“Kichiku! Kichiku!” Jesus H Fuckin’ CHRIST! that brings back some bad memories! Memories of some old hag – like EC Comics’ Old Witch but with a blue rinse – scratching my chin with her cracked, yellowing fingernails as I sat helpless strapped into the pushchair on a warm summer’s day wearing nothing but a nappy, helpless whilst she tried to shove something into my mouth – a half-molten strawberry-flavoured Chupa-Chups lollipop! Only when she hobbled off to look through the bins did I realise that that was her odeur-du-piss, and not mine.
But forget about it. That was last year, and would initially seem much more exciting than Kazuyoshi Kamakiri’s Kichiku, for a large part an extremely dull movie depicting the “antics” of a bunch of scruffy anarcho-communist drop-outs as they sit around doing pretty much sod all. The viewer becomes complacent, is maybe falling asleep, drinking coffee to stay awake, and then, BAM! It hits you across the face like a back-handed leather-gloved slap from the campest guard in the prison-camp, the intensity that kicks in suddenly when the group, the sum of their collective mental state coming in at less than a full shilling, discover they’ve been betrayed by greasy fatso and grasser, Yamane. Taken out to the woods, the group, under the influence of the now deceased group leader’s girlfriend Masami torture him and also torture another group member for the sake of it. Yamane has his head graphically blown off with a shotgun. Bespectacled hippie Kumagaya has his cock severed and, for a while anyway, lives to tell the tale although you probably wouldn’t hear it from his foaming mouth. And still the party goes on, not just continuing but becoming one of the most horrid bad trips in living memory!
Many other films come to mind when watching Kichiku. For me, one of the first ones is Pasolini’s Salo – not so much as for the movie’s depiction of political fanatics indulging in acts of depravity (Kichiku’s politics actually take a seat way back – although the protagonists are certainly lefties, their beliefs have absolutely no bearing on the plot whatsoever) but for the way it is split into three acts; here, Enkai parties one, two and three replace Salo’s circles. The movie’s stark, grimy aesthetic with gritty snuff-style camera-work (complete with hair and bits of dirt stuck on the camera lens) gives it the look of many seventies’ downbeat classics – movies such as Last House on the Left and even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The only music is a relentless, percussion-based industrial number, totally emotionless. Definitely not intentional, but worth a mention anyway, is the way these deviants dig in and play with their victims’ organs, lovingly caressing them with their fingers which, to me, brings back memories of the reasons why many of HG Lewis’ films aren’t considered fantastic pieces of classic Batman-style self-parody. Also probably not worth a mention but fuck it! I gotta get it off my chest, is Sumiko Mikami as Masami. Sure, she ain't everybody’s cup of tea – you may not like her because she ain’t the stuff that air-head bucket-fannied Hollywood pin-ups are made of, but I’m in love with that cute little way she cackles and giggles in perfect time with the brutality she inflicts upon her victims. Gives her a sort of girl-next-door appeal.
Kichiku’s initial dullness – and be warned, there’s a lot of it to get through – can be forgiven one hundred percent because it’s obvious that that was Kamakiri’s intent, to strike an even greater contrast between the films beginning and end. Any other way and this would have been as ineffective as any video title gathering dust on a corner-shop video shelf. Extremely brutal and not for weak stomachs, this is grim stuff for fucked-up fuck-ups, the sort of people (like me, actually) who consider Victor Janos’ (Roger Watkins) Last House on Dead End Street to be good, wholesome entertainment.