Friday, January 11, 2013

Meatball Machine (2005, Yudai Yamaguchi, Jun'ichi Yamamoto)

This has been on my radar for a while, but I was always a bit concerned. It looks an awful lot like a Saw type torture porn film, which I am not into. It is not of that type, though there is some disgusting bits to be had. Also, what a stupid title, am I right? Well, I was somewhat surprised.

Meatball Machine is, deep down, a sci-fi love story with some Japanese society satire thrown in. Horror filmmakers are always trying to get you t look at the sickness of society, even when monsters and gore are the main story.

Here we have some aliens who take over human bodies. Their tiny space ships combine with the human host and enhance it. The creatures battle each other and must eat the loser to survive. Our hero, Yôji, comes across one of these ships by accident, and for some reason it does not bond with him. He is madly in love with a girl he has never met, Sachiko. She is nearly raped by Yôji's boss. When the hero intervenes he is beaten up. Sachiko tries to help him, and when they return to his apartment the space ship bonds with her, turning her into a monstrous fighting machine, a Necroborg.

On the other side is the father/daughter duo of Tsujimoto and Michino, who have been hunting the creatures. It seems Michino was infected, but not turned into an alien plaything. There is more to that story.

Ultimately it is a fairly good story. It is a little disjointed at times, as all Manga to Movie stories are. Also the Necroborg makeup is fine when there is a close shot, but when the full body is shown on screen it just looks like a fake monster jacket, as nothing is done to the legs.

There is a short film on YouTube, Meatball Machine: Rejects of Death, which stars the awesome Asami Sugiura. This is a slight continuation of the story, which is set up for a sequel which I assume never happened.

Genre fans should enjoy this, despite its areas of lack.

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