Saturday, 25 June 2011



A totally unhinged, atrociously written and hysterically acted Japanese cult SF "thing" from the late sixties that somehow - goodness only knows how - manages to be watchable, indeed enjoyable, despite it not being very good. It's shot on a noticeably low budget (the model effects work would shame a particularly stingy episode of Blake's Seven) and all the characters are cardboard at best, but it has an absolute corker of a downbeat ending and a wonderfully lurid colour-drenched look to commend it.

Goke: Bodysnatcher From Hell is actually the Gokemidori: a blob of sentient silver gloop from an alien planet that, having managed to create storms and suicidal seagulls, brings down an airliner into a remote, blood-red quarry. The aircraft is full of simplistic characters - the brave captain, the besotted stewardess, the inscrutable psychologist, the thick American, the gutless politician, the craven businessman - who argue a lot about whether to stay at the crash site and wait for a rescue or go out into the unknown and try and find help. But the Gokemidori brings one of the passengers into their flying saucer and crawls into his brain (via a vagina-shaped slit in the forehead), possessing him to [1] drink their blood and [2] broadcast their intergalactic sentence of global extinction....

It's absolute nonsense but it's nonetheless rather fun, though frequently shot in eye-stabbing shades of red and orange. And some of the bickering and panicking on the crashed aircraft is quite amusing. But even though many of the special effects may be strictly table-top (I'd be surprised if the model aeroplane was more than three feet long), there are some very nice touches, such as the crumbling corpses of the vampire-alien's victims. And the film has one of the most genuinely apocalyptic of endings, as the aircraft's survivors making it to a city only to find the Gokemidori have/has already been there, and the alien extermination fleet amassing in orbit - we don't even get the Klaatu ultimatum of "change your ways or else". It's a good-looking film (the UK DVD is in full scope) and far, far more entertaining than it should be.


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