Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Shunya Ito’s third installment in the series could be considered the final proof of his exceptional skill. After turning the original women in prison movie – which was never a standard offering of the genre to begin with – into a surreal trip to madness Ito once again turns the table upside down and delivers a movie that differs from the previous installments like day and night. The fellow prisoners, the sadistic warden, the surrealism, even the prison setting are all gone. The third film follows the escaped Sasori who tries to settle down in a big city while being chased by a persistent cop (Mikio Narita).
Despite the outrageous opening scene Beast Stable is more of a character study than anything else. Ito uses long takes, often without any dialogue or music, and really lets the silent Meiko Kaji shine. The soundtrack features some incredibly beautiful tunes that accompany the images flawlessly. While these moments are the film’s very best offering, they don’t unfortunately last till the end. The second half is very solid genre cinema but after the unexpectedly impressive and melancholic first half you can’t help but to feel slightly disappointed. There’s still some more discreet moments but much of the content would actually work even better in a different movie.
While the second half doesn’t go exactly where you’d hope it to go, there’s no denying of it being thoroughly entertaining. Content wise the film moves closer to the previous films, which depending on the viewer is either a good or a bad thing. The very last shot is simply wonderful and would be a perfect way to end the series. The Toei bosses however would not let the series rest and the next film would be produced without Ito’s participation.
Reviewed by Hung Fist