• Gabe Powers

Grinding the Stream July 2020 UPDATES: Japanese Cult Cinema

***This is going to be a mid-monthly tradition now, I guess. At least until social distancing standards are completely abandoned. Maybe even after that. Some updates will be bigger than others – it all depends on what differences I can find.***


Are you self isolating? Are you thinking about broadening your cinematic horizons? Perhaps you’d like to learn about a specific genre? I’m here to help. Staying in the East, this time we’re talking about Japanese cult movie titles available to stream RIGHT NOW.


Netflix and Hulu’s selection is weak, but Amazon Prime is pretty good, as are various free streaming services available via Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, et cetera. I compared a bunch and, for the sake of simplicity, I found the best in terms of content and video quality to be Tubi, Midnight Pulp (a "+" will be included wherever subscription fees apply), VUDU’s free selections, The Roku Channel, Shout Factory TV (though most of their titles can also be watched via Amazon Prime), Popcorn Flix, Dark Matter TV (again, a "+" will be included wherever subscription fees apply). And, of course, this is Criterion Channel’s time to shine – and, by association, HBO Max. Shudder doesn’t do too badly, either. In fact, I’m not covering all samurai movies, because Criterion Channel has a heck of a monopoly in that regard and I’m pretty sure every single one available is great. Additionally, I’m not including Akira Kurosawa movies. If you have access to Kurosawa movies you haven’t seen yet, just watch them.

Be warned – all of the free apps have ad breaks (I know, it sucks) and the video quality is inconsistent from app to app. Sometimes it's genuine HD, other times, it's sub-VHS. Apologies if I’ve suggested something with particularly grim A/V quality. I've included links to my own reviews of some of these films and be aware that, despite my classifications below, complete director filmographies are not currently available free/subscription streaming.



Kinji Fukasaku Movies

  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity/Yakuza Papers Series: Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973), Hiroshima Death Match (aka: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, 1973), Proxy War (1973), Police Tactics (1974), Final Episode (1974) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • New Battles Without Honor and Humanity Series: New Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1974), Head of the Boss (1975), Last Days of the Boss (1976) – Amazon Prime

  • Cops vs. Thugs (1975) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +

  • Doberman Cop (1977) – Amazon Prime

  • Message from Space (1978) Amazon Prime

  • Virus (1980) Amazon Prime, Midnight Pulp, Popcorn Flix, and Tubi

  • Fall Guy (1982) – Criterion Channel

  • Legend of the Eight Samurai (1983) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • Battle Royale (2000) – VUDU Free and Tubi


Seijun Suzuki Movies

  • The Boy Who Came Back (1958) Amazon Prime

  • Voice Without a Shadow (1958) – Amazon Prime

  • Smashing the 0-Line (1960) – Amazon Prime

  • The Madness of Youth (1960) Criterion Channel

  • Take Aim at the Police Van (1960) Criterion Channel

  • Tokyo Knights (1961) – Amazon Prime

  • The Man with a Shotgun (1961) – Amazon Prime

  • Teenage Yakuza (1962) – Amazon Prime

  • Youth of the Beast (1963) – Criterion Channel

  • Gate of Flesh (1964) – Criterion Channel

  • Born Under Crossed Stars (1965) – Midnight Pulp and Tubi

  • Story of a Prostitute (1965) – Criterion Channel

  • Fighting Elegy (1966) – Criterion Channel

  • Tokyo Drifter (1966) – Criterion Channel

  • Branded to Kill (1967) – Criterion Channel

  • Kagero-za (1981) – Amazon Prime

  • Yumeji (1991) – Amazon Prime


Takashi Miike Movies

  • Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) – Amazon Prime, Midnight Pulp, and Tubi

  • Rainy Dog (1997) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp

  • Ley Lines (1999) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp

  • Audition (1999) – Shudder

  • Dead or Alive Series: Dead or Alive (1999), Dead or Alive 2: Birds (2000), Dead or Alive: Final (2002) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +

  • Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) – Amazon Prime, Midnight Pulp, and Tubi

  • Ichi the Killer (2001) – Shudder

  • Graveyard of Honor (2002) – Midnight Pulp

  • Gozu (2003) – Amazon Prime, Midnight Pulp, and Tubi

  • Three… Extremes (anthology co-directed with Fruit Chan and Park Chan-wook, 2004) – Amazon Prime

  • Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) – Amazon Prime, VUDU Free, and Tubi

  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (2007) – Fandor

  • Thirteen Assassins (2010) – HULU

  • Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) – Amazon Prime, VUDU Free, and Tubi

