Title: Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell

Also known as:
The Japanese Evil Dead

Year: 2014

Genre: Independent / Horror / Comedy

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 62 min

Director: Shinichi Fukazawa

Writer: Shinichi Fukazawa

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6403680/


Plot:
To help aid his girlfriend in her research of the paranormal, Shinji takes her, and a professional psychic, to an abandoned house previously owned by his father. The house has remained empty for 30-years and Shinji’s presence awakens the vengeful spirit of a woman who was accidentally murdered by his father.

Our thoughts:
“Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” or “The Japanese Evil Dead” has been out for about a month (thanks to the fine folks at Terracotta Distribution) but somehow the film’s reception, while positive, has become increasingly...obnoxious. Mostly because the general response can be distilled down to three points: “it’s crazy”, “it’s gory” and “it’s an “Evil Dead” ripoff”.

While folks harp on the fact that’s an “Evil Dead” clone — because we really needed to be reminded of that fact even though it’s printed on the goddamn cover — the response seems to be exaggerating the craziness and the gore of the movie. Probably because if there’s one thing horror fans love to do more than talk about what fictitious characters would win in a fight, is to blow things out of proportion.

It’s at a point of being irritating but it’s also misrepresenting the movie and what it actually is. In my opinion there’s only one adjective that I can think of that perfectly sums up what exactly “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” is and that’s cute.

That’s right, you sons-a-bitches, I’d call this movie cute! Do you want to know why? Because that’s exactly what this is!

While it has been classified as an “Evil Dead” ripoff, that’s not entirely accurate statement. In order for something to be a ripoff it would have to be made with malicious intentions where someone is knowingly replicating another person’s work for financial or personal gain. What Shinichi Fukazawa made was a love letter to “Evil Dead” but more importantly, what he made was a home movie.

Yes, the movie was shot on film, there are practical effects abound and there was an attempt at making a coherent horror film…somewhere. While watching “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell”, all I could think about were the films that people made as kids — movies where all they did was reproduce (attempt to, at least) something they had seen in a movie. Or an entire movie, but something within a movie that they loved — something that resonated with them — and try to replicate that with friends and the family’s camcorder. All the cheap blood and rubber masks cannot hide that mix of naivety and passion in Fukazawa’s film.

There’s certainly a bit more competence being shown in “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” than the typical movie that’s made by teens or pre-teens. However, there is that inescapable home movie quality where you can tell a person is making something simply because they were inspired. In the case of Fukazawa, he wanted to make a movie because he watched “Evil Dead, and goddamn, did he give it his all.

I’ll admit that I’m making some rather large assumptions about Fukazawa and what his intentions were with his film. Maybe I’m wrong and he did in fact want to make a cheap “Evil Dead” knockoff, sell it, and make some money. I mean, if the Italians can build an entire film industry out of cheap knockoffs, then why couldn’t Fukazawa make a little money doing something similar? Of course I don’t believe that to be the case, but beyond being merely a belief, there is a basis for these assumptions of mine which are aesthetics and functionality.

In terms of functionality, “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” does not operate in the way that a ripoff film does. Those kind of movies take the key element(s) of successful movies and try to make their own version of it but without the understanding (or care, really) of how to implement it into a story. They want those key elements to be identifiable for an audience but they want to have had blurred the line enough to where it doesn’t come off as completely derivative (unless you’re Bruno Mattei, in which case, you just don’t give a fuck). “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” does not hid the fact that it’s an “Evil Dead” clone because what Fukazawa’s film is doing is showing love and is, in a way, celebrating that film. Certainly it has it’s own spin what with the body building element and whatnot, but those personal touches are Fukazawa having fun with concept of vengeful spirits. It’s not in an attempt to blur the lines.

What Fukazawa is doing isn’t even considered paying homage which is more of a wink and nod for those who know. This is unbridled love for one particular movie and to show his love he wanted to make his version while paying respect. It’s not a “Gut Pile” or a “Vittra”; movies that are trying to be their own films while taking the structure from another. At the very least, had “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” been anything other than passion project, Fukazawa wouldn’t have spent over a decade trying to finish it.

More importantly though, when you watch “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell”, it’s hard to see it for anything other than child-like glee from making his own “Evil Dead”. And when I say aesthetics, I’m speaking in more broad terms because the movie doesn’t necessarily have a style. This is a movie that’s made with what resources they had available and what money they had in their pockets. As I said before though, there is an unmistakable quality that this film has to where it reminds me of all those home made horror movie. It’s something difficult to describe but essentially it’s how the movie manages to still work even though it is technically bad because it’s the amateurish, unorthodox nature that pushes the movie forward and keeps it perpetually entertaining.

Even though I was taking a pot-shot at the general reaction people are expressing, I do understand why people are quick to call “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell” crazy and how easy it is to be dazzled by the gore. Yet, I still maintain that the best way to describe Shinichi Fukazawa’s film is cute. It’s someone showing how much they loved “Evil Dead” by creating their own version of it and how that it's more akin to a home movie rather than a traditional independent low-budget feature film. It’s a fun movie to sit back and enjoy because you can understand where Fukazawa was coming from when he made it. Especially if you are an “Evil Dead” fan yourself.


Positive things:
- An extremely fun movie!
- Looks and feels more like someone’s home movie project.
- The effects and stop-motion animation sequences are surprisingly well done.
- Shinichi Fukazawa did a good job of capturing the “Evil Dead” spirit.
Negative things:
- The inserts that were shot with modern cameras and the computer animation scenes are noticeable and a bit jarring.
- While I’m grateful for the release, I don’t know if it was a bad transfer or how the movie was edited, but holy god that low grade picture quality. It looked like I was watching a VCD.

Rating:
Gore: 3.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 2.5/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 2/5

We bought this movie from:
Terracotta Distribution

Reviewed by:
Preston




 

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