In 1976, 18 year old Sogo Ishii made a short 8mm film called Panic
in High School as a school project. Ishii once said that he chose
the subject matter "mostly to irritate the faculty." The idea
originated from a news story of a school shooting in the United States
[California State University, June 12, 1976]. The film became popular
- especially among young people - when he began showing it at school functions
and local coffee shops. Nikkatsu Studios [enjoying success with their
Pink Films] took notice. They approached Ishii with an offer to bankroll
a feature version, to be written and helmed by him. It was a unique opportunity
that 20 year old Ishii couldn't miss. However, Nikkastu didn't take any
chances. They also added Roman Porno filmmaker Yukihiro Sawada to the
mix and he brought along assistant director Shusuke Kaneko plus various
studio stars including Junko Miyashita [see pic above, right]. In the
end, the clash of Nikkastu's Pink with Ishii's Punk resulted
in a production that thrives on tension.
story deals with a student named Tanaka who buckles under the stress of
college entrance tests and commits suicide. The teachers are advised to
downplay the event, to treat Tanaka as a loser who couldn't face the pressures
of life. Fellow student Yasuhiro
is aghast by the faculty's casual attitude and leaves the school. However,
he soon returns with a rifle and ammunition. His first victim is a math
teacher, killed with three shots to the chest. The school erupts in panic.
Yasuhiro takes some female students as hostage. And the bloody standoff
Ishii (now known as Sogo Ishii) was born January 1958 in Hakata, Japan.
He is often credited for introducing the Cyberpunk Wave to Japanese Cinema
with his BURST
(1982). He also evolved into a major award-winning director after
OF DREAMS and ANGEL
DUST. He returned to his roots for the wild masterpiece PUNK
SAMURAI SLASH DOWN in 2018.
cast and crew is a wonderful combination of Ishii's friends and Nikkastsu
Studio. As mentioned earlier, starlet Junko Miyashita [pic 2nd row above, right]
plays the mother of a hostage victim while Akira Takahashi (from FLOWER
AND SNAKE and numerous other Pink films) is the lead detective.
The main female victim is a debut performance from Asano Atsuko who later
became a staple in Japanese television [cult fans will also recognized
her from TAMAMI:
BABY'S CURSE]; Miyako Akaza was Sayo Kashima in LADY
SNOWBLOOD. From Ishii's camp is Shogeru Izumiya, a protest singer
[called the Japanese Bob Dylan], who a few years later would write
and direct the cyberpunk gutpunch DEATH POWDER. Another recognizable
actor is Sakae Umezu from the RAPEMAN
series. The assistant director is Nikkastsu vet Shusuke Kaneko, who would
later find success with various Gamera a movies [genre fans
will recognize him for MY
SOUL IS SLASHED and the DEATH
NOTE series]. The music is done by Space Circus, Ishii's own band
which also featured his friend Tadanobu Asano (ICHI
Japanese film with optional English subtitles;
widescreen format, uncut (95 min.),
in DVD format, encoded for ALL REGIONS, playable on any American DVD machine.
Extras include selected trailers.
Recommended For Mature Audiences