Shocking Asia is a 1974 documentary film written and directed by Rolf Olsen with Ingeborg Stein Steinbach. The film was banned in Finland due to its graphic content. A sequel titled Shocking Asia II: The Last Taboos was released in 1985.


By Sujit R. Varma

This mondo film depicts graphic scenes from the Asian continent. We witness a mass piercing in India and cremated remains of human bodies dumped into the Ganges river in clear sight of bathers. The camera then shows Japanese sex clubs which reenact bizarre sexual rituals and S&M fantasies. There is also a very graphic sex change operation in Singapore. There is also midget and female wrestling featured to round out the fun.

Reviews on IMDBEdit

Hey, I liked itEdit

Author: haildevilman from Tokyo, Japan

17 December 2005

I live in Japan and have been around Asia. I can attest that despite all the melodrama, there is a lot of fact here. Some of it is outdated though. I've seen that sex museum in Toga. It still has some of those same dolls and attractions believe it or don't. Most of those live S & M shows in Tokyo have been discontinued though. They still exist if you know the right people that can tell you where. The religious healers are all over Asia. And some of these faith-healer types still have a following. This doc. focuses on the sex mostly though. And yes, you can still drink a glass of snake blood in places. Expect to pay about 50 dollars. Yes, I tried it once. Let's just say it's an acquired taste. The operation was VERY hard to watch. And it was NOT fake. That doctor is still working as a consultant in Singapore I believe. You need a strong constitution definitely...but I think it's worth a look.

Finally a movie that lives up to its titleEdit

Author: sick_boy420xxx ( from Buffalo, NY

30 May 2001

This is one whacked out mondo movie...DEFINITELY not for kids, those who are squeamish, or those looking for a cultural film on Asia. Although this delivers some cultural information, the emphasis here is on showing the viewer disgusting and violent sights from underground Asian populace. A lot of emphasis is on sex, with transsexuals galore...and try not to blow chunks during the sex-change operation...that's SICK. Whereas many "mondo" flicks from the '60s and 70's tended to resort to footage not so graphic, this flick throws a LOT of graphic footage into its run time. You have been warned...this one gets quite gross, but ultimately, I thought it was pretty interesting, and would reccommend it to those looking for a BIZARRE viewing experience, or fans of these "mondo" flicks.

Exaggerated DocumentaryEdit

Author: Falcon-51 from South Carolina

28 March 2000

"Shocking Asia 1" is part of a trilogy on Asian culture. The problem is most of it seems well fabricated. Although their are some legitimately shocking scenes it's not all surprises. A variety of topics cover such interests as sacred temples, Asian foods we'd rather not touch, strange spiritual beliefs and even a segment on she-males. It is still unlike anything you've ever seen before, so if your not too squeamish and want a sometimes silly, sometimes shocking look at Asian culture have a look. Keep in mind the narration seems to exaggerate what you are seeing. As a word of caution I would not use this video or it's two sequels to complete a history report on Asia.

Gloriously hysterical artefact of exoticaEdit

Author: fertilecelluloid from Mountains of Madness

1 January 2006

(This review may contain spoilers.)

There is something gloriously hysterical about "Shocking Asia" with its odd narration, screeching Erwin Halletz score, inflammatory subject matter and mix of staged and spontaneous action. We're treated to a sex change that was graphic then, but can be caught on regular TV these days on one of those medical reality shows. The visit to a sex museum in Japan is downright amusing with its displays of Nazi-style S&M and lighthearted mannequin nudity. It's always good to see people off their faces skewering themselves with needles, and it's not a bad thing to visit a leper colony, either. Back when "Shocking Asia" and its questionable ilk were made, we didn't have reality TV. Now, films like this, its redundant sequel, "Mondo Cane" and even "Mondo New York", seem like remnants of a time that has passed. They were cinematic sideshows of exotic parts of the world that once seemed so inaccessible, but are now a mouse click or a cheap flight away.

It's not just about Far East PeopleEdit

Author: Sarang Hashemi from Tehran, Iran

31 August 2013

As I was watching the documentary, I began to think how cruel are we! The documentary had a pity accent to the people of Far East, the narrator says it's brutal to kill for example a turtle like that or it's against humanity to eat snakes or bats! I bet if people of Far East had our technology they would produce a documentary like this: Oh look Muslims eat Sheep,Cow,Camel,Ostrich...! How can a human eat something like that! (Of course none of you have seen how Muslims kill a camel!) Or, Oh my God look how Christians kill and eat a Pig!! Please open your Eyes! at last i recommend you to watch the documentary Earthlings to see it's not only people of Far East!

Far East MondoEdit

Author: Thorsten_B ( from Frankfurt, Germany

15 March 2007

With a title like this, this film obviously deserves honorable mention whenever exploitation movies and the likes are discussed. However, if you leave the so-called "educational" intention aside, this German production has some merits to offer. True, it does not deliver insights into the reality of societies in the Far East. On the other hand, most of the scenes shown are actual footage (not all though: some are obviously staged, which of course does not change the fact that what is done in these scenes is real nonetheless). So, if you want to have a collection of strange, absurd, disturbing pictures, bound together by hardly any other point than the strangeness, absurdness and disturbingness of it all, don't hesitate to take a look. It's a film worth having as a document of the Mondo film "movement", for its sheer rarity and for the sake of adding another of those 70s obscurities to your collection. Viewed with this in mind, "Asia", even with its harsh and sometimes really unpleasant images, can be – fun.

See alsoEdit


  • Shocking Asia (1976), Internet Movie Database (IMDB)[1].


This article was written by Roy Tan.

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