Film Review - Meatball Machine
“ Mister, are you an alien?”
This films goes a lot more deeper than an alien parasite in the form of a chest hugger like crustacean, which sprouts a mass of tentacles engulfing it's human host, whilst controlling them via negative emotions. Meatball Machine is a splatter-gore sci-fi, with a sentimental love story at its core.
Yoji (Issei Takahashi - Kill Bill vol. 1&2), is a lonely and meek factory engineer compared to his testosterone charged co-workers. He is agonisingly shy and awkward, so much so, he can barely put a sentence together throughout most of the film. Especially, when on his lunch breaks he fantasises over Sachiko (Aoba Kawai - Hand of God tv), another factory worker from across the way. Arty black and white dream like close-ups of Sachiko flash at us, indicating Yoji's feelings towards her.
Throughout the film Yoji's masculinity is constantly tested; jibes from the co-workers, a failed attempt to satiate his desires for Sachiko in a love hotel and a violent sexual attack, drives Yoji further inwards to his loneliness. His fortune changes when he is left in a pile of trash after an attack, where he comes across a strange and other-worldly metallic object.
Fast forward and Sachiko reveals a dark childhood story to Yoji, who in a flaccid attempt at heroism has managed to save her from being sexually assaulted. During this heart-to-heart, the alien object begins to stir, awakens and fully immerses her in its deadlock embrace. Fantastic effects scenes here, with the grotesque transformation of twisted gristle and metal; the birthing scene of the shrieking grub-like alien taking control of Sachiko's body is strangely beautiful.
Sachiko is now Necroborg!
Thus begins the doomed love story, albeit in a blood bath of carnage, where eyes are drilled out and human bodies taken over in a mega gore way, but why not? There is one moment of virility which manifests in Yoji, as he must make a decision on how to resolve the carnage fest driven by his strong emotions of love versus the parasites narcissistic destructive power.
Fans of the splatter-gore genre and the works of both Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Police Gore) and Yudai Yamaguchi (The ABCs of Death) will love Meatball Machine for the film's low-budget and grainy aesthetic, which lend itself to the bleakness of the towns industrial environment. Its hi-score gore, which is evenly distributed, splatter when and where its needed and it's homage to films like Tetsuo, Akira and Alien with a Carpenter-esque minimalist score. The directors could easily have been less invested in the storyline, but I think this is why the film kept me pumped to the end, although, the end felt a little too stretched in its explanations, but that didn't take away from the fleshy core of this pulverized romance.
Director: Yudai Yamaguchi and Junichi Yamamoto
Cast: Issei Takahashi, Aoba Kawai, Kenichi Kawasaki, Shōichirō Masumoto
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
Runtime: 90 minutes
written by Semonara