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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, January 27, 2023

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell (1995)

I’ve been meaning to check this one out for a few years now. I remember when this came out seventeen years after it was made there was a lot of buzz around it. It was billed as the Japanese Evil Dead, which is probably a disservice since those are big shoes to fill. But I can see why that was done since there are several gags that clearly were inspired by Rami’s classic. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The movie opens with a man being attacked by a woman who he is attempting to break up with so that he can marry another. She loses her mind and swears if he can’t be hers then he will be no ones. This leads to her attacking and when he defends himself, she is killed. Rather than call the authorities the man just buries her body under the floor of the house. Then the action moves to more than twenty years later.

Shinji, the man’s son from earlier, is working out. He apparently has quit his job and become obsessed with bodybuilding when his lady, Mika broke up with him. She is an aspiring journalist who is doing stories on haunted locations, so she shows up at his house. After some awkward small talk, the subject of the “house” comes up. Seems Shinji had told her some spooky stories about the house his father owned, and she wants to investigate it. He agrees and the pair, along with a medium, head out. After the tour things start to get crazy as the medium is attacked by a wall clock, becomes possessed by the vengeful ghost of the murdered woman, and goes on the attack. Much mayhem ensues and sure enough Shinji grabs a shotgun and drops “groovy”. Hey, I did say there were some familiar gags.

This low budget horror flick is a prime example of what you can do with a little bit of planning and a cohesive script. Clocking in at just over an hour long they waste little time establishing the characters before setting off to the house. Really, we only have the three characters and I suppose the ghost so not wasting too much time on them is a good idea. There are some wisecracks from the skeptic Shinji before things begin to get spooky. The character does feel inspired by Ash based on his hijinks and reactions to the situation. And of course, the fact that the only weapon he has against the angry ghost is his… you guessed it Muscles! While not terribly original I will give the filmmakers credit for making a movie that does have some twists and is entertaining.

Deadite on  budget!
The ghost and the possessed tend to pop into screen from odd angles and while not at all scary there is a fun vibe to their appearance. This is enhanced by the odd camera angles that the director chooses giving the movie a unique visual style that is reminiscent of Evil Dead without feeling like an exact copy. There is only one gory gag seen onscreen and that involves a knife to the back of the noggin’ with a protruding eyeball. It is goofy and fun and made me laugh. I also enjoyed that Shinji has to suck the demon out of Mika to save her from being possessed.

Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell isn’t a perfect movie, but I enjoyed it. The runtime is tight, the cast small, and we have one location. These are all key to staying in the budget and control of a micro production. The fact that it was shot on Super 8 also gives the movie a certain grainy charm that took me back to the good old days of independent movies. This is currently streaming on Shudder, and I think is worth a watch. Just keep in mind that it isn’t Evil Dead and to manage your expectations.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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