Last Saturday for its third year in a row, The Royal Cinema hosted the What The Film Festival.
A satellite event of the Laser Blast Film Society, the WTFF caters to the eclectic and experimental. Programmer Peter Kuplowsky scowers the globe for stuff outside the mainstream and this year gave us three such examples in Shinichi Fukazawa's Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell, Kentucker Audley's Sylvio and Michael Reich's She's Allergic To Cats.
Due to a family engagement, I was only able to catch the first show, but what a time it was.
You may have heard this movie referred to as the Japanese Evil Dead and that is pretty accurate. However, though there were many bits and pieces that were ripped right out of Raimi's beloved splat-stick trilogy, Fukazawa did make this his own thing by mixing in traditional Asian ghost story tropes and the aforementioned bodybuilding obsession. It did take a while to get going, but once the vengeful spirit was unleashed, the balls-to-the-wall inventiveness took over.
|Here's blood in your eye! (sorry, couldn't resist)|
As a huge Sam Raimi fan, it was impossible for me to not find this incredibly endearing. Body Builder was as fun as it was gory with a delightful everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to practical effects. Shot mostly in confined spaces, you could tell how difficult and time consuming - much like Evil Dead - some of these sequences must have been to shoot. It's the kind of DIY filmmaking that not only entertains, but also inspires.
|Writer/Director & also lead actor Shinichi Fukazawa.|
It is sad to think that this movie almost did not see the light of day. It was shot in 1995, but not fully put together for another fifteen years. It was then only available underground on DVD-R until UK company TerraCotta finally did an official release this year. I feel the world of splatter cinema is now a little redder for it.