Sunday, February 13, 2011

Genocide - War of the Insects

                                              Director: Kazui Nihonmatsu
                  Starring: Keiksuke Sonoi, Yusuke Kawazu, Kathy Horan, Chico Roland


Until recently, this was an uber obscure Japanese sci fi film that only existed in it's original language and was never subtitled. Amazingly however, within the last couple of years an English dub was discovered from an International print. The original thought was, "Great, now we can finally understand just what the hell is going on in this crazy flick!" Yeah, about that...

Even in (badly dubbed) English, "Genocide - War of the Insects" is one of the most convoluted and impenetrable films I've seen in a long time. The story in a nutshell, involves a Hydrogen Bomb which goes missing off the coast of an island in the Pacific and the attempts by the American military and Russian spies to find it; each for their own reason. The subplot involves a crazed female WW2 concentration camp survivor who has developed a string of killer insects that she intends to release upon the world.

The previous paragraph only scratches the surface of the nuttiness that ensues. This is one whacked-out, mamma jamma of a movie.

This film is definately a mess, BUT it's an enjoyable mess. I may have been bewildered, but never bored. This is a fun film to watch as long as you know what you're getting into. I think it's more Psychotronic than truly bad. It is an amazingly downbeat affair (there are no likable characters to be found here, save for a neglected, pregnant wife) that doesn't seem to offer the stamp of the film's director, Kazui Nihonmatsu who also directed the ridiculous "X From Outer Space". What does give Genocide's quality away is it's screenwriter, Susumu Takaku. He was also the screenwriter for director Hajime Sato's terrific, "Goke - Bodysnatcher From Hell" and that film does indeed bear a strong resemblence to "Genocide". So similar are the two films in both form and execution (though Goke is definately the better of the two) that they would make for an appropriate double bill.

Another link between Goke and Genocide is American actress Kathy Horan. In Goke, she plays a half crazed widow of a Vietnam Vet. In Genocide, she plays the completely crazed Holocaust survivor/ insect breeder. Not much is known about her except her appearance in these two films and a small role in "The Green Slime", all three being lensed in 1968. She also fills out a bikini quite nicely.

Filled with eye catching cinematography and an impressive score by veteran composer, Shunsuke Kikuchi (who among many others, scored Sato's "Terror Beneath the Sea" and "Golden Bat" as well as the Gamera movies) "Genocide - War of the Insects" shapes up as a challenging (as well as challenged) viewing experience.

It's exposure was recently enhanced when Cinematic Titanic added it to their live show. Haven't seen their riff yet, but am certainly looking forward to it.

                                                        **1/2 / ****

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