Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell (2012)

I live on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator. This means I’m constantly lugging heavy shit up and down a bunch of godforsaken stairs: cartons of milk, boxes of books, crates of vinyl records, overstuffed suitcases. Once I hoofed up a 15-pound bag of ice and a bottle of tequila, and that was the last time I’ve ever made margaritas. Now, all alcoholic beverages are served at room temperature. Over the four years I’ve lived here, the stairs haven’t gotten easier. In fact, they’ve gotten harder. Theoretically, I should be getting stronger, but I’m not. I’m getting weaker and softer and grouchier and why is my neighbor playing “Black Magic Woman” again, why must he live? My point is that I should be hitting the gym and blasting my quads just so I can bring home a case of pamplemousse La Croix whenever it’s on sale. But getting jacked requires lifting heavy things on purpose, and it’s much, much easier to drink room-temperature margaritas.

Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is what would happen if I actually worked out and got ripped and also lived in a haunted house where severed feet kicked me in the face.

After pumping iron and absolutely crushing his workout, Naoto takes Mika and a psychic to an old house. It’s the very same house where his dad murdered his lover and buried the corpse in the basement. Mika snaps photos, while the psychic gets hit by a clock. Soon the spirit of the dead lover possesses the psychic and the gateway to hell is thrown open. Knives stab, faces melt, heads roll, and a necklace buries itself into an eye. A body is hacked up and severed limbs fly around the room and punch and kick in the style of the Three Stooges. Blood gushes and oozes, and bluish green dead hands bust through the floorboards. The gore, stop-motion animation, and digital effects are gloriously entertaining, as are the dynamic camera swoops and hard angles. This is a movie that took a few pages from the Sam Raimi playbook; in fact, it’s billed as the Japanese Evil Dead. It’s a fitting description but that’s not to say that Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is completely derivative; it’s not. It’s fun, goofy, and goopy, and there are references to the classic Sam Raimi production as well as twists. Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell is stuffed with ambition, joy, and formidable biceps that should be named Thunder and Lightning, or, I suppose, Kaminari and Inazuma.

Director Shinichi Fukazawa shot the film in 1995, edited it in 2005, and finally released it in 2009. It took nearly 15 years to get this film in front of human eyes, and it was well worth the wait and effort.


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