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John’s Horror Corner: Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell (1995; aka Japanese Evil Dead), with a title like that I don’t know what else you need to know.

January 29, 2023

MY CALL: Fans of ridonkulous, low budget gorefests, just stop what you’re doing and REJOICE for this B-movie excellence! Here is your buffet of chunky macabre nonsense. You’ll suffer 20 front-loaded minutes of slow backstory, but stick with it. Lots of nods to the gory greats of the 80s complement this looney flick and douse viewers in bloody delight. MORE MOVIES LIKE Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell: For more zany Japanese horror, go for Japanese Hell (1999) and Evil Dead Trap (1988). You want more crazy bonkers Asian horror from other countries? Then try Mystics in Bali (1981; aka Leák), The Boxer’s Omen (1983; aka Mo, Black Magic 4), Seeding of a Ghost (1983; aka Zhong gui) or Lady Terminator (1989).

Okay, this is a 63-minute movie shot on low quality video, and it is starring, written and directed by Shinichi Fukazawa. Let’s temper our expectations accordingly… or perhaps brace yourself for B-movie excellence!

A scorned lover in the 1970s tries to murder her cheating man so he can never marry another. Unfortunately, she dies in the scuffle. So in proper Japanese horror form, she becomes a Grudge ghost of sorts.

Our “muscle bodybuilder” as the title describes, Shinji (Shinichi Fukazawa), is the son of the man who killed his girlfriend in self-defense. Looking more Bruce Lee-svelte than bulging-Bolo Yeung, Shinji is not what anyone would call a bodybuilder, but he sure loves lifting weights. Shinji agrees to help his ex-girlfriend and a psychic investigate the allegedly haunted house. The psychic conjures up the inhabiting Grudge ghost, which kills him and possesses his body. Not a big man by any stretch of the word, Shinji slow-motion poses as he embraces his inherent weapon of “muscle” to combat this evil.

The influence of Evil Dead 2 (1987) is obvious. This movie has the alternate title Japanese Evil Dead, and it’s earned. There’s a lot of laughing deadites, a shovel decapitation, angry decapitated bodies, and Shinji even throws in a “groovy.” There are also stabs and impalements including one through the eyeball, and a healthy dose of blood. This film was made incredibly cheaply, and starts out sluggish. But despite a pretty low budget, it totally succeeds at becoming completely bonkers.

Truth be told, this zany flick does a good job honoring Evil Dead, but other influences are also apparent. Severed body parts rebel and attack. A hand and foot fuse (much as in Frankenhooker) to kick the crap outta’ Shinji, a severed hand makes the disembodied head mobile (much like the antics of Bride of Re-Animator), and projectile prehensile intestines smack of the Re-Animator (1985) finale. Some cheap Claymation reconstitutes a skeleton into a horribly misshapen melty-faced horror that is laughably awesome.

This movie starts out slow. Really slow. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like this at first. But, as its ridiculous title suggested, it really turned around for me. This movie has a LOT of chonky bloody goobeldygook. It’s so over-the-top that it’s… kinda’ great! Solid gold bad movie.

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