Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell (1995) Review
Shot and edited over in Super 8 over several years, Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell, also known as The Japanese Evil Dead, is one of the most memorably titled films to have come out of the SOV boom. That’s probably why Wild Eye chose it as the first release from Visual Vengeance, an imprint devoted to obscure SOV films.
Naoto (Shinichi Fukazawa, who also wrote and directed) is working out in his basement when he gets a call from an ex-girlfriend Mika ((Masaaki Kai). She’s found success writing about haunted houses and needs his help with her current project, a house formerly owned by Naoto’s father (Shinichi Fukazawa again). Since he’s apparently never gotten over her he agrees and, along with a psychic named Mizuguchi (Asako Nosaka) they head off to the now deserted house. Of course, if you’ve seen more than a couple of horror movies, or even the prologue to this one, you know it isn’t entirely empty.
Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell’s backstory involves the spirit of a woman killed in the house by Naoto’s father and waiting all these years for revenge, but it’s just an excuse to have characters become possessed and stage some outrageous gore gags. And it works in large part because of the obvious enthusiasm and love of the genre, especially the Evil Dead franchise, that went into it.
Fukazawa wisely kept the film’s running time brief, it comes in at just over an hour, and after a bit of buildup makes sure that Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell never slows down enough for the viewer to start caring about the obviously rubber body parts crawling around. He even plays into it at one point, Naoto throws an attacking hand across the room only for it to bounce back like a ball and hit him in the head.
Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell’s other effects range from a nicely done scene where a knife goes in the back of a head and emerges through an eye socket, a headless corpse that won’t stay dead and lots of primitive stop motion/Claymation meltdowns and, in another highlight a build up as a mass of disembodied flesh and blood reunites itself with its skeleton.
But Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell isn’t just a collection of gory scenes. There are some genuine laughs to be had, such as Naoto’s realization “The shotgun isn’t my weapon, my muscles are!” followed by Incredible Hulk style clothes splitting and flexing. An impalement with an barbell is preceded with his frenzied attempts to loosen its collars and get the weights off the bar. Anyone who has used an old style home weight set knows that struggle all too well.
The print itself looks good, although given the film’s Super8 origins it’s still going to be grainy, which is as it should be with a film like this. Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is presented in Japanese with subtitles, but they seem to be missing in a couple of scenes, although its easy enough to figure out what’s going on without them.
Visual Vengeance was cool enough to send me a copy of Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell, so, unlike with L.A. AIDS Jabber, I could check out the extras. Apart from a nice slipcase and artwork, the highlight for many people will be the humorous commentary track by Adam Green and Joe Lynch. The interview with the film’s director is interesting but way too short considering the film’s road to completion and self release on DVD-R before eventually showing in Japanese theaters.
- Region Free Blu-ray
- Archival 1995 SD master from original tapes
- New Interview with Director Shinichi Fukazawa
- Commentary track featuring directors Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen) and Joe Lynch (Shudder’s Creepshow, Mayhem)
- Commentary track with Japanese film historian James Harper
- Limited Edition O-Card/Slipcase
- Special Effects Video
- Original Archival Trailers from Japanese release
- Behind The Scenes Image Gallery
- Archival Image Gallery
- English subtitles or Japanese audio only options
- Dolby Digital Audio
- DTS-HD master audio
- Folded mini-poster
- Four Page Liner notes by Matt Desiderio of Horror Boobs
- ‘Stick your own’ video store sticker sheet
- Vintage style Laminated Video Store Rental Card
- Visual Vengeance Trailers
- Reversible Sleeve featuring original Japanese home video art
Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is one that fans of SOV and WTF films as well as Deadites should enjoy. It’s currently available from Visual Vengeance and you can check their Facebook page for more information. And if this isn’t enough weirdness for you, FilmTagger has some similar films you can check out.