“Meatball Machine” is a wild, splatterific, experimental sci-fi/horror rollercoaster that will have your entire brain and body shaken and stirred. Capable of making biomechanical weapons out of human flesh, alien parasites grotesquely invade the Earth, turning their hosts into maniacal killers who seek and destroy each other to the bloody death! And yes, it’s also a human love story, even though the budding romantics are infested with slimy, tumour-like globules. Co-directors Junichi Yamamoto and Yudai Yamaguchi (“Battlefield Baseball”) pull out all the stops and don’t let up until the final epic battle. It’s a touching testament to young love, blood, and alien ooze that leaves you screaming for more!
2006 – Certificate: Not Rated – Japanese Film
7.0 out of 10
I used to be quite a good cook. Like many things, it’s an ability I seem to have lost. Today I tried to make myself some breakfast, just some porridge and a cup of tea, not exactly rocket science. I managed to burn the porridge to the bottom of the pan, let the tea go cold and fill my flat with the smell of ‘burnt something or other’ that even lighting an incense cone (mesquite) has failed to cover up. It’s all a bit sad really. I suppose it could have been worse; I could have been taken over by an alien. Now that really does mess up your day. By a strange coincidence…
I was very relieved to discover that this film was not about the exploitation of animals and their conversion into a disgusting, processed, flesh-food of the worst kind. Instead, it focuses on humans infested by alien parasites, who take them over, convert them to necroborgs and then go about killing each other in very gruesome and bloody ways. Much nicer, I think you’ll agree. There’s blood and yukiness aplenty in this Japanese movie. That pretty well sums the plot up, other than the inclusion of some soppy nonsense about the two main characters falling in love and ending up fighting. Fortunately, this doesn’t really get in the way of the mess, which does look good. By and large the effects are very nicely done; the little aliens in the tumours have an especially high ‘eew factor’. For a film of this type it’s actually really well made. The overall effect is kind of what would happen if the Borg went to English football matches in the 70’s but in Japan, got really pissed and then went looking for a fight with some rival team’s Borg supporters. Despite all the gruesome action, it’s so comic book like that it doesn’t really leave much of a sickening after-taste. The DVD I have also has good subtitles and loads of extras; a quality release. Recommended.
The music’s there, it does it’s stuff. That’s it really. It works, feels accessible yet still Japanese. Can’t think of anything else to say about it.
Recommended for factory workers, lovers and guys that like to tinker with electronic things.
No cats or chainsaws and 1 decapitation, (plus another head that blows up).
Top badass moment? Sigh. It’s so romantic. The shared love of Yôji and Sachiko, helping them to overcome the power of the alien parasites infesting their bodies, before making the ultimate sacrifice. Well, bollocks to that. Seeing people turned into cyborgs, loads of blood, heaps of gross body parts and that unique Japanese touch that goes into films like this, is far more badass. Give me a huge gun growing out of someone’s chest any day of the week over a candlelit dinner for two.
Alex (Alan Rickman), a tight-lipped Englishman recently freed from prison, is driving through Ontario when he begrudgingly picks up the vivacious teenage hitchhiker Vivienne (Emily Hampshire). On the outskirts of her hometown, a truck hits the car. Vivienne dies instantly and Alex finds himself, for the second time in his life, grieving for someone he never knew. Devastated by the accident, Alex goes to the frozen backwater of Wawa, Ontario to visit Vivienne’s mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver). There, he discovers that she is autistic with an unconventional take on life and mourning. Drawn in to the small frozen backwater community, Alex soon forms a close relationship with Linda, begins an affair with her sassy neighbour Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), and becomes the object of scrutiny by the ineffectual law enforcement officer Clyde (James Allodi). As the funeral approaches, life in Wawa seems to have enabled Alex to face the present, but how will he cope when the dark secrets of his past finally emerge?
2006 – Certificate 15 – UK/Canada
Rating Details: Strong Language
8 out of 10
Well that’s it over with then. Life I mean. Last Sunday it was my 50th birthday. A future of increasing ill-health, an inability to do or remember things, walking sticks, Zimmer frames, bifocals, tablets from the doctor, hip replacements and finally death, are all I have to look forward to now. As the Borg might say, “Your life as it has been, is over.” I awoke this morning to find that overnight, a year’s worth of new aches and pains had been applied to my body, plus the special ‘new decade’ bonus ones, plus the 50 year Jackpot selection. To say I now feel as if I’m virtually bed-bound wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I did nothing to celebrate the momentous occasion, except mope about at home. In some ways I was quite sad; I wished I could thank my parents for having me, being 50 felt like an especially appropriate point to do so, but it’s a bit too late for that now; (or, if your belief system supports it, a bit too early). I was rubbish at being a young person, ineffective in middle-age and now I’m probably well on my way to becoming a cantankerous, teenager-hating, lecherous, ‘the world owes me a living’ old person. Actually I’m quite looking forward to that. In a similar way, this movie is about life as it has been, being over.
I really enjoyed this film. It’s touching, funny and grounded. It has some really wonderfully acted characters. The aforementioned car crash provides a full-blown OMG movie moment. Sigourney Weaver’s Linda is as far away from Ripley (“Alien”) that it’s possible to get, although both characters share a strength of character. Her portrayal of a woman with autism seemed very convincing. Alan Rickman’s laconic Alex is a sympathetic and interesting character, despite his background. It’s also a film with a proper start, middle and end. It’s not perfect though. Sometimes the storyline goes a bit off track; I especially had trouble accepting Alex to be such a babe magnet and the subplot involving him and the neighbour did distract from the rest of the story a bit. Vivienne is also one of those teenagers that doesn’t really exist in real life, but turns up in films on a regular basis.
There isn’t a large amount of music in the film and much of it is pretty generic. However, when it is used, it greatly adds to the impact of the scenes. Lovely job.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for people who like character-driven dramas.
Top badass moment? Finding out from Linda that having a mouthful of snow is like having an orgasm. That’s pretty badass when you think about it, and cold.
I watch a lot of horror films. So you’d think by now that I’d be used to people being killed, mutilated, raped, dismembered, or otherwise psychologically damaged. But this week I’ve come face to face with real horror. My Cyclamen has been infected with Mealy Bugs! Like a crappy, straight-to-video horror, these little bastards just appeared, with little or no back-story and just got down to the business of terrorising my pot plant and by association, me. It’s a home invasion experience of the worst kind. All the leaves and even the pot are covered in some sort of evil, disgusting, Mealy Bug pus, whilst the sniveling little cowards hide beneath the leaves, plotting their next nefarious move. Like a good slasher movie icon, they pouch on the innocents, newly emerging leaves, infecting them with an unearthly virus (or whatever it is that Mealy Bugs do). It’s like watching a house plant version of “28 Days Later” or “Doomsday”. They’re hideously ugly and have an aura I can only describe as feeling like undiluted, pure hate. In a similar was to the Borg, they are seemingly linked to a single hive mind, intent on destroying all houseplant life on my bedroom window sill. I’m half expecting the US to target my flat with a Cruise Missile, in an effort to destroy them before they take over the world. I’ve not quite worked out how to get rid of them yet. Negotiation has so far proved futile. Strangely, my Cyclamen seems little effected by their malevolent presence thus far and is currently presenting me with 15 beautiful, pink flowers, although its leaves drip with a rancid, putrid slime that could have come from Hell itself. I’ve got to rid my plant of them, and in a way that doesn’t leave any opportunity for a sequel! After facing this crisis, this movie seems a bit tame.
2004 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence
I’d forgotten just how good a thriller this film is. So, it also gets credited for popularising torture porn, which later movies in the series do feature more heavily, but this one isn’t that explicitly gory. It is however, clever, interesting and challenging. Although I didn’t really care for the two main characters, I still worried about what was going to happen to them. Sure they were flawed, annoying and a bit pathetic, but I was concerned enough about them that part of me wanted them to escape; no one deserves that much shit. The film also does a good job of making the viewer feel a bit sorry for the perpetrator, too, which makes for a great set-up if you want to experience a range of feelings as things progress. A great modern horror classic.
Recommended for fans of genuinely great thrillers and horrors.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. There are a couple of hacksaws though.
Top badass moment? It’s got to be Alison Gordon, fighting back against Zep and doing so pretty successfully. With only the advantage of surprise, she manages to defend herself and her young daughter against a younger guy armed with a gun. That’s got to be badass. She’s had more balls that her pathetic husband, whose mindset was, “oh, my child and wife (whose back behind I’m having an affair) are in trouble; I know, I’ll cut my foot off.” Yeh, good thinking Batman, give that man a cigar.
I’m sending this post from my secret underground bunker, so my apologies if it’s a bit of a mess as when I designed this place I forgot to include any lights, so it’s somewhat dark (well pitch black really) in here and I’m having to type from memory, never a popular option for me.
I’m in the bunker as I’m fighting a war against Them!. But let me start from the beginning. It’s hard to believe how hot it was just a few days ago, but, em, it was. So I decided to open my bedroom window to let some air into my flat. Penny loves the window being open too, as she can hang out on the window sill between the plants, smelling the air and generally watching what’s going on below. Unfortunately, unbeknown to me, ‘they’ had been spending the winter preparing their forces ready to invade my flat and take from me everything I hold dear. The open window and warm weather gave them their opportunity. Before I could work out how to pronounce “zcghrtjhewjg srdlrktl’s hzzwquft” they were in, ants, the size of people (probably). At one point during the ensuing battle there must have been nearly ten of them in my bedroom! It was horrible. One night I was even forced to retreat and sleep in the lounge, such was my worry that they’d take advantage of me in the night.
Now I have to remind people at this point that I’m vegan, although there’re three types of animal I have a pathological hatred of, wasps, sheep and ants. I don’t wish them ill but quite frankly the day someone lends me a time machine I’m going to go back in time and tinker a bit with evolution to ensure they never come into existence. Anyway, after a while I realised that The Ants were not taking my attempts at negotiation seriously; even my offer of a temporary summer home for them in one of the pot plants was rejected; I guess they thought they could take more by force. It became apparent to me by Day 2, that I wasn’t going to win this war through talking or conventional warfare, (keeping the window closed, flicking them outside when I found them, etc). They were just like the Borg. I was facing the ultimate fighting force, one that seemingly had an endless supply of troops that never lose morale; they also seemed to have perfected the ability to teleport into my room too, as I never did work out how the hell they were getting in; even with the window closed they still appeared, walked about and did there diobolical ‘ant stuff’ in my bedroom, whatever that is exactly. I even found one in my bed at one point, bloody pervert. I will probably never recover from the emotional turmoil of it all, but in the end I was forced to use the Nuclear Option. I had no choice. I reasoned that in the end it would shorten the war by perhaps many months and ultimately reduce the suffering of millions (well me anyway). It was a tough decision but that’s what I’m here for when it comes down to it. So I ordered the full deployment of a bottle of Dettol Anti-bacterial Mould and Mildew Remover (which I just happened to have in the bathroom) and a can of Johnson Raid Ant & Cockroach Killer “kills in seconds and last for weeks” (that I purchased from a local arms dealer, codename “the corner shop”). In fact they had to be deployed a number of times and I’m ashamed to say that the collateral damage was considerable, my hands smelt of bleach for days, two black t-shirts and some bedding were caught in the blast zone and now have brown bleach marks on them, whilst the window sill itself, the main combat zone, will probably never look the same again as the varnished wood surface has been partially destroyed. It was all pretty horrible and most annoyingly I felt really bad seeing these horrid little insects perish one by one. I feel like a mass murderer without a sociopathological shield to defend me from the emotional effects of what I’d done. I will probably need counselling now. However, as a means to an end it worked and my bedroom has been ant free for several days. Which makes me wonder, why am I still sitting in this bunker? Duh!
Writing this has actually made me itch all over. Eew.
Right now I’m listening to “Sad?” by the BMX Bandits.