Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY ALEX DAVIS
Come on in, the water's squamous...
Guzoo (Or The Thing Abandoned by God) (1986)
Dir. Kazuo 'Gaira' Komizu, Japan, 40 mins
Japan is a country that has always had a proud tradition of extreme cinema, and has always been extremely prolific in producing movies that would give plenty of people cause to pause. We've had some great experiences – well, let's say unforgettable – with Japanese film, but we've hardly touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of what was produced in the 80s. In a bid to remedy that, I've just sat and watched Guzoo – also marvellously known as The Thing Abandoned By God, and will be settling in for a bit more 80's madness from Japan in the coming weeks.
Lots of these 80s gore/splatter pieces were pretty short, and Guzoo weighs in at a pretty light 40 minutes. The story follows four young university students, who go to stay in a hotel run by a friend of one of their fathers, who is a major professor at said educational establishment. The operator of the hotel works in the lab in some unstated capacity, and also has a little lab at the hotel itself – a cause of great curiosity for our characters. And in that lab lurks the awful, nightmarish creature that is Guzoo – slimy, unsettling, misshapen, violent and vicious Guzoo. There's also some strange hint that the lab is part of some parallel dimension, which would explain (to some extent) how Guzoo is able to pop out of mirrors and attack the young girls staying at the rural accommodation.
Having read that paragraph, you can probably pick apart how the rest of the story works out – our hotel owner is keeping Guzoo in the lab, experimenting on the pure creature and controlling it (strangely) through the use of what appears to be a set of pan pipes or similar. But when the creature finally gets free, all hell is about to break loose...
Now those of you familiar with this particular slice of cinema history will know that many of these splatter movies were often gore for the sake of gore, often a sort of showcase for the burgeoning special effects of the time. There is distinctly an element of that here – the first death in the movie certainly goes to town in that respect, and the creature that is Guzoo I would argue generally looks pretty good. Although by good, I mean revolting. When it gets out and starts really moving around it does look a little silly, but overall the close-ups of the abomination who gives the movie its name are decently disgusting. And there is a surprisingly tender moment towards the end between two of the girls that really surprised me in pulling a genuine emotional reaction from me – something I had certainly not been expecting in this context.
The splatter movie scene can be distinctly hit and miss, probably never better epitomised by the wildly divergent Guinea Pig series – reviewed here in full a while back, and ranging from the very entertaining to the abysmally tedious.