Sunday, August 05, 2007

One Spicy Meatball!

Yes, I'm sticking with that blog title. Deal with it.

Here's one to get you wet, hard, or, if you're really freaky, both.

Meatball Machine (2006)

“Some came crawling from the ocean, others falling from the sky. They are here to do one thing: eat each other.”

A suicidal salary man is readying to hang it up when things go Predator-vision and he‘s tackled by a tentacled extra-terrestrial bent on bodily invasion. So begins The Tingler meets Tetsuo, as two spaceman-manned Necroborgs do a close encounter of the cannibalistic kind. Bionic-buzz saws slice and dice, but they’re interrupted by an amateur alien hunter and his pulsating-pus-ball packing daughter. Two down, who the hell knows how many to go; soon these alien-assholes spread across Japan. A kid gets run down by a truck, turning his limbs into blood-soaked mud-flaps, projectile vomit floods the frame, and tentacles reach out and touch everyone in a twisted marriage of Overfiend and Evil Dead.

Sadly, they can’t keep up this avalanche of atrocities, leaving the middle a scatter shot mess of sleepy-time inducing love story, sloppily intermixed with much-needed snippets of Necroborg annihilation. With any other flick, I would kick up a bitch-fit, but when the third act hits, it’s all the fun of a veiny penis-rocket emerging from your chest.

With things being so slap-dash, uneven, yet brilliantly imaginative, it’s no surprise to see Yudai Yamaguchi’s name in the credits. Hell, it’s titles like this that put him in a one man race to become Japan’s version of Lloyd “Troma” Kaufman. His influences range from the nonsensical, joke-a-second hijinks of Japanese television, to 80‘s chunk-blower gore-flicks, rounded out with a steady diet of tokusatsu TV and classic Konami arcaders.

All of which make their way into Meatball Machine.

But, it’s not all of Yamaguchi’s invention. Originally a late 90s cult short-film by Jun’ichi Yamamoto, the legend of the Meatball gained enough steam to get a remake, this time with Yamamoto as co-director to co-director/editor combo Yamaguchi. With this Meatball-redux, the Ya-Ya Brotherhood take the Japanese henshin-hero style, blend it with an 80’s splatter aesthetic, and wind up with the long lost Frank Hennonlotter directed GWAR video by way of Tetsuo. Helping things along the way are Keita Amemiya and his gnarly Necroborgs designs, and gross-out FX master, and Yamaguchi regular, Yoshihiro Nishimura, who keeps the impaling, eviscerations, decapitations, and all-around gooiness lookin’ puke-worthy.

Meatball Machine
may come barreling at you with a hard-on, only to go limp midway through, but with a climax where the video game meets the video nasty, it’s just a few pumps away from becoming a modern late-night classic.

Wes Black
TLA/Danger After Dark

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