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Gekko Kamen

Moon Mask Rider

Japan 1982
produced by
Hisao Masuca for Nippon Herald Films, Premiere International
directed by Yukihiro Sawada
starring Daisuke Kuwabara, Etsuko Shihomi, Takeo Chii, Daijiro Harada
screenplay by Kohan Kawauchi, Yukihiro Sawada, based on a story written by and character created by Kohan Kawauchi, music by Kohan Kawauchi

Gekko Kamen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The baddies of the Red Mask Gang are robbing banks, raiding money transports, extorting money and the like, and they're very inventive about what they do, so the police is usually left without a clue. But there is one man standing in the way of the Red Mask Gang's utter success - Moon Mask Rider, a mysterious masked hero dressed all white on a motorcycle who always seems to know when the Red Mask Gang is about to strike and who always seems to find a way to relieve them of their money to return it to its rightful owner - minus 10 percent commission he's always giving to the poor. This doesn't only ire the Red Mask Gang but also the police who have no idea who the Moon Mask Rider actually is.

The Red Mask Gang isn't just your ordinary gang by the way but a bunch of highly specialized experts picked from the highest ranks of the religious cult New Japanica, with the cult's leader Kenpo being the gang's leader as well. But even though the Red Mask Gang is a criminal gang, most of the gangmembers do believe in the ideals of the gang ... which is why when one of them is killed, gangmember Koroki, so far the brains of operations, falls into a depression, and he turns against Kenpo when Kenpo wants to recruit more cultmembers. Kenpo has him killed before too long.

Seeing Koroki killed, Kenpo's own foster daughter Ikuko starts having doubts and wants to leave. Now Kenpo can't kill her as easily as Koroki, so he forces her to extort a fortune from the gouvernment, claiming the New Japanica cultmembers are her hostages - she succeeds, too!

Of course, Kenpo never really wanted all the money from his raids to really fund a silly old cult but to live like a rich bastard, so once he has collected enough, he decides for his followers to commit mass suicide and make a getaway together with Ikuko. Of course, Moon Mask Rider interferes, saves the cultmembers and sees to it that Kenpo gets his just desserts (he dies in a helicopter crash) while Ikuko is allowed to die in a helicopter crash.


This film has several nice elements - a death cult, masked heroes and villains, bizarre baddies and weapons, and even a subplot of remorseful criminals ... and all that adds up to very little, basically because the direction is very bland, impersonal as can be, and never ready to embrace the campier side of things. At the same time, while there are some interesting characters here, all too few of them are fully developed, and especially the Moon Mask Rider is nothing more than a faceless do-gooder (in more sense than one). On top of that, the budget of the film doesn't always seem up to its demands, which makes several scenes look underdeveloped. Now all that said the film is not a total loss (as mentioned, it at least features interesting elements), but not quite a triumph, either.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD