« Coffee Break | Main | Vice and Virtue »

March 17, 2015

From Asia with Lust, Volume 1

camp poster.jpg

Camp
Ainosuke Shibata - 2014

hitch-hike poster.jpg

Hitch-Hike
Ainosuke Shibata - 2013
Troma Entertainment All Region DVD

I've been reading Kier-La Janisse's part autobiography, part survey about women in horror films, House of Psychotic Women. I can't find the exact quote, but if I can paraphrase it, she puts the Japanese "pink film" in a different light, so that the point for the Japanese audience is not that the women find themselves in horrible situations, usually involving rape and/or torture, but that they overcome their respective adversities at the end of the film. Be that as it may, there is something of a disconnection between how these two films by Ainosuke Shibata, starring adult video star Miyuki Yokoyama, have been sold, both to the home audience, as well as in this double feature DVD.

In both films, Yokoyama plays women who are terrible drivers, prone to accidents, and winding up at the wrong place at the wrong time. In Camp, Yokoyama is one of two sisters who end up crashing the car on their way to some resort. They take shelter in a cabin that's closed for the season. A man who lives nearby invites them to his place, only it turns out that he's one of several men who were former mental patients with unusual sexual hang-ups. That the guys go by nicknames like "Pyro" and "Copro" gives a hint as to their particular fetishes. The younger sister is sexual violated and murdered. Yokoyama is able to escape courtesy of the one guy who's doing his best to keep his pants on. A former nurse from the hospital discovers Yokoyama, teaches her archery, and the two return for revenge.

camp.jpg

A little bit of research indicates that Hitch-Hike is a remake of an Italian thriller from 1977, starring Franco Nero, Clorinne Clery and slasher movie fixture, David Hess. Yokoyama is the put upon wife abused by her husband, the hitchhiker picked up along the way, and even the guy she initially thinks is her savior. By the end of the film, Yokoyama has the good sense to ditch her husband, but not enough sense to wear a jacket while walking on a snowy mountain road.

Anybody who thinks they're going to see the star dressed in either movie like she does on the DVD covers will be disappointed. There's more violence than sex in both of these films, and not much in the way of nudity. For those who have a, ahem, yen, for naked Japanese women, you're probably better off seeking a "pink movie" from the Seventies.

On the other hand - keep in mind that while Miyuki Yokoyama's claim to fame is as an adult video star, she is also in a more mainstream film, appearing in Sion Sono's Tokyo Tribe, mainstream being a relative term here. Ainosuke Shibata seems like a fairly competent director with no particular style. Being a director of videos, adult or otherwise, in Japan, doesn't always have the same onus as it does in most other countries, so it is possible that Shibata might be heard from in the future with a film that gets more critical attention. The guy who won an Oscar for Departures probably wasn't pegged for future glory when he made Molester's Train: Momoe's Tush.

hitch-hike.jpg

Posted by peter at March 17, 2015 07:28 AM