The Japanese remake of “The Evil Dead” splashes gore from wall to wall in this contained, grainy ghost story.
A bodybuilder heads to a haunted house to check it out with some friends, and they end up trapped inside with a ghost of vengeance. Let’s dig into 1995’s BLOODY MUSCLE BODY BUILDER IN HELL, directed by Shinichi Fukazawa!
As I See It
Filmed in 1995 but not released in any proper format until 2014, we finally have the answer for why Hollywood has felt the need to steal all the good Japanese horror/thriller films and turn them into watered-down US versions: it was all payback for this film.
Claimed to be the “Japanese remake of The Evil Dead,” the only resemblance it has to Raimi’s legendary DIY film is the fact that it’s contained and features some stop-motion-like effects.
The film itself looks like it was recorded on the original camcorder after someone took some heavy grit sandpaper to the lens.
There is tons and tons of gore and bloody gags. Eyes getting stabbed out. Heads chopped off. Severed heads riding severed hands like a demonic, twisted crab.
Beyond all that, it is a clueless ghost story, which Japanese cinema is still in love with.
We see some early versions of gags that made it into later J-horror. The still flash scene of the ghost behind a character. The body in the closet. Maybe this film was influential for those treasured tropes — just like a schlocky but well-executed indie like Evil Dead inspired throngs of American genre filmmakers to pick up a camera.
Writer/Director Shinichi Fukazawa cast himself in the lead, and there were no other actors that had more roles after this film. Fukazawa only made one other film, Violator, in 2018.
Of Gratuitous Nature
At the point of making this film, the legend of Sam Raimi and Evil Dead was already deeply ingrained in the zeitgeist. Calling yourself “The Japanese Evil Dead” is like a tribute band taking on the name of the band they cover every night.
The gore is extreme. It’s eighties gore, to be clear. It’s as if props, gags, and ideas from that era were stuck in customs and didn’t get through until 1995, when this film was made.
Ripe for a Remake
A remake of a remake?
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
A Blu-Ray can be had over at Diabolik DVD that features a commentary track from none other than Adam Green (Hatchet) and Joe Lynch (Chillerama). You can stream it in Tubi, Shudder, and AMC+.