Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Terracotta Distribution
Written and directed by Shinichi Fukazawa
2014, 62 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 24th April 2017
Bodybuilder Shinji is interrupted during his daily workout by a phone call from his photojournalist ex-girlfriend asking him to help with her research on haunted houses. Along with a professional psychic they visit an abandoned house that belonged to Shinji’s father. Once inside, a hideous secret is revealed and they find themselves trapped by a relentless spirit with a 30-year grudge.
The title truly does tell you everything you need to know before embarking on a journey into the self-proclaimed ‘Japanese Evil Dead.’ It's low budget, barmy as hell, and like the Sam Raimi masterpiece, has its tongue firmly lodged in its rotting cheek.
The film itself is something of a mystery as it is unclear when it was actually made. Reported to have originally been released in Japan in 2009, the film’s quality is akin to an old VHS tape, fuzzy and dusty looking with some pretty low-end sound production. This does of course, deliberate or not, add to the film’s charm and for anyone who was lucky enough to grow up devouring horror on tape, it’s a hugely gleeful trip to the days when you would take a chance on a film, the more obscure looking the better.
Once our heroes enter the house we are quickly introduced to the evil presence that possesses the body of the pompous psychic. From here on in it’s a laugh out loud parody that offers gallons of bloody gore and some quite literally eye-popping practical effects mixed with some wonderfully silly old-school stop motion.
Aside from the pouring blood, decapitation and some truly inventive merging of body parts that would sit comfortably in the Re-Animator series, it is sometimes baffling to watch Fukazawa make so little use of the space, at times looking like it was shot in a cupboard rather than a whole derelict apartment – even Buried made more use of its space. It’s a minor quibble in a film that is not exactly trying to win awards for production design.
When The Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell, finally gets to show off his muscles in a hilarious ‘gearing up’ scene, one which fans of the late-70’s Hulk TV show will enjoy, the gore factor rises and it ends just moments before it outstays its welcome.
It’s silly, gory, bloody and absurd but is a short and fun trip back to the days when a film found its audience by simply sitting on a shelf in Blockbuster.