  • Over Your Dead Body (2014) Shudder and Tubi

  • Yakuza Apocalypse (2015) – VUDU Free

  • Terra Formars (2016) – Tubi

  • Blade of the Immortal (2017) – HULU

  • First Love (2019)Tubi



Meiko Kaji Movies

  • Retaliation (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1968) – Amazon Prime

  • Outlaw: Gangster VIP 2 (Keiichi Ozawa, 1968) Amazon Prime

  • Stray Cat Rock Series: Alleycat Rock: Female Boss (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1970), Wild Jumbo (Toshiya Fujita, 1970), Sex Hunter (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1970), Machine Animal (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1970), and Beat ’71/Crazy Rider ‘71 (Toshiya Fujita, 1971) – Amazon Prime

  • Blind Woman’s Curse (Teruo Ishii, 1970) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp

  • Female Prisoner Scorpion Series: #701: Scorpion (Shunya Ito, 1972), Jailhouse 41 (Shunya Ito, 1972), Beast Stable (Shunya Ito, 1973), Grudge Song (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1973) – Amazon Prime and Shudder

  • Lady Snowblood Series: Lady Snowblood (1973) and Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974, both directed by Toshiya Fujita) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • (She also appears in Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima)


Shinya Tsukamoto Movies

  • Tetsuo the Iron Man (1989) – Shudder

  • A Snake of June (2002) Midnight Pulp +

  • Vital (2004) – Midnight Pulp +

  • Nightmare Detective 2 (2008) – Midnight Pulp

  • Tetsuo the Bullet Man (2009) – HULU


Kiyoshi Kurosawa Movies

  • The Guard from the Underground (1992) – Fandor

  • Cure (1997) Criterion Channel

  • Pulse (2001) – Tubi

  • Doppelganger (2003) Tubi and Midnight Pulp

  • Loft (2005) Tubi and Midnight Pulp

  • Penance (2012) – Popcorn Flix (TV series)

  • Creepy (2016) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • Before We Vanish (2017) – HULU

Samurai Franchises

  • Hanzo the Razor: Sword of Justice (Kenji Misumi, 1972), The Snare (Yasuzō Masumura, 1973), and Who’s Got the Gold (Yoshio Inoue, 1974) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (Kenji Misumi, 1972), Baby Cart on the River Styx (Kenji Misumi, 1972), Baby Cart to Hades (Kenji Misumi, 1972), Baby Cary in Peril (Buichi Saito, 1972), Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (Kenji Misumi, 1973), White Heaven in Hell (Yoshiyuki Kuroda, 1974) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max (the re-edited American release, Shogun Assassin, is also available via Criterion Channel)

  • All 25 original Zatoichi movies are on Criterion Channel exclusively.


Bloodthirsty Trilogy

  • The Vampire Doll (Michio Yamamoto, 1970) – Amazon Prime

  • Lake of Dracula (Michio Yamamoto, 1971) – Amazon Prime

  • Evil of Dracula (Michio Yamamoto, 1974) – Amazon Prime



Japanese Horror, Ghost Stories, Other Weirdo Genre Stuff

This is a quite large and quite broad category, so take this as recommended movies that I assume haven’t been as widely seen as, say Ringu (1998) or Ju-on (2002).

  • Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan (Nobuo Nakagawa, 1959) – Criterion Channel

  • Jigoku (Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960) – Criterion Channel

  • Matango (Ishirō Honda, 1963) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Onibaba (Kaneto Shindō, 1964) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • The Face of Another (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966) – Criterion Channel

  • Kuroneko (Kaneto Shindō, 1968) – Criterion Channel

  • The Living Skeleton (Hiroshi Matsuno, 1968) – Criterion Channel

  • Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Hajime Sato, 1968) – Criterion Channel

  • Wolf Guy (Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, 1975) – Midnight Pulp

  • Hausu (aka: House; Nobuhiko Ōbayashi, 1977) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Evil Dead Trap (Toshiharu Ikeda, 1988) – Midnight Pulp

  • Battle Girl: Living Dead In Tokyo Bay (Kazuo Komizu, 1991) Midnight Pulp

  • Rubber's Lover (Shozin Fukui, 1996) – Midnight Pulp +

  • Organ (Kei Fujiwara, 1996) – Midnight Pulp +

  • Versus (Ryûhei Kitamura, 2000) – Fandor

  • Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies (Naoyuki Tomomatsu, 2001) Midnight Pulp

