Meatball Machine (2005) Review

Within the opening seconds of Meatball Machine we have watched a suicidal Japanese man ripped to shreds by a tentacled monster and believe me folks this mad Sci-Fi gore movie only gets more extreme from here on in.

A brutal body horror the slight story involves alien invaders who use a strange cyber organic device to transform human hosts into NecroBorgs that the parasitic beings then pilot around predominantly to do battle with each other.

Shy under confident factory worker Yôji (Issey Takahashi) knows none of this so when he finds one of the intergalactic infection devices defunct in the street he innocently takes it home hoping to learn more about the interesting oddity.

Forgetting all about the strange machine he turns his attention to Sachiko (Aoba Kawai) a woman he has adored from afar for a long time, watching her every day when he has lunch at work. After a disturbing incident where one of Yôji’s co-workers tries to rape Sachiko before he steps in the pair find themselves back at the nervous nerd’s home discussing their painful pasts.

Sachiko is covered in deep scars both physically and psychologically, inflicted on her by her abusive father and unfortunately the dormant yet dangerous mechanism is awoken by her traumatic story. Drawn to her negativity it flings itself from Yôji’s wardrobe transforming Sachiko into a disfigured cyborg driven by the parasite inside.

Stunned, alarmed and ashamed he didn’t do more to help the woman he loves Yôji decides to pursue the mutated monster and work out a way to bring her back only to be attacked by the mechanised human slave and left for dead.

It is here that Yôji meets a strange father and daughter duo who not only have information on what is happening to Sachiko but also seem to know a way to defeat her. Experts in the NecroBorgs and the aliens inhabiting them they have been fighting the insidious invasion for years. However the family have a far darker motive in mind and soon Yôji finds himself becoming more intimately acquainted with the deadly alien devices than he would ever want to be.

Directed by Yudai Yamaguchi and Jun’ichi Yamamoto who also worked on the story together Meatball Machine takes elements of Shinya Tsukamoto’s classic cyberpunk body horror Tetsuo: The Iron Man and turns up the gore in full foul colour. Limbs are torn off, heads are split apart, flesh is transformed into deadly weaponry as guns and blades of bone and metal emerge from anywhere and gallons upon gallons of blood squirts from every orifice.

The effect of this splatter fest on the audience ranges from sheer disbelief to hilarity to deep disturbance to nausea inducing nastiness sometimes all in the same scene. Although as mentioned the extreme gore kicks in straight away somehow the movie keeps upping the ante reaching its peak at the midway point with Sachiko’s violent and vile violation.

Drawn out in sickening detail we see the whole NecroBorg process which includes terrifying tentacle rape and the rapid growth of a hideous alien inside the host who takes control of the screaming woman’s body in petrifying phases, drilling metal covers over her eyes in the final stage of inhabitation.

Making the unbelievable somehow believable huge credit goes to amazing special effects artist Yoshihiro Nishimura (who would go on to work on The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police) for making such psychotic and twisted effects come to life. The designs are all insane and hugely imaginative with each incarnation of the NecroBorg’s different in a small way related to who it has infested from a small boy to a van driver.

Aside from the crazed cartoon carnage and lethal blood letting Meatball Machine is also a fucked up love story with warped relationships playing out between the mysterious father and daughter as well as Sachiko and Yoji. In fact there is a brilliant pay off at the end not only verifying the films title and the aliens ultimate plans but also drawing out the emotional connection the tragic lovers have which ironically makes them all the more useful for the grotesque games being played out on our innocent planet.

A true cult classic that needs to be seen to be believed gore hounds need to hurry up and own this release which is coming out via Terracotta Distribution and only limited to 2,000 Blu-ray copies. Meatball Machine pushes body horror to the limit blowing your mind while also making you want to vomit your brains out.

MEATBALL MACHINE will be available on special edition Blu-Ray from 12th April

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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