Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968)

goke body snatcher from hell poster 1968 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good weirdness

Kind of all over the place

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:   Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell

Studio:  Shôchiku Eiga

Genre(s):   Horror

Release Date(s):   August 14, 1968 (Japan)

MPAA Rating:  PG

goke body snatcher from hell ufo japanese horror

I need this UFO like I need a hole in the head…oops, spoke too soon.

A plane is downed in a remote location after discovering an assassin (Hideo Kô) hiding onboard.  When the assassin escapes and encounters a UFO, the Gokemidoro possess the assassin.  Now with a thirst for blood, the survivors find themselves fighting for their lives against the alien attacker.  The Goke is hungry, and even if the people of the plane survive, death could still come for them!

Directed by Hajime Sato, Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (吸血鬼ゴケミドロ or Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro which translates to Vampire Gokemidoro) is a Japanese horror/sci-fi film produced by Shochiku.  The movie gained a cult following over the years and is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino.  The movie was released as part of the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse imprint as part of “When Horror Came to Shochiku” (Eclipse Series #37).

I had an old horror movie picture book I got from a used bookstore in the ’80s.  One of the big splash pages was the possessed hijacker attacking Kathy Horan…and I wanted to see the picture.  Goke is an odd movie that even the Eclipse series refers to as “Vagina-Face Apocalypse” in its liner notes.  It is strange enough to be a fun film.

goke body snatcher from hell assassin gokemidoro alien vampire

So let me get this straight…the liquid alien vampire enters the deep crevice of the head…impregnating the guy with its evil? Hmmmm….

The movie’s plot is all over the place.  It kind of is reminiscent of the TV series Lost in that everyone on the plane seems to have a story (mostly of woe)…you don’t feel too bad about most of the characters being offed since they aren’t very likable.  If it weren’t for the very real events in the movie, you could almost argue that the film is some strange purgatory where or living hell where people have to work out their issues (like Jean-Paul Sartre’s classic No Exit)…but then you add in space vampires and that idea goes out the window.

The cast is very bland.  The movie has an interesting American tie with actress Kathy Horan (who appeared in a number of Japanese films), but it also ties in to the Vietnam War which is probably rather an early reference and different since it is another culture’s perspective (there is also talk of Japan becoming more like America due to an assassination).  There is something rather creepy about Hideo Kô, but it is probably more his dress style than his acting.

goke body snatcher from hell american woman cathy horan vampire

What you got, I want…blood

The visuals for the movie are quite strong and build the tension of the film.  The movie starts out with some great jumps of birds flinging themselves against the windows of the plane, but also dives into the sci-fi realm with the UFO portions and the creep split-faced killer (whose head fills with a jelly…that doesn’t help fight the nickname of the film).  It is bright and colorful.

Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell isn’t the best movie, but it is an extremely watchable movie.  I like that the Eclipse line has types of film that probably don’t rank for Criterion (though I know a number of Criterion that also don’t rank), but if it weren’t for the line, it would be hard to find quality copies of the films.  Fans of horror and foreign films should check out Goke…it is an experience.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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