Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Guzoo: Kami ni misuterareshi mono - Part I (1986)

... aka: Girl Trap
... aka: Gu*Zoo
... aka: Guzoo
... aka: Guzoo: The Thing Abandoned By God
... aka: Guzoo: The Thing Forsaken By God – Part 1
... aka: Guzû: Kami ni misuterareshi mono
... aka: Life After Dead

Directed by:
Kazuo 'Gaira' Komizu

Four giggly teenage girls; professor's daughter Minako (Yumiko Ishikawa), whiny and immature “crybaby” Yuka (Naomi Kajitani), mystery buff Katsuko (Kyôko Komiyama) and shy Mayumi (Tomoko Maruyama), go on vacation to the Muikamacha Hot Springs. After a rousing game of Old Maid, they head off to a country boarding house where they meet Tomoko Kujô (Hidemi Maruyama). Tomoko, a researcher and archaeologist who claims to know Minako's father, is managing the place for the owners in exchange for using their basement to conduct some kind of research she's very vague about. Katsuko, who fancies herself a sleuth, sneaks downstairs to investigate a strange smell and runs right into Tomoko, who tells her the stench is a powerful solvent she uses to clean up fossils. She makes Katsuko promise never to go in the basement before sending her on her way. While the girls are out enjoying the scenery, Tomoko then sneaks into their room, opens all their bags and smashes the mirrors in each of their compacts.







It isn't long before some monster starts attacking. While they're playing volleyball in the pool, Yuka is attacked and scratched by something Tomoko calls a kamaitachi; an “invisible weasel” (!) with sickle claws that lives in whirlwinds. Later that night, Yuka is attacked again in the kitchen by a tentacle that emerges from a mirror and attempts to pull her inside. Tomoko, who is also spotted by one of the girls carrying around a tub of raw maggoty meat, claims it must have been a “nocturnal animal” that somehow got inside. The lady researcher has a silly or vague answer for pretty much everything, including what she's up to in the basement. She claims to be on the verge of discovering an ultra-advanced ancient civilization and leaves it at that.






The creature in question is called a guzoo. A parasitic being, the guzoo have been around since the beginning of time and have followed a completely different evolutionary path than any other species. As a result, they can assume the shape of both humans and any animal of its choosing. At least that's what the opening narration tells us. What we actually see in the film itself is essentially a large creature that looks quite a bit like Audrey II with a huge mouth full of fangs, loads of razor tentacles and a rude habit of making obnoxious flatulent noises. It can be controlled by playing a special flute and seems to live in another parallel dimension. The shape-shifting abilities of the creature are not explored at all and only come into play at the very end and this sets up a formula where it can only access our world via mirrors but then breaks its own rules whenever its convenient. Knowing all she knows, why Tomoko would take the time to destroy the teen's little makeup mirrors and not the multiple other mirrors in the house (or at least attempt to hide them for the time being) is just one of many things that don't make a lick of sense. Actually you're best off not thinking about the plot or the creature mythology all that much since neither is very well developed.






In a nutshell, this shot-on-video effort was made to showcase a bit of gore for the Japanese home video market and that's pretty much it. There's one excellent scene where the creature thrusts a tentacle into a girl's mouth and her chest erupts with a bunch of smaller tentacles and a couple of other OK bloody moments (like a head being bitten off) plus some fun monster effects. A number of similar and near plotless gore films emerged in Japan at around the same time in the 80s. Some were videotaped, some were shot on film and a good number ran around an hour or less. This one's only 40 minutes long and was released in Japan on VHS through Vzone Video; a short-lived arm of the Japanese zine Vzone Magazine. Considering this is called “Part 1,” Vzone Video probably would have also released “Part 2” had one actually been made.







Director Komizu started as an assistant on films like the Richard Speck-inspired pinku VIOLATED ANGELS (1967) and went on to write many soft core “roman porno” films for Nikkatsu. He is probably best known however for the utterly tasteless yet not very good “Guts” horror / gore / rape fetish trilogy, which includes the films ENTRAILS OF A VIRGIN (1986), ENTRAILS OF A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN (1986) and Rusted Body: Guts of a Virgin III aka Female Inquisitor (1987). His Battle Girl: The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay (1991) also received a DVD release here in America.

★★
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