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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ten Thoughts on “Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell” – 1968

So Hulu has all these Criterion releases, most of which I have zero interest in watching, but with a title like “Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell”, how could I resist!

1. This is my kind of movie. Low budget and schlocky, with a twisted black heart. What will shock you is how nihilistic it is, while at the same time being really corny. It’s like Guernica done in Crayola.

2. The location is brutal. The characters are in a downed passenger jet in the middle of a barren desert. It looks like a Mad Max wasteland, but with lots of Styrofoam rock slides. People are being baked in this metal tube and every time they step outside a rock falls on them or a space vampire tries to give them a hickey. Rough times.

3. The alien is parked in the desert in this plastic UFO, and that’s pretty great...

 ...but the way it turns people into vampires is marvelous and will make you want to throw up. A very convincing special effect goes down that wasn’t just good for the time period, but good for the ages. It’s so effective and cool and weird. It’s one of those great culty moments that give iffy movies big reputations. I'm not going to show it here, you're just going to have to watch the movie. Don't google it. Don't!

4. The aliens seem to base their technology on lava lamps and psychedelic light shows. The inside of the UFO looks like a 1980's Steak Restaurant. I kept wondering if my table was ready.

I should have called ahead.
When the aliens rob you of your humanity you do this tortured agony dance that had to be an inspiration for the Tetsuo Iron Man Boogie.

Same as it ever was.

5. The film stock adds to the retro shag carpet appeal. 1960s Fujicolor. Maybe a cinematographer could let me in on why movies of the period look so fantastic. Nowadays cheap schlock looks like garbage, but back then cheap schlock looked like real movies.

Oh! The colors!

"Mind if I borrow that?" - Kill Bill

6. Similar to Night of the Living Dead where trapped characters spend the whole movie bickering with each other. Civility is gone the moment they are thrown into crisis. Both movies came out the same year, but this wasn’t released state side until ’77 to ‘79 depending where you look it up. I would say the biggest difference would be that instead of an army of zombies, you get one split faced creepy guy. He’s still pretty menacing.

7. My favorite character moment is the sadistic glee that the psychiatrist takes in watching people fall apart. People just don’t have these moments in American movies.

Very constructive, thank you.
8. The movie has a cool James Bond influence with the lead bad guy, who looks like he should work for Specter. He does have a split face most of the run time, but besides that… you know.

Sayonara, Mr. Bond.

9. Interesting that political and domestic terrorists figure into the plot so strongly. Da more things change… badda badda boom!

10. If you were going to watch this as a double feature, I would say match it with either Lifeforce or The Blob (‘58 version). Both big amoebas and space vampires show up in Goke, so take your pick. However, Goke vampires tend to be less naked than the Lifeforce variety. Just saying.

You can get with this...
Image result for lifeforce
... or you can get with that.
One final thing. You should compare the ending shots of this with the opening credits of Mars Attacks. It will give you that “Planet of the Vampires” feeling.

Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.

Sam Drog

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