Quality film news, reviews and features
18th July 2007 06:00:00
Posted by John White

Stop the Bitch

DVD Video Review
The Film

Adapted, like Ichi The Killer, from a Hideo Yamamoto comic, Stop the Bitch Campaign is an acquired taste that is as ramshackle as it is barmy. Eccentricity, in my view, is something the Japanese lead the world in and this exploitation piece has that quality in spades. In fact if there is ever a world shortage of doolalliness, I would suggest that this movie has a lot to answer for. It stars V-cinema faces like Kenichi Endo, a veteran of many of the more perverse of Miike's throwaway straight to video films, and the pornstar Sora Aoi in a role which leaves her surprisingly clothed bar the finale where she is assaulted by root vegetables attached to a kitchen mixer. The serene madness of this relatively brief project is to some degree an effort to make up for the low budget and lack of production values forced on the cast and crew, and if the effect is irredeemably amateurish at times it is still a lot more fun than any other arty low budget affairs. Stop The Bitch Campaign may be a film which will offend a lot of its audience but it is at least splendidly baroque and insistently barmy. It may concentrate on the juvenilia of male obsessions with fetish and orifices, but it is a sublimely unpredictable entertainment.
The action takes place in a Japanese Love Hotel where the young women service the kinks of the slugs that visit by dressing up as nurses, dominatrices, schoolgirls and even a sumo. The hotel gains a kind of sleazy kudos and becomes successful with the pimps Banda and Himeda working with Aoi to keep the customers happy and the girls paid. Unknown to the pimps, Aoi has convinced her friends to sell their bodies to help her to hunt down a man who assaulted her some years before and the Love Hotel is an elaborate trap for him. The tables are turned though when the two pimps broker a deal with her arch enemy to let him loose on the girls, and Aoi and her friends find themselves locked in with the legume wielding lunatic as he plots death by salad ingredient. With her friends falling under the maniac's green fingers - think a transvestite Dean Stockwell from Blue Velvet - Aoi must sacrifice herself to save them. Matters become resolved in the flick of a blender and Aoi plans more payback for her pimps.
That my synopsis sounds so weird gives you a sense of how funny the hour or so you spend with this movie is. The narrative and characterisation is all caricature and excess with little discipline given over to the plot or sensibilities of good taste. From the first moment that a customer asks for an anal examination through to the films hyperbolic finale, the viewer is left with the straight choice to be appalled at this nonsense or to go along for the very engaging ride. If you can't detach and enjoy the silliness then the scenes of sexual exploitation and gross sound effects may make you want to give up on the experience, but then I think that you chose the wrong film to get moral over. On the other hand, if you find hilarity in noises of farting, the awkwardness of sexual congress, and the idea of stupid sex freaks getting getting cut down to size, then you will enjoy the fayre on offer here. Basically this is a film for men who are still boys and they will find the check-list of erotica, tasteless comedy and horror film pastiche carefully ticked off here. It ain't Citizen Kane and the production is hugely limited to a tacky cheapness of tinsel and coloured lighting as the interiors are re-used and the orchestration of some scenes lacks any geographical coherence. The acting proves that Sora Aoi is no Dame Judi Dench but she is winsome enough to make you believe and care for her, and the extraordinary scene chewing of the villains' papers over cracks in dialogue or sense. You may still find yourself asking your conscience why you are laughing at a film about a lunatic who assaults young women in ways that would appal your local greengrocer but I find this preferable to the hypocritical, intense sexual violence of a film like Captivity. At least here, the film is laughing at male sexuality rather than encouraging violent voyeurism.
Stuff and nonsense, daft and a little dodgy but Stop the Bitch Campaign is a guilty pleasure that mixes cartoon buffoonery with fetishism. It aint going to change the world, it aint well made, but it'll make you laugh despite yourself.

The Disc

The DVD comes encased in a slip-sleeve which repeats the cover art and information of the DVD inlay. The single layer disc itself is barely used given the short length of the film and the lack of extras. The original filming clearly took place on rather unsophisticated video equipment with occasionally excessive lighting, or the lack of, so this was never going to look pristine and exceptional. The film is give a sharp non-anamorphic transfer at around 1.78:1 and for such a relatively home-made product the transfer does not let the raw materials down. I couldn't describe the colours as well balanced or the contrast as well calibrated but I am pretty sure this is because of the cheapness of the production rather than any tinkering in the transfer, there does seem to be some excessive edge enhancement though. There are mild moments of artefacting but nothing too distracting as the weaknesses in the image are largely from the analogue original.
The sound comes in two surround options for the original Japanese soundtracks, DTS and 5.1, along with a Cantonese dub. Both surround tracks carry some distortion in the music and in the treble range of voices on dialogue with spittle potential. The mixes are really basic surround mixes rather than deep atmospheric creations of 3-D sound but why would you expect anything else with such a lo-fi film? The English Subtitles are frankly very poor with poor translations and misspelling galore - Stop the Bitch Campaign is translated as "Teenage Prostitution Reprisal", for instance. The subs are removable and forgiveable in a movie which is about obvious slapstick rather than verbal dexterity.

A still of poster art is the basis for the menu which offers language options and scene select but there isn't even a trailer to speak of as an extra.

Summary

A very minor, throwaway film that is kinda life affirming in its tackiness. There is a presumably superior Japanese disc but the availability of some English subs here might convince V-cinema or Manga fans to take a dip here.
Details and Specifications
DVD Video Review

Region: 0

Certificate: III

Distributor:
King Records

Running Time:
56 minutes mins approx
Soundtracks:
Japanese DTS
Japanese 5.1
Cantonese 2.0

Subtitles:
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
English

Director:
Kosuke Suzuki

Main cast:
Sora Aoi
Kenichi Endo
Jutemu Nakajima
-- more --
Ratings
Film
6
Video
4
Audio
6
Extras
0
6
About John White
John lurks in the shadows of Digital Fix reviewing films meant for people half his age and twice his intellect. The madder, the stranger and the more squalid a film the more likely he is to acclaim it the Citizen Kane of its kind. Apart from looking both startled and menacing, John is a former editor of the TV section at Digital Fix, you can find his scribblings there here. John can be found on Google Plus, and on Facebook too.