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From Asia With Lust Volume 1: Camp/Hitch-Hike

Troma // Unrated // March 10, 2015
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted April 21, 2015 | E-mail the Author
From Asia With Lust Volume 1:
When it comes to extremes, Japan has much of the world beat. Though Camp could be considered a little mild by some standards, (it's not terribly graphic, for instance) I'm comfortable saying that no-one does the 'Rape/Revenge' flick quite like the Japanese do. Thanks to the Troma Team, those purveyors of weirdness who will release just about anything, as long as it's looked-down-upon, those of us who may otherwise shy away from a geek-show featuring sexual torture and worse, can experience this nasty camping trip.

Well, it's not exactly a camping trip; sisters Akane and Kozue are on their way to somewhere, when their passive-aggressive argument leads them to crash into a berm on a lonely country road. Dang it, wouldn't you know they can't get a cell signal after the wreck, so like any good women in a horror film, (which is essentially what Camp is) the pair head off into the woods to check out a deserted campground in hopes of finding help.

Too bad the sweet-faced, kind-eyed, turtleneck-wearing gentlemen who discovers them holing up in one of the cabins is not what he seems. Should I be coy? I'll try. Somehow the girls end up in the hands of a group of sadist/fetishists who want nothing more than to hurt, rape, torture, and possibly kill our heroines. For those interested in such things, a fair amount of naked flesh is displayed, in the least erotic way, and atrocities are committed. Pee-fetishes, asphyxiation, and sex-with-a-vacuum constitute some of the hi-jinx, while disemboweling skips the 'intestines unspooling' aspect to go straight for the 'intestines disgorge their contents' scenario. While such things are absolutely disgusting, much is left to the imagination, with sleight-of-hand stabbings and aftermath imagery standing in for things that would, if shown in plain light, make this a truly tough movie to watch.

A solid cast ensures that the movie's shot-on-video look, semi-detached air, and glancing horrors are still effective and nasty. It's a good thing the goons on hand go for buffoonery rather than David Hess-styled evil, or Camp would go to the head of the disturbing class. As it is, it's still a rough ride for fans of extreme Japanese sludge. Recommended?

Hitch-Hike features many of the same actors, which is a bonus for those of us who enjoy 'foreign' cinema but don't follow it religiously enough to weigh the relative merits of various actors. (Sure, I can say that Chow Yun Fat is a rock solid actor, but after that, I'm no connoisseur, if you catch my drift.) At any rate, watching the same actors assay different roles on the same disc is quite instructive. I'll say this, there is a decent amount of versatility on display, even though both features offered are in the same vein.

However, Hitch-Hike employs its exploitative elements to much more madcap ends. It also drifts a bit aimlessly. It strives to make similar points as those offered in Camp, but those points are delivered broadly and less effectively. Briefly, we find a couple traveling the Japanese hinterlands. They encounter some raping in the countryside before unwittingly offering a ride to a murderous felon, who proceeds to give them plenty of trouble, before everything devolves into a barbarous pile of doo-doo. (Movies that portray humanity as a cesspit of remorseless savagery are a reliable box-office draw, don't you know.)

Unlike Camp, however, it's difficult to really concern ourselves with the fate of our protagonists, painted in broad and relatively unsympathetic strokes. The villain, similar and simpering evil to the actor's role in Camp is simply awful, (one wants to reach into the TV to throttle him personally) which makes the movie a tough slog. On the other hand, taboos approached are less extreme this time, meaning the thrill of transgression is not as alluring. Instead what we're treated to are some poorly choreographed fight scenes, and green-screen work during critical driving sequences that will remind older viewers of SNL's 'Toonces The Driving Cat,' which is not something you want to think about if you're hoping to maintain the tension. Hitch-Hike, were it not the back half of a double bill, would earn a Skip It rating. Combined with Camp, the end result is a Rent It for fans of relatively extreme Japanese cinema. Yeah, you know what I mean.


What with the cramming of two 70-minute features on one DVD, your 16 x 9 widescreen presentations aren't likely to fare very well. Perhaps I had simply lost my will to live by the time Hitch-Hike rolled around, but it seemed to look a tiny bit better than Camp. That said, don't count on great shakes here. Camp (and probably Hitch-Hike too, but as mentioned, I may have stopped caring) fairly delights in a heavily compressed image, resulting in rampant aliasing. When was the last time you had to worry about aliasing on a DVD? Otherwise, some posterizing appears in darker scenes and others with more atmospheric lighting, while details decrease in clarity pretty rapidly from foreground to background. Colors are shot-on-video accurate and fairly well saturated.

Dolby Digital Stereo is fine for both features, especially considering a large part of the viewing audience will be paying more attention to English subtitles, which lag a bit behind the dialog anyway, at least as far as I could tell. There is a wide range of volume levels, however, so those interested in what those whispers sound like will then be blown away by the parts when our combatants begin grunting like constipated pigs while they kick each other's asses. Yeah, I said it, but you true fans know there is something uniquely endemic to the straining sounds of struggle in many Japanese movies.

Trailers for each movie, English Subtitles, and Scene Selections are your sole extras.

Final Thoughts:
This is a mixed bag of Neo Pinky Violence movies from Japan. Camp piles on the atrocities with an oddly detached air, but will please those looking to be shocked while maintaining an emotional distance. Hitch-Hike seems less focused, and harder to slog through, though it's interesting to watch the same actors tackle different roles. If you're studied in such things, neither film will open new vistas for you, but you'll at least be able to add a notch-and-a-half to your belt, from this bare-bones release. On the whole, if you know what the term Ero-Guro means, you might consider giving this double bill a Rent It. (Yeah, the syntax is garbled. You know what I mean.)

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