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Old 07-21-2015   #1
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Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro) (1968)

This is some primo J-horror schlock. Lovecraftian themes, great visuals and fx, and a gut punch of an ending.


"A time will come when worms will dream, nestled in my bones--a dreadful thought since it is akin to a memory." E. M. Cioran
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Old 07-21-2015   #2
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Re: Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro) (1968)

Well, sh*t. In my fit of enthusiasm last night, I referred to this film as “schlock,” and though I obviously meant it in the most loving way conceivable, I’m feeling a little badly about it today, as I don’t think my brief endorsement in any way succeeded to communicate how thoughtful this film really is: on the changes in Japanese morality during the boom years of the so-called “Era of High-Speed Growth”; on American involvement and hypocrisy in Vietnam; and on humankind’s biological penchant for war and conflict. This film is sometimes mentioned alongside the best J-horror and science fiction in the period: Honda’s Matango, Nakagawa’s Jigoku, Shindo’s Onibaba and Kuroneko, and there it belongs. Criterion included it in a boxed-set collection, titled When Horror Came to Shochiku, for good reason.

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Old 07-21-2015   #3
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Re: Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro) (1968)

Oh, there's definitely some schlock to it, but it's charming all the same.

Of the films I mentioned above, it's closest in execution and outlook to Honda's. Both directors even employ the same basic plot set-up--an array of people from various socioeconomic levels and professions stranded, after a horrible accident, in a wasteland populated by creatures; then, under said trying circumstances, the humans themselves literally and figuratively degenerate to become the worst monsters around. Sato and Honda are clearly bothered by a perceived moral decrepitude creeping in on the heels of post-war economic success. The difference, as I see it, is that Sato's goes more directly at war, while Honda's targets the "spoils" of wealth as the main source of corruption.

I hope you enjoy. It makes the greatest hits of the Showa era list, for sure.

"A time will come when worms will dream, nestled in my bones--a dreadful thought since it is akin to a memory." E. M. Cioran
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Old 07-22-2015   #4
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Re: Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro) (1968)

A personal favorite. I've heard it described as if George Romero remade Last Year in Marienbad as a alien invasion movie. I think that is the perfect description of it.
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