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“She’s Just a Shadow”: Miss Kitty, the Japanese Gangsters and the Masturbating Serial Killer

“She’s Just a Shadow” is a Japanese American film rather teetering on the absurd but full of vivid imagery to the extent you are watching a debauched Miss Kitty nightmare interspersed with the June Taylor Dancers on the Jackie Gleason show of the 1960’s.

The cinematography would make Timothy O’Leary happy as the visuals are “turned on”. Brilliant set design, the colourfulness of downtown Tokyo and Japanese consumerism make this a film worth watching. The opening scenes are so poorly acted I wonder if this was intentionally designed by director Adam Sherman to initially be seen as a cheap Japanese B gangster movie. The first 10 minutes have gangsters Gavin (Kihiro) and Red Hot (Kenetz Asaka) putting on such a poor acting performances one can only wonder if it is intentional and comedic? Kihiro bombs through the entire movie and Kenetz quickly becomes polished and believable.

The film is saturated with nudity, a masturbating serial killer, Japanese gangsterism and black-market sex trade antics.

The visual aspects of the film rescue it from self destruction.

The serial killer is a sadistic brute that ties his victims to railway tacks, all females in their young twenties, before oncoming trains so they are smashed to pieces. He films the gruesome smash-up always masturbating on them before the train does its destructive work.

Red Hot and Gavin are low life hoodlums but Gavin at least realizes he is on the path of self destruction. Red Hot eventually begins to become unhinged like Gavin.

The serial killer continues his nasty ways eventually infiltrating the pimping ring of Red Hot’s girlfriend. The pimpstress comes from a family where the grandmother specialized in fatally poisoning just about anyone who come to her house for dinner.

The serial killer wipes out a few of the pimpstress’ girls and then a battle between the pimpstress’ girls ( all heavily armed) and the rival Blue Sky Gang wipes out more of the girls.

Red Hot is taken out by the serial killer, Gavin shoots himself and the serial killer is given some poetic justice by the pimpstress via Grandma’s soup recipe.

Miss Kitty has definitely been dipping into some magic mushrooms on this film.

I recall seeing a film “Escape from New York” (1981) with Ernest Borgnine and Kurt Russell years ago both good actors but the acting was so horrible particularly by Oscar winning Borgnine it was a gem. A contradiction eh? Well this film might be heading in the same direction!

The trailer can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnnGIQQrqA8

Check it out at if you wish to purchase https://itunes.apple.com/ca/movie/shes-just-a-shadow/id1470522703 

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