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November 22, 2012

Midnight Movie of the Week #151 - Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell

If you're The Mike - and, in this case, I am - and you hear about a movie about a body snatcher from hell, you take notice.  And then, when you hear that that movie is a trippy Japanese production of the late '60s that was part of its studio's response to the box office success of Big G in Japan - you stand at attention.
Which brings us to Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, which is a bizarre treat for lovers of original horror.  It's a film that blends plenty of horror staples into one unique package, and any comparisons to Godzilla (or other kaiju films) can be dismissed after the country of origin is discussed. Unlike many of the most popular sci-fi/horror films from Japan in this era, Goke focuses on a much smaller monster - but that doesn't make the scope of the film any smaller.
To simplify the film's plot is to do it an injustice, but I just have to say - yes, that is a blob.  This is a blob movie.  But not like The Blob.  It seems that Goke - short for Gokemidoro - is a parasitic entity who enjoys opening up folks' foreheads and oozing his way into their body, therein "snatching" control over them. As for the "Hell" thing, I think that's just said for effect. I don't believe Gokemidoro comes from the actual Hell, because I don't think you can get here from there in an orange spaceship. (If your religious beliefs disagree with my assessment, then I apologize for the offense. Please let me know what your Hell has to do with orange spaceships, I love learning!)
Anyway, Goke introduces us to a small group of people on an Air Japan flight - and if you think the flight looks eerily similar to something from Kill Bill you're not mistaken; Tarantino loves this flick - which flies into a red sky, sees some orange lights, and crash lands in an uninhabited valley.  The survivors survive (obviously), but that's just a convenient way to put this odd group of characters - including, but not limited to - a psychiatrist, a politician, and an American army wife - in Goke's path.
Strewn along Goke's path are scenes involving bickering and distrust, as well as some solid blobby mind-melding. The film finds several unique ways to tell us about Goke, and a lot of intrigue comes from the way this invader is portrayed.  There's a little bit of everything in this story, but none of Goke's trappings are just like something you've seen in another sci-fi film. We get a blob, we get body snatching, and we even get a bit of possession/assimilation. But they aren't the same things you know.  I kept trying and trying and trying to make the connection between the film and John Carpenter's The Thing stick in my head, but I couldn't do it. Goke is it's own animal.
I am, however, somewhat convinced that Mr. Carpenter had seen Goke, because my favorite moment in the film mimics one of my favorite moments in Carpenter's filmography.  The sequence in which the omnipresent voice of the Gokemidoro shares an ominous warning to the survivors by possessing a female survivor made me think fondly of Prince of Darkness, as the woman's hair billows in the wind and a voice - a voice that is clearly not her own - relays a message that is meant to signal the end for the people.  It's a moment that sent chills down my spine, and it really hammered home the meaning of these strange events.
Perhaps the best thing about Goke, The Body Snatcher is that it's one of the rare horror films that seems to keep escalating as it goes on.  There are a couple of minor lulls, but every time I thought I had Goke figured out it shook my pursuit and sped to a new height.  It's not going to scare anyone's socks off, but it's haunting enough to keep you interested and man, does it end with a bang.  Goke is a new favorite of mine, but I imagine I'll be going back to its odd world often, and I think y'all should experience Goke's world for yourself too.

(BTW, if you're reading this before 11/25/12, you can watch Goke, The Body Snatcher from Hell for FREE on Hulu. It's streaming for free right about HERE. So watch it!)

1 comment:

Travesti said...

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