film. From the female protagonist warrior to the film’s ‘chapters’ this is Kill Bill circa 1973. There’s a mean all knowing warrior master too (yep, training montage!!). Even the over the top blood spurting is Tarantino-esque. I’m 100% sure QT watched it A LOT. So much so that he just had to go full homage on it. I can’t blame him. Lady Snowblood is all sorts of amazing.

If you like swording and samurai-ing and schlocky over the top action sequences with excessive blood spillage, well, this is the film for you. It’s no Kurosawa but it is all action and all samsploitation (samurai exploitation – new word).  Plus there are women taking the main stage instead of second fiddle. Classic exploitation film stuff – the one place you’ll find female main characters who can take care of themselves, although the women usually wear crazy not helpful to fight in outfits – which is also true of LSB although hers is a kimono. Of course you also see female main characters who can take care of themselves in  Tarantino films… that guy watched way too many exploitation films back in the day but oh how we love him for it.

Lady Snowblood is definitely one of the best samsploitation (if I use it enough it becomes a word right?) films I’ve seen. I can’t think of any others I’ve seen right now so I can’t compare but I’m sure it’s one of the best nonetheless. I would like to call it delightful but there was a touch too much blood and torture and stuff and swording for that. Plus blood geysers are not exactly a delight. They are, however, awesome. I shall therefore describe it as aweful, nope, too close to awful. Let’s try – delightsome. Yes, that.


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