Friday, May 17, 2013

Creature Features Week: Goke, Bodysnatcher From Hell

Here at TOG we like the horror blog community and appreciate the opportunity to network and help other horror critics, that's why Crankenstein jumped at the chance to hop on board this Creature Feature week, so please check out the links at the bottom and discover other cool horror blogs and pals of Theater Of Guts and support them as well!
Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell Directed By Hajime Sato (1968)
Out of the Shochiku factory studios came a host of Alien invaders who took over the mid 60’s, infecting the youth with monster-itus and space herpes! Films like X From Outer Space, The Living Skeleton and even Kinji Fukasaku’s Green Slime. Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, is my favorite out of the group, it features a menacing space bloodsucker who oozes blue lava out of his forehead, the 60’s Mod style lighting is very psychedelic and features a cheap looking model airplane cast against a blood red sky (Tarantino would later steal this intentionally for Kill Bill). Mario Bava's cinematography and lighting schemes were a major influence on the look of Goke. The passengers are all Asian accept for one white lady (who they talk shit about behind her back). They start out gradually getting more paranoid of each other, then eventually, the tension reaches a boiling point, the suspiciousness of each other seem influenced by Rod Serling! ("The Monsters Are Due on Main St". comes to mind). The signs that Japan is becoming more dangerous are conveyed through assassinations in newspapers read on the plane by lurid businessmen. In fact most of the characters are unhinged and at each other's throats aboard the aircraft hurtling toward doom and destruction.
I took too many hits of Orange Sunshine
Suicidal crows dive-bomb into the sides of the plane and creating a harbinger for more foreboding dread to come later. A suave dapper passenger with cool guy shades and crazy amounts of mascara in a turtleneck sweater is the first victim of the space virus. He infects all the others by way of a space hickey, that character is played by Hideo Ko, who a few years later, played one of the freaks lurking in the background in Horrors of The Malformed Man. He pulls a gun and takes a few hostages, simultaneously as an alien spacecraft intercepts the flight and shuts off the wires, forcing it drop thousands of feet down into an emergency landing. The plane hijacker moves toward a cavern flooded with magma and becomes hypnotized by the ominous light which hides an oozing mass of blue liquid erupting from the UFO that creeps toward his face and slithers its way into his brain cavity, his face seals it in. The passengers have now gone into panic mode and bicker at each other for awhile, pulling  the blame game and trying to point the finger at each other as they run out of food and rations. The film is not only a good UFO space rabies flick, but also has political context that involves Vietnam trauma (Kathy Horan, star of Green Slime plays the white woman, whose husband was killed in Nam) and the suspicions about each other’s motives could be an allegory for Mccarthyism. There’s more depth in this film than just a typical rubber monster movie. The eyeliner hijacker criminal comes back for help, but is carrying an alien host in his skull that sluices out and infests others, turning them into catatonic vessels, the alien blob has a slowed down warbled tone of voice! Sometimes it resembles a blue puddle of intergalactic vomit. It talks through a girl named Noriko ontop of a hillside and mentions it’s race is the Gokemidoro, whose objective is to exterminate the human population.
Lend me some more mascara or I'll blow your face off
The film offers no hope and shows how in a moment of heightened paranoia and terror, people become viciously selfish and do not work together to fix a problem. They take their chances in a split second, when the chips are down, they save thier own ass! I find this cynical view on humanity refreshing and it makes Goke seem ahead of its time, combining alien invasions, war metaphors and distrust of our fellow human beings into a nice doom laden bombshell of a good creature feature! The film has less nudity then other Asian horror flicks (mainly the Shaw Brothers catalog and Shochiku film maker Oshima Nagisa), but don’t hold that against it, remember its still the 60’s and these film would get more debaucherous as they moved along through the decades almost too much in fact. It's totally worth seeking out, because you get a douce of nihilism with your MechaGodzilla. Check it out! Criterion put this out a few years ago in a nondescript boxset and it’s available to stream on Huluplus.
Please check out all the links over at Candy Coated RazorBlades as they become available! Thanks to Bob Mallett and The Incredibly Strange Horror Bloggers Network for involving me in Creature Features Week!

Selsun Blue for your cranium
Selsun Grey for your skullbucket
can you introduce me to the guy in the bear suit from The Shining?

I knew that white bitch was crazy!


  1. Great review of an amazingly enjoyable and pulp SF/horror flick.

    I love the film's downbeat tone.

  2. Yeah me too and the metaphors,one of my favs


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