The Japanese Evil Dead aka Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell – US release news

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Wild Eye Releasing has picked up the US rights for this eclectic low-budget horror movie and will announce digital and physical release dates shortly. A new trailer has been released online, meanwhile (see below).

Here is our previous coverage:

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell aka The Japanese Evil Dead is a 2009 Japanese horror feature film written, directed by and starring Shinichi Fukazawa. It also stars Masaaki Kai and Asako Nosaka.

Originally titled Jigoku no chimidoro Muscle Builder it is a real labour of love and personal obsession – the film was shot and edited in 8mm, then digital video, over a period of fourteen years!

Plot:

After a surprise phone call interrupts his daily workout, beefy body builder Shinji agrees to meet his photojournalist ex-girlfriend to help with her research on haunted houses.

Accompanied by a professional psychic, they visit an abandoned house once owned by Shinji’s father. However, inside the house, a dark secret lingers and they find themselves trapped and tormented by a relentless ghost with a thirty-year grudge…

Review:

We’re used to the idea of hit movies being ripped off, but what is the statute of limitations on imitation? When does a copy become a tribute? Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell brings such questions to mind, partly because this 2014 film is a blatant imitation of The Evil Dead – right down to directly copying several shots – but mostly because the on-screen action is so uninteresting that you will find your mind wandering should you be foolish enough to sit through this.

Also known as The Japanese Evil Dead (and yes, that’s a giveaway I suppose), this film barely scrapes past the sixty-minute mark, but feels a lot longer, as it sets out to prove just how good Sam Raimi’s film is by rehashing the same ideas in a ham-fisted, barely watchable story. Three people – including the son of a man we see involved in a violent altercation with a jealous lover in the opening scenes – find themselves in a haunted house… the very house where bodybuilder Shinji’s father met a sticky end. Soon, we have possession by vengeful ghosts, which results in one of the trio – a medium – taking a distinctly Evil Dead Zombie appearance, and as Shinji battles to survive, there are plenty of gory moments.

This might sound fun, however, little happens for the first half of the film, and when it the action does kick in, it’s handled in a staggeringly sloppy way – the gore is plentiful but badly handled, and where The Evil Dead moved like a rocket, this has the dynamism of a sloth and becomes increasingly incoherent as it goes on.

David Flint, MOV!ES and MAN!A

Other reviews:

“Gore is splattered across the screen throughout […] frequently delving into stop-motion animation for it’s more elaborate splatter sequences. Many horror comedies fail because they cannot find the correct balance between scares and laughs. Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell sticks to The Evil Dead blueprint by punctuating its comedic situations with buckets of blood.” Attack from Planet B

“Performances are enthusiastic but shrill enough to make the brief running time merciful. It’s a curiosity rather than a ‘real film’, but there are enough lo-tech horror effects to keep viewers entertained and it’s over with inside your average lunch hour.” The Kim Newman Web Site

” …a showcase of talents, from Fukazawa’s budget-wary thrills and genre-awareness to the quality and volume of the effects. Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell is an extended short film, or a feature film missing reels, either way, it feels like the kind of thing that used to hide on the top shelf of your local video store, which is no easy feat.” The Forbidden Room

“This movie is very much a product of the late ’90s when it was filmed, the stop-motion effects are actually very good and there is bloody aplenty to go with the gore. The acting is fine too and you do get the feeling that the two leads still have feelings for each other.” UK Horror Scene

In the UK, the film was released on DVD on 24 April 2017 by Terracotta’s Asian horror label ‘Terror Cotta’.

Special Features include a step-by-step artwork gallery by Graham Humphreys (The Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street), original Japanese trailers, an extensive behind-the-scenes photo gallery and two ‘making of’ video clips.

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