by Chris MaGee
Very sad news came down the line this weekend. "Black Tight Killers", "Bloody Territories", and "Stray Cat Rock" director Yasuharu Hasebe passed away due to complications from Pneumonia. He was 77.
Born in 1392 in Tokyo Hasebe joined Nikkatsu studios in 1958, working as an assistant director under Japan's original cinematic bad boy, Seijun Suzuki. While Hasebe's films never reached the surreal heights of his mentor his early films, like 1966's "Black Tight KIllers", a tongue in cheek spy adventure starring Akira Kobayashi, definitely embraced camp and kitsch. As the 60's gave way to the 70's Hasebe's work became more hard bitten with films in the "Stray Cat Rock" and "Female Convict Scorpion" series, as well as the highly under-rated yakuza drama "Bloody Territories". Later in the decade Hasebe lead the pinky violence movement with such films as "Assualt! Jack the Ripper" and various rape-themed exploitation fare.
In the past couple of years Hasebe was brought on board to direct episodes of TV Asahi's smash hit cop series "Partners" and he ended up helming the last year's "Partners" spin-off film "Partners: Investigator Mamoru Yonezawa’s Case File", which didn't live up to the success of the show's first big screen outing.
Our deepest condolences to Hasebe's family, friends, and colleagues. Thanks to Jason Gray for the details on this sad news.