  • Karaoke Terror (Tetsuo Shinohara, 2003) – Midnight Pulp

  • Marebito (Takashi Shimizu, 2004) Midnight Pulp and VUDU Free

  • Rampo Noir (Akio Jissoji, Suguru Takeuchi, Hisayasu Satô, and Atsushi Kaneko, 2005) Midnight Pulp

  • The World Sinks Except Japan (Minoru Kawasaki, 2006) – Midnight Pulp

  • One Cut of the Dead (Shinichiro Ueda, 2017) – Shudder


Other Crime/Yakuza Movies

  • Rusty Knife (Toshio Masuda, 1958) – Criterion Channel

  • The Sun’s Burial (Nagisa Oshima, 1960) – Criterion Channel

  • Danger Pays (Kô Nakahira, 1962) – Midnight Pulp and Tubi

  • Black Lizard (Umetsugu Inoue, 1962) – Criterion Channel

  • Cruel Gun Story (Takumi Furukawa, 1964) – Criterion Channel

  • Iron Finger (Jun Fukuda, 1965) – Criterion Channel

  • A Colt Is My Passport (Takashi Nomura, 1967) – Criterion Channel

  • Violence at Noon (Nagisa Oshima, 1966) – Criterion Channel

  • Massacre Gun (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1967) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp

  • Golden Eyes (Jun Fukuda, 1968) – Criterion Channel

  • Vengeance is Mine (Shohei Imamura, 1979) – Criterion Channel and Fandor

  • Onimasa: A Japanese Godfather (Hideo Gosha, 1982) – Midnight Pulp



Godzilla Movies

  • Godzilla (Japanese: Gojira; Ishirō Honda, 1954) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Godzilla Raids Again (Motoyoshi Oda, 1955) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (Ishirō Honda, 1964) – Amazon Prime

  • Mothra vs. Godzilla (Ishirō Honda, 1964) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (Ishirō Honda, 1964) – Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, and HBO Max

  • Invasion of the Astro-Monster (Ishirō Honda, 1965) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (Jun Fukuda, 1966) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Son of Godzilla (Jun Fukuda, 1967) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Destroy All Monsters (Ishirō Honda, 1968) Criterion Channel, HBO Max, and Tubi

  • All Monsters Attack (Ishirō Honda, 1969) Criterion Channel

  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Yoshimitsu Banno, 1971) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Godzilla vs. Gigan (Jun Fukuda, 1972) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Godzilla vs. Megalon (Jun Fukuda, 1973) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (Jun Fukuda, 1974) Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, and HBO Max

  • Terror of Mechagodzilla (Ishirō Honda, 1975) Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, and HBO Max

  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (Takao Okawara,1993) Roku Channel and Crackle

  • Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (Kensho Yamashita, 1994) – Crackle

  • Godzilla vs. Destroyah (Takao Okawara,1993) – Crackle

  • Godzilla (Roland Emmerich, 1998) – Netflix

  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (Masaaki Tezuka, 2000) – Roku Channel and Crackle

  • Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Shusuke Kaneko, 2001) – Crackle

  • Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (Masaaki Tezuka, 2002) – Roku Channel and Crackle

  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Masaaki Tezuka, 2003) – Crackle

  • Godzilla Final Wars (Ryûhei Kitamura, 2004) – Crackle

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Michael Dougherty, 2019) – HBO Max and Tubi


Other Kaiju Movies

  • Rodan (Ishirō Honda, 1956) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Mothra (Ishirō Honda, 1961 –  Amazon Prime

  • Dogora (Ishirō Honda, 1964) – Amazon Prime

  • The Original Gamera Series: Gammera the Invincible (American re-edit; Noriaki Yuasa & Sandy Howard, 1965), Gamera vs. Barugon (Shigeo Tanaka, 1966), Gamera vs. Gyaos (Noriaki Yuasa, 1967), Gamera vs. Viras (Noriaki Yuasa, 1968), Gamera vs. Guiron (Noriaki Yuasa, 1969), Gamera vs. Jiger (Noriaki Yuasa, 1970), and Gamera vs. Zigra (Noriaki Yuasa, 1971) – Tubi (these are public domain, so their on YouTube as well)

  • War of the Gargantuas (Ishirō Honda, 1966) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • The X from Outer Space (Kazui Nihonmatsu, 1967) Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Space Amoeba (Ishirō Honda, 1970) – Amazon Prime

  • Gamera: Super Monster (Noriaki Yuasa, 1980) – Tubi

  • (You didn’t hear it from me, but the Daimajin series might be on YouTube for free...)


0 views

© 2020 Gabe Powers