Director: Shinichi Fukazawa
Script: Shinichi Fukazawa
Cast: Shinichi Fukazawa, Masaaki Kai, Asako Nosaka, Tama, Notzam Act
Running time: 63 minutes
The press release probably sums up Bloody muscle body builder in Hell’s storyline best: ‘After a surprise phone call interrupts his daily workout, (not so - Ed) beefy body builder Shinji (Shinichi Fukazawa) agrees to meet his photojournalist ex-girlfriend to help with her research on haunted houses. Accompanied by a professional psychic, they visit an abandoned house once owned by Shinji's father. But inside the house a dark secret lingers and they find themselves trapped and tormented by a relentless ghost with a 30-year grudge…’
A prologue, set in 1970s Tokyo, sees a woman attacking her partner, but she is stabbed herself in the process. Fearing discovery, her husband (Shinji’s father) begins to bury her under the floorboards of the family home, but while he’s doing this, he drops her ornate necklace onto her body, which causes her to wake up so he promptly finishes her off.
We then flip forward to the present day and the aforementioned Shinji being persuaded to help out his ex-girlfriend, Mika, with some kind of parapsychology project. At first he’s reluctant, but it’s clear that he still has a soft spot for his ex’ so he eventually agrees to help. Having heard of weird things happening inside Shinji’s dad’s house she wants to investigate and hopefully see a ghost. Accompanying them is a ghost-hunter dude who’s a bit odd from the start and rapidly getting odder by the minute! Inside the house the ghost-hunter senses a female presence (no, not Mika!) and they find a doll holding a bloodied towel, inside which is a knife – the one we saw in the prologue.
Shortly thereafter things start to get even stranger when the ghost-hunter spots a woman sitting in the kitchen with her back turned to him. It turns out to be the murdered woman, and she’s mightily pissed!
If all this sounds vaguely interesting, most viewers expecting a cool Japanese version of The Evil Dead, which this has been likened to, will be sorely disappointed. The film is amateur hour (well 63 minutes) through and through.
Firstly, it looks like it was shot on some poor-quality video camcorder, which has made the film come out in full screen ratio. Secondly, the house itself is as spooky as most modern Japanese homes – i.e. not very. It doesn’t help that it’s small and is situated in a built-up area so there’s no real sense of any impeding menace from the moment we first see the building until the slightly more interesting stuff happens within it. In fact the film lacks any real sense of tension, and plays up the not-so-funny comedy angles.
Most of the gore effects are very cheap-looking and even the cooler stop-motion effects, employed by the filmmakers later, don’t quite cut the mustard, which is a shame as they could have really improved the film. They’re still quite good fun though, in a low rent plasticine kinda way.
To be fair, the makers of the movie have really tried hard to recapture some of the funky energy from the American original, but sadly the result is little better than a ultra-low budget student film. There’s homages to the Sam Raimi film everywhere – even having the lead character say: ‘Groovy’ at one point! But, sadly, Shinichi doesn’t quite have Bruce Campbell’s way with physical comedy (or his charisma), which was a big part of the original film(s).
Summing up, I’d give the filmmakers top-marks for sheer effort, but just a couple for final execution – pun intended!
Terror Cotta Distribution is distributing Bloody muscle body builder in Hell on DVD. There were no extras on the review disc that I was sent.