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Panic in the High School (1978) Sogo Ishii violent masterpiece
Panic in the High School (1978) Sogo Ishii violent masterpiece


original Japanese title KOKO DAI PANIKKU [Panic in the High School]

director: Sogo Ishii [Gakuryű Ishii] with Yukihiro Sawada
starring: Shigeru Yamamoto ˇ Asano Atsuko ˇ Miyoko Akaza ˇ Junko Miyashita ˇ Shigeru Izumiya ˇ Akira Takahashi ˇ Sakae Umezu


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.

The 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 begins.


Gakuryű 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 CITY (1982). He also evolved into a major award-winning director after releasing LABYRINTH OF DREAMS and ANGEL DUST. He returned to his roots for the wild masterpiece PUNK SAMURAI SLASH DOWN in 2018.

The 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 THE KILLER).


A 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.


Graphic Violence/Nudity/Sexual Brutality
Recommended For Mature Audiences

Sale Price: $19.50
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