Reviewed By-Paul Cooke Director : Hajime Sato Scripted : Kyuzo Kobayashi & Susumu Takahisa Starring : Teruo Yoshida , Tomomi Sato , Eizo Kitamura , Hideo Ko , Kathy Horan , Yuko Kusunoki & Kazuo Kato
A flight into the Twilight Zone of a blood red sea sky vibrantly alerts of danger ahead , and a radio received message of an on board bomb threat affirms it. Outside the airplane panicked birds smash into the crafts windows almost with compulsive genocide intent !. Inside a search reveals a mysterious passenger claiming to have no luggage yet becomes anxious when a bag filled with weapons in discovered. This is Sixties serenity before the real threat of terrorism hits home , and obviously a time when a rifle replete with interchangeable accoutrement’s are as commonplace as chewing gum under the seats. The trust bubble is very soon burst as the creepy looking stranger hijacks the plane on route to Okinawa. His back up plan comes in the surprise sighting of a UFO , the appearance of which sends the cockpit crew into an out of control frenzy as the plane crashes down to Earth. The spiraling fall stunning in its decent through the red lit sky , and a scene that is directly lifted for Director Quentin Tarantino’s flight sequence over the opening titles of ‘Kill Bill’.
International sales for the movie producers come with on board compliments in the shape of English speaking actress Kathy Horan. She is amongst the survivors having to cope with the trauma of dead fellow passengers strewn around them in the planes wrecked cabin. The Japanese cultural society plays out in the form of a loathsome employee , caring for the well-being of his materialistic boss before that of his own wife. With no water or food and a passenger list made up of societies avaricious , selfish and paranoid , their mutually combined plight seems less than hopeful.
Amongst the casualties the seemingly dead terrorist awakens unnoticed amongst the bickering going on around him. He rises up to take an air hostess hostage at gun point and proceeds to wander outside of the plane , drawn toward a mysteriously bright glowing aura from the earlier glimpsed alien craft !. This assassin for hire is transfixed by a hypnotic pull from the UFO and is drawn toward and inside the craft. A blue pulsating blob moves towards him and suddenly all the might of Sixties time lapse special effects flood the screen like a Scooby Doo throw back psychedelic trip. It’s time to take a view on the wild side as our bad guy gets his forehead torn open as if by itself. The bridge of his nose rips asunder in a gleeful special effect that surely can not be reset even by the very best plastic surgeon that Beverley Hills has to offer today !. This is a face shot ahead of its time and wildly colourful in its delivery for the audience shock moment then intended that still rewards with some relish today. The icky blob substance feeds itself into the gash and directly inserts itself into the mind of the killer. Alien possession at its most basic but nonetheless satisfyingly rewarding in its simplicity. You just have to revel in a moment of out of control pulsating breakfast porridge mix , getting down to business in the wholesome manner it was least intended for. The whole sequence has the wildly colourful , and very much hallucinogenic , qualities of a Mario Bava tinted frame set piece. A wild visual journey indeed and uniquely peppered with its own individualistic Japanese dressing to go.
There is a powerful anti war and be kind to our neighbour theme prevalent in the movies mix , as visual flashes of the Vietnam War and the A Bomb destruction of Hiroshima point to the purpose behind this Alien visitation. These other worldly beings have watched from a distance as man has killed man and destroyed cities and landscapes with ever increasing regularity. They have watched and waited all the while planning an invasion. But is it an invasion or more meaningfully a terra forming repossession of a world that is in need itself of a more responsible habitant that will better respect it !?.
This perceived invasion is a prophetical tale of Sixties post nuclear threat and pre global destruction movie on a fantastical story board. Mans xenophobia of his fellow man throws up all the paranoia that surrounds us all as governmental propaganda fuels our innermost fears. The Fifties decade that terrorized its cinema going audiences with giant ants and spiders is revisited with an altogether more threatening premise !. The breakdown amongst the surviving passengers within their group begins almost immediately , and the Alien body snatcher watches and waits in the shadows. Like a patient wild animal waiting to feed it lurks and moves in upon anyone straying from the flock. Its instinct vampire like in nature as its assault drains the very life force from its prey in true manifestation of the Nosferatu. The voracious appetite in feeding off man is no less abhorrent as man does to what it considers its food chain. The strong survive !.
Here the social decline of man is ever apparent and sadly all too recognizably applied. As the cast turn on each other even the lone foreigner becomes a sacrifice along with the debased depravities of creed , colour , race and religion being stripped down to the basic instinct of selfishness.
The message of the movie is clear , live together in harmony and fight together against those that would lay siege at the unified door of mankind. Startling stuff indeed as the Director literally throws his on screen players to the ravenous wolves with little hope of survival !. Bleakly nihilistic and ultimately ending on a prophetically downbeat finality !?. Thirty years on and still its story is a powerfully delivered one that is poignantly dressed up as a horror film , one that is ironically not as far fetched as science fiction may lead us to believe. In the end are we watching it or is it watching us !?.
Presentation : Wide Screen 2:35:1 Format Release : Shadow Warrior Coding : PAL Region 2 Sound : Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Extras : Trailers / Bibliographies / Artwork Show Reel / English Subtitled / 16:9 Anamorphic Presentation
Film: 3.5 BITCH SLAPS Picture: 4.0 BITCH SLAPS Sound: 3.0 BITCH SLAPS Extras: 3.0 BITCH SLAPS Overall: 3.5 BITCH SLAPS