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Matango

Matango: Fungus of Terror
Attack of the Mushroom People / Curse of the Mushroom People

Japan 1963
produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka for Toho
directed by Ishiro Honda
starring Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Kenji Sahara, Hiroshi Tachikawa, Miki Yashiro, Eisei Amamoto, Jiro Kumagai, Akio Kusama, Yutaka Oka, Kazuo Higata, Keisuke Yamada, Tokio Okawa, Mitsuko Hayashi, Kakue Ishibanji
based on the novel The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson, adaptation by Masami Fukushima, Shinichiro Hoshi, screenplay by Takeshi Kimura, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, music by Sadao Bekku

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Rich man Kasai (Yoshio Tsuchiya) has invited a few of his friends to a cruise on his yacht, but unfortunately the trip goes horribly wrong when they are hit by bad weather & lose their mast. All they can do now is aimlessly drift, & soon thekir route takes them into thick fog & they hear on the radio that the search for them has been abandoned ... which is why they get all excited when they find an island, even though on closer inspection the island seems pretty much devoid of any food (apart from mushrooms that might be poisonous).

Eventually they also find a shipwreck, a pretty recent one too, which is full of mold, but the crew it seems has strangely disappeared, no bodies, not even a sign of them, but they have left some canned food behind ... & some cryptic warnings not to eat the mushrooms.

Kasai & friends soon decide to put up camp on the shipwreck while trying to repair the yacht, but soon conflicts break out between Kasai & his wealthy friends - TV-star Mami (Kumi mizuno), writer Yoshida (Hiroshi Tachikawa), psychologist Murai (Akira Kubo) & lovely wallflower Akiko (Miki Yashiro) - on one side, & the have-not-crew - skipper Sakeda (Hiroshi Koizumi) & sailor Koyama (Kenji Sahara) on the other side., & it's soon found out that the seamen might be much better skilled in finding food ... the situation is not improved much either by a monster, a sort of muchroom covered man, makes a visit to the boat but disappears before they can either capture or shoot him.

Further strain ifs put upon the group when Sakeda abandons them in the yachttrying to find a safe port on his own, & then Yoshida starts eating the mushrooms, & soon turns into a homicidal maniac, & he drags Mami over to his side , too, later also Kasai, & soon they all transform into mushroom-people.

In a conflict mushroom eaters vs humans Koyama is killed, & Murai & Akiko can only save themselves onto the ayacht, that has since been drifting back to the island ... but without Sakeda, who has drowned trying to escape ...

Ultimately though, Akiko & Murai have to treturn to the island fro provisions, & while Akiko is soon claimed by the mushroom people as well, Murai can escape all their temptations as well as their attacks, & ultimate4ly, pursued by man-high mushrooms, make it back to the yacht, even succeed in making an escape & returning to Japan ... but what good has it done him, he has refused to stay with Akiko, whom he has fallen in love with, has resisted eating mushrooms despite unbearable hunger, & yet he is still slowly turning into a mushroom man ...

 

Very obviously this is a horror film that carries a strong anti-drug message ... yet despite the rather blatant approach of bringing the message across, this is a rather interesting character study, in which people under strain get at each others'  throats long before the monsters show up - & even after that. The decaying & moldy ship & the fog filled island provide suitably eerie, almost unreal backdrops for that, while the showdown qwith the mushroom people attacking is a pure trip all by itself.

A far cry from the childish sci-fi-stuff Inoshiro Honda is best known for in the West (e.g. King Kong vs Godzilla from the same year) - not that there would be anything wrong with those !

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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