• From Asia With Lust: Vol. 1

    Released by: Troma
    Released on: March 10th, 2015
    Directed by: Ainosuke Shibata
    Cast: Miyuki Yokoyama
    Year: 2014
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    The Movie

    This double feature from Troma collects two of the four Japanese Pink films acquired by Troma during their takeover of the Cannes Film Festival Last Year, the latter pair of which, Lipstick and Weekend, are scheduled for release later on in May.

    Fans shouldn't get too excited, however, at least if this first volume is any indication, for these two films from director Ainosuke Shibata-succinctly titled Camp and Hitch-Hike-are nowhere near the creative caliber set by Japanese filmmakers during the pink violence and exploitation boom of the 1970s. Instead, what we have here are two cheap, shoddy and rather obnoxious outings of sleazy cinema, probably shot over the course of a weekend or two with a small crew and digital camera set-up.

    Camp is the more extreme picture of the two, borrowing from the established genre tropes of backwoods, survival and rape-revenge films as it details the harrowing capture and humiliation of two sisters by a group of deranged male psychopaths. Each of these men arrived armed with their own sexual hangups, and are keen on abusing the sisters to the very depths of human endurance. Shibata is clearly going for a vibe similar to that of Thriller-A Cruel Picture in places, but only succeeds in mining the depths of bizarrely misogynistic set pieces without the benefit of we the audience actually caring about what happens to these characters.

    Granted, Camp pushes the envelope with regards to the pornographic torture our protagonists (and antagonists) can endure-seriously, this is one fucked up movie-yet it does so mechanically, without any visual style, flair or emotion towards its characters. It achieves this aim without the aid of any real special effects-other than some clunky CGI-pushing more towards an implied sense of depravity without anything which is visually offensive. By the time the actual "revenge" hits the screen, it's utilized almost as an afterthought, without any feelings of satisfaction or gratification on the part of its audience.

    Hitch-Hike pushes similar buttons when it comes to its tale of an abusive husband, his submissive wife and a hitchhiker with a secret. If this plot sounds familiar, that's because this second Shibata film borrows an abundance of its story from director Pasquale Festa Campanile's own Hitch Hike, the 1977 film starring Franco Nero, David Hess and Corinne Clery, right down to the bickering, dysfunctional couple (Nero, Clery) and the psychotic hitchhiker (Hess).

    Shibata's film shifts a bit during the second act, however, introducing a number of side characters with secrets of their own, while also upping the ante in terms of sexual debasement and abuse. The director is restrained at first when it comes to both nudity and gore, but later goes whole hog with perversion story straight out of a serial killer diary. Don't think for a second that this makes Hitch-Hike a good film, however, for the flick features universally poor acting, clumsy action sequences and a sense of tension which fades after the first twenty minutes or so. It's trite, methodical and, quite frankly, not worth anyone's time. Blech.


    Troma's double feature disc features a crisp representation of the digital photography from both films, with no artifacting or glitches. The Japanese audio is clear, although it must be said that the English subtitles possess a bit of a lag, and can be difficult to read when placed against the background of each film. This poses a problem more during Hitch-Hike than it does to Camp. but at the same time, it isn't as if the dialog is all that important when it comes to understanding what the fuck is going on here. There are no extras of which to speak, save only for the original trailers for both films.

    The Final Word

    Fans of Impulse Pictures' Nikkatsu Pink series of films may be able to find some semblance of enjoyment here, but everything is all a bit dire 'n dreary for yours truly. Both films provide scenes of abuse, humiliation and violence, but little in the way of anything truly satisfying.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Death to false pinky violence!