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GOKE, BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro)(director: Hajime Sato; screenwriters: Kyuzo Kobayashi/Susumu Takahisa; cinematographer: Shizuo Hirase; editor: Akimitsu Terada; music: Shunsuke Kikuchi; cast: Teruo Yoshida (Sugisaka), Tomomi Sato (Kuzumi), Eizo Kitamura (Mano), Hideo Ko (Hirafumi Teraoka, The Hijacker), Hiroyuki Nishimoto (The Pilot), Masaya Takahashi (Sagai, the scientist), Kazuo Kato (Dr. Momotake, the psychiatrist), Kathy Horan (Mrs. Neal), Yuko Kusunoki (Noriko Tokiyasu); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Takashi Inomata; Artsmagic; 1968-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)
It only left me reaching for my shades to block out all the funky colors.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Quentin Tarantino mentioned that he copied from this low-budget Japanese alien invasion sci-fi film the shot of the plane against the red sky for Kill Bill Vol 1. Though visually stylish with garish colors, it still has cheap special effects, is thinly plotted and clumsily acted. It’s a cheesy sci-fi film about a bloblike alien from a UFO who turns vampire and goes after the surviving passengers of a crash-landed plane in the desert. This film is similar in theme to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, of a vampire possessing others to do his dirty work. Journeyman B-film filmmaker Hajime Sato (“The Terror Beneath the Sea”/”The Golden Bat”/”The Ghost of the Hunchback”), influenced by Mario Bava, directs this sloppy space offering with undue flair; it’s taken from a poorly written script by Kyuzo Kobayashi and Susumu Takahisa.

A Japanese passenger plane passes through an orange-clouded sky. The control tower tells the pilot (Hiroyuki Nishimoto) of a bomb threat and to return to Haneda Airport. Hijacker Hirafumi Teraoka (Hideo Ko), who back in Japan assassinated a peace making British ambassador, takes control of the plane at gunpoint and smashes the radio communications. There’s also suicidal birds smashing against the plane windows and a close encounter with a UFO which makes the plane’s intruments go haywire, turns the sky blood-red and causes a crash-landing in the wilderness. The survivors include the resourceful but tacky co-pilot (Teruo Yoshida), a nervous clinging hot-looking stewardess (Tomomi Sato), a corrupt politician (Eizo Kitamura), a ruthless arms dealer, his drunken wife (Yûko Kusunoki), a young twisted anarchist who carries a bomb on board because he’s bored, a grieving American war widow (Kathy Horan) toting a rifle and who is on board to collect the body of her slain Vietnam soldier hubby, a sullen research space biologist who is willing to kill for science (Masaya Takahashi), and a sicko heartless psychologist (Kazuo Kato) who likes to test people’s reactions by frightening them.

Upon landing the assassin takes off on foot in the mountainous quarry terrain and meets up with a flying saucer packed with bloblike extra-terrestrials who call themselves the Gokemidoro people. They aim to attack Earth and eliminate the human race. A vertical gash, looking like a vagina, is cut into the assassin’s forehead and one of the blue slimy aliens moves inside the opening, taking control of his body and turning him into a vampire attacking the other passengers. With the other passengers not on the same page and arguing among themselves over mundane differences, the space vampire makes his way back to the downed plane and starts picking them off one at a time. It’s hard, but see if you can guess the two that survive!

Goke, as either a serious anti-war film or as an nonsensical entertaining misanthropic pulp sci-fi film, never crawled into my head and never got under my skin; it only left me reaching for my shades to block out all the funky colors. Its anti-war lecture is delivered in a shrill way by the space scientist who utters: “Earth is bound to be taken over by aliens because they will be drawn here due to the dropping of the A-bombs over Japan.” I think that so-called scientific theoretical statement clears up a lot of things about the pic and should be appealing to those juvenile in the heart and challenged in their thinking.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”