BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL (1968)
aka Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro; Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell
Article 2720 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-26-2008
Posting Date: 1-23-2009
Directed by Hajime Sato
Featuring Teruo Yoshida, Tomomi Sato, Eizo Kitamura
An airplane makes a crash landing in the desert, stranding its passengers in the middle of nowhere. They battle each other for survival, and become targets of vampiric creatures from outer space.
This is far from a perfect film; for one thing, it’s a little too obvious in putting forth its subtext about the inherent baseness of the human animal. It’s also a little too shrill as well. Nevertheless, it’s so effective at throwing jarring visions at us (such as the bloody suicide of birds hurling themselves against the airplane) and assaulting us with grotesque imagery (the scenes where the aliens take possession of the humans is unforgettable) that it ends up being effective anyway; the movie certainly has the courage of its convictions. Almost all of the characters are unpleasant in some way; we have the bribe-taking politician, the arms manufacturer who sells his wife for political favors, an assassin, a rather heartless psychiatrist who sees his fellow humans as subjects in an experiment, etc. Even a relatively sympathetic character (a woman whose husband died in Vietnam) turns nasty when things turn bad. With all this human ugliness on display, it’s perhaps no surprise that the two characters who aren’t corrupt aren’t able to redeem the world; after all, the aliens are depending on man’s self-destructive capabilities to aid them in their own quest to take over the world. In this scenario, it’s no surprise the movie ends on a nihilistic note, which is quite appropriate given what comes before. This one is memorable and disturbing.