Attack of the Mushroom People review by The Grim Ringler

When the world was tripping out on acid and war and the idea that, dear oh dear, blacks and women might want rights, over in Japan, they were churning out monster movies. Godzilla was the king, but monsters of every stripe and order was on the prowl in Asian film, many of them grim reminders of our nuclear world as much as they were just simple kiddie flicks. But it was Godzillas papa who, in the middle of all the monster movies, turned to the drug culture and an ancient Chinese folktale of singing mushrooms to create a chilling and surreal look into addiction and monster fungi.

Several friends take a sailboat out for a trip but end up in the middle of a deadly storm that nearly sinks the ship and all on board. Through some stroke of luck though the friends survive the storm but find they are miles from land and have no way to send for help. While floating they spy a desolate island and make for it in dinghies with the hope of finding civilization or food. Something. Anything. The island is deserted though and seems to be a boat graveyard of sorts. On one of the ships though is food, yummy food, and it looks like they might be able to make a go of it on the island until help can come though. There is treachery amongst their ranks though and when the food begins disappearing in the night he accusations fly. The tensions deepen as they realize that maybe they arent so alone on this island, though they cannot figure out who might be there with them. But the food is running out and the biggest worry on everyones minds is how they will survive as nothing is edible on the island save for an abundance of mushrooms which are growing everywhere but which give off a suspicious aura. Creepy mushrooms be damned though when you are hungry so the friends begin eating the mushrooms despite the warnings they are given and find that these mushrooms are deliciousand quite addictive. Unfortunately though the mushrooms have a nasty side effect that turns the eater into a mushroom themselves, and as the number of friends dwindles, the horrors of the island are revealed it wasnt a desolate island at all, but all of the inhabitants are mushrooms themselves, and they want nothing more than the survivors to join them.

The biggest issue with the film is the atrocious dubbing that plagues the movie, but, really, it sorta adds to the kooky charm. The film is very surreal and the mushroom people, once revealed, are very creepy and nightmarish quality to the film and its hard to shake the sight of them from your mind afterwards. Worse yet is the awful laughter that accompanies the mushroom people, as if they want you to THINK they are happy and having fun but they arent. They just want you to be damned as they are. Eek. The direction is very well done and it is a well-made film, though you can tell its all on sets. But then, that too adds to the surreal feeling of the film. As if its not a film at all but a fever dream.

As much a tale of addiction as it is a straight horror story, this is a gem that seems to have gotten lost through the years, which is a shame, as it hasnt been readily available on video for years. Rumor has it though that an indie production house might pick up this film and another beloved film of mine for release. I wont say who yet as it isnt a done deal and I heard about this through the grapevine. Keep your fingers crossed though. Its a very strange, very fun movie that I guarantee will give you as many chills as laughs.

c




7 out of 10 Jackasses