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Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell

Japanese promotional poster
Directed by Hajime Sato
Produced by Takashi Inomata
Written by Kyuzo Kobayashi
Susumu Takaku
Starring Teruo Yoshida
Tomomi Sato
Eizo Kitamura
Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
Cinematography Shizuo Hirase
Editing by Akimitsu Terada
Distributed by Shochiku
Language Japanese

Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (吸血鬼ゴケミドロ Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro ?) is a 1968 Japanese science fiction/horror film directed by Hajime Sato and released by Shochiku studios.

Contents

Plot

Air Japan flight JA307 is en route from Tokyo's Haneda airport south to Itami Airport in Osaka. As stewardess Kuzumi Asakura (Tomomi Sato) announces the flight plan, which will take them over the island of Oshima and the city of Suzuka, the pilot notices an unusual blood red color to the sky around them.

One by one, the passengers begin seeing bloody birds flapping their wings against the windows as though in fear. The pilot (Hiroyuki Nishimoto) receives a radio message to the fact that there may be a bomb aboard and is ordered to return immediately to Haneda. Co-pilot Sugisaka (Teruo Yoshida) is ordered to check the bags of each of the passengers, giving the excuse that a bag containing confidential documents may have mistakenly been loaded on this flight. All bags are clean and only one man (Hideo Ko) has no bag, but Kuzumi notices an unaccompanied suitcase under a bench. Sugisaka opens it and finds not a bomb but a rifle. The man without a suitcase suddenly pulls a gun on Sugisaka and then orders the pilot to change course to Okinawa. To show that he means business, he fires through the cabin a shot that knocks over a transistor radio breaking the news that a UFO has just been spotted over Japan and that Japanese and US Air Force fighters are in pursuit. Suddenly a large luminous object is spotted directly in front of the airplane. It passes overhead but knocks out the airplane's gauges, sparking a fire in the engines. Air Japan flight JA307 goes down on what looks like an uncharted desert isle.

Sugisaka is the first to awaken but the pilot is dead as well as the hijacker. Kuzumi is next to recover. Together, Sugisaka and Kuzumi check for more survivors. There is Mrs Neal (Kathy Horan), an American Vietnam War widow; Senator Mano (Eizo Kitamura) of the Constitutional Democratic Party; weapons exporter Tokiyasu (Nobuo Kaneko) and his wife Noriko (Yuko Kusunoki), who flies into Mano's arms when she finds that she has survived the crash; Psychiatrist Momotake (Kazuo Kato); space biologist Professor Sagai (Masaya Takhashi); and the young man who called in the bomb threat (whom they lock in the cockpit). Taking stock of the airplane, they find that they are out of water, have no food nor any idea of where they are. What's worse is that a radio announcement says that a search has not uncovered any trace of the downed airplane, so the search has been discontined.

As Sugisaka worries about surviving, and Mano worries about his upcoming election, and Tokiyasu worries about himself, and Sagai offers scifi explanations, and Dr Momotake studies survival instincts clashing with egos, the hijacker suddenly revives, grabs Kuzumi as a hostage, and runs out into the night where they come upon a luminous spaceship. Kuzumi crouches behind a rock, but the hijacker steps into a clearing to get a better look. Suddenly, his face goes blank and he begins walking toward the spaceship. A dark blob crawls along the ground towards the hijacker. When she sees the hijacker's forehead split open from nose to hairline, Kuzumi screams and passes out.

Sugisaka finds Kizumi passed out behind the rock and carries her back to the airplane. In order to get Kuzumi to tell what she saw, Dr Momotake hypnotizes her. Kuzumi tells how the dark blob crawled into the hijacker's skull through the split in his forehead. Tokiyasu doesn't believe her, but Dr Momotake assures him that Kuzumi is telling the truth. Sagai points out that it could be a flying saucer and backs up his suspicion with the fact that reports of UFOs have increased ever since the bombing of Hiroshima, giving extraterrestrials ample opportunity to invade the Earth while we are preoccupied with senseless wars. While everyone bemoans the horrors of war, the kid who called in the fake bomb threat goes berserk, not wanting to believe Kuzumi's story. He attacks Dr Momotake, who falls off the cliff. Waiting at the bottom is the hijacker. He latches on to Momotake, bites his neck, and sucks out all his blood, turning Momotake a bright shade of blue.

A few hours pass as the survivors discuss the need to find water in the morning. Suddenly, there comes a knock on the door. Mano and Tokiyasu don't want to open it, but Sugisaka does anyway. As he descends the stairs, he sees the hijacker lying on the ground and notices the big scar on his forehead. Mrs Neal, whose husband was killed by a napalm blast to the face, rushes to the hijacker and begs for the others to help him. Against their better judgement, they carry the hijacker inside and dress his wound.

Mano is becoming extremely thirsty, thanks to the bottle of whiskey that Tokiyasu gave him. Now, when Mano wants a drink of water from Tokiyasu's canteen, Tokiyasu refuses. It seems that Mano and Tokiyasu have been greasing each others' palms, Tokiyasu funding Mano's campaign and Mano promising to pressure the committee to accept Tokiyasu's weapons bid, a promise that Tokiyasu had no intention of keeping. As revenge, Tokiyasu picks up a rifle and forces everyone out into the night then locks himself in the safety of the airplane. But he forgot one person...the hijacker.

Tokiyasu's screams can be heard outside the airplane. Suddenly, the screams stop and the locked door swings open. Everyone rushes inside to find Tokiyasu dead on the floor, all the blood drained from his body. Noriko begins to laugh, exclaiming that she is now free from here husband's abuse, but her laughter soon turns to tears when she thinks about the way he died. When no one is looking, the hijacker comes out of hiding and carries Noriko off to the spaceship. When the others notice that Noriko is missing, they go in search of her.

The sun is rising, and Noriko can be seen standing on a ridge. She raises her hand to speak, but it is not her voice. It is the Gokemidoro speaking through her. They have come to invade the earth, says the voice, and to exterminate the human race. That said, the Gokemidoro have no more need for Noriko's body, so she plunges off the cliff. By the time her fellow passengers get to her broken body, she has disintegrated into a shriveled old cadaver.

Once again, the passengers get into an argument about whether or not there are such things as extraterrestrials who would invade the earth. Professor Sagai theorizes that the Gokemidoro have taken over the hijacker's body and turned him into a vampire. Mano thinks that is balderdash and challenges them to show him a vampire. Sagai agrees that he would like to see one, too. The only way to do that is to sacrifice one of them to the Goke. But who will it be? Mano suggests Mrs Neal, because a foreigner will be less problems later. Mrs Neal screams that she doesn't want to die. Sugisaka is against the entire idea. A knocking on the cockpit door and a cry for water remind them of the kid who made the bomb threat, so they let him out. Mrs Neal grabs a rifle and locks Sugisaka and Kuzumi into the cockpit. Mano and Saiga shove the kid outside. Then they line up in the windows to watch the hijacker slowly advance. The kid pulls out the bomb he's been hiding and vows to blow up the plane unless they let him back in. They don't, the hijacker continues to advance, and the bomb goes off, killing the kid and blowing a large opening in the side of the airplane.

It's now evident that the plane can no longer provide cover, so they'll have to get moving. But the bomb blast has wounded Professor Sagai. Mano couldn't care less and runs off. Mrs Neal follows him. When the hijacker catches up with them, Mano pushes Mrs Neal towards the hijacker in order to save himself. Neal shoots at the hijacker several times but keeps missing. Finally, the hijacker grabs her, fastens his lips to her neck, and sucks her dry.

Back in the airplane, Sugisaka and Kuzumi are packing up supplies while Sagai bemoans his loss of faith in humanity. As Sugisaka assures him that they must believe in human goodness, they hear a shout outside. It is Mano, and the hijacker is not far behind him. Sugisaka and Kuzumi go out to help Mano, but he quickly runs inside the plane, locking the door behind him. The hijacker turns on Sugisaka and Kuzumi. While Mano watches from inside the plane, Sugisaka tosses a bucket of airplane fuel at the hijacker, then sets him on fire.

The Gokemidoro crawls out of the burning hijacker, creeps into the airplane through the bomb hole, and makes its way into Professor Saiga's forehead. Saiga drinks his fill on Mano, then turns to Sugisaka and Kuzumi, who try to run. Saiga follows until they are stopped by a landslide that knocks Saiga from the hill they are climbing. Sugisaka and Kuzumi keep running, while Saiga makes his way back to the spaceship. Once Saiga is there, the Gokemidoro crawls out of his skull, reducing Saiga to a pile of dust.

Sugisaka and Kuzumi keep running until they come out on a highway where they see cars lined up at a tollbooth. Everyone in the cars is dead. Everyone in the city is dead, too. The Gokemidoro speak to them once more, informing them that no living thing will be spared and that it is "too late to wish they had lived differently". Cut to footage of mushroom clouds.

Epilogue: Sugisaka and Kuzumi are wandering on rocky terrain. Sugisaka wonders why this had to happen. Pan from the earth to outerspace where a whole fleet of Gokemidoro spaceships are headed towards the Earth.

Cast

  • Teruo Yoshida - Sugisaka, the co-pilot
  • Tomomi Sato - Kuzumi, the stewardess
  • Eizo Kitamura - Mano, the senator
  • Hideo Ko - The Hijacker
  • Kathy Horan - Mrs. Neal
  • Yûko Kusunoki - Noriko Tokiyasu
  • Kazuo Kato - Dr. Momotake, the psychiatrist
  • Hiroyuki Nishimoto

Influences

The film is perhaps best-known in the United States for its influence on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1: in the scene where The Bride flies to Japan, the deliberately artificial shots of the airliner flying in front of the backdrop of an orange sky were based on images from Goke.[1]

References

External links

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