Rape! 13th Hour/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Rape! 13th Hour

Serial rapist takes a student while being chased by a homosexual gang whose leader had become a victim of his. You don’t see synopsis like that every day. Director Yasuharu Hasebe (who was originally reluctant to follow Nikkatsu to pink cinema, but eventually ended up helming some of the genre’s most notorious achievements) continues to explore his favourite theme; a sudden change (to worse) in a norman person. In Assault! Jack the Ripper a nice guy restaurant worker turned into a mass murderer after being provoked by his girlfriend. Attacked was a story of a shy female cop who became obsessed with capturing the man who raped him and started using her own body as a bait. In Rape! 13th Hour a criminal forces a gas station worker to follow him till he discovers the pleasures of forced entry.

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Rape! 13th Hour goes pretty far. Far enough for the studio themself to think they had gone too far. However, I’d imagine the fuss was mostly for the ultra violent last 10 minutes. Which is still not to say the rest of the movie is happy go lucky entertainment. What it is, however, is an extremely slick thriller. Hasebe often accompanies violent images with classical music and here the effect really works, sometimes up to the perfection. The film also moves at fast pace with the secondary main characters not only being a hunter himself but also prey to gang that has swore to capture him. The actual main character (the gas station worker) is partly a bystander, but also has a chance to part in the action whenever he wants to. This gives the movie more depth.

Although it’s not a psychological deep analysis that Hasebe aims at, the film feels more accomplished than the director's previous film, Assault! Jack the Ripper (1976), which had an enormous amout of potential but sacrificed half of it in the pink shrine. 13th Hour aims a little lower, but hits the target accurately and feels more compact. Every sex and rape scene is written into the story and has their effect on the character developement. Hasebe is not afraid to occasionally drift further away from the usual pink ”entertainment”. Acting is good enough and lacks the camp factor for the most part. Yudai Ishiyama is almost horrifyingly believable in the lead role. Genre fans may spot Asami Ogawa, the lead of Hasebe’s later film Attacked (1978), as one of the victims.

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Rape! 13th Hour is often mentioned as the most extreme of Nikkatsu’s violent pink films (the critical disapproval actually lead the studio to tone down their violent pink line for a few years, until the genre returned with Koyu Ohara’s Zoom Up: Rape Site in 1979). The wild reputation is a bit exaggerated, though; the violence and rapes are not overly graphic and there’s a tiny bit a dark humour to be found. The storyline and plot twists however are more or less questionable, and what’s worse, thought provoking. Metaphors for the state of the Japanese 1970’s movie industry are also not hard to find, even if the director himself denies them.

Reviewed by HungFist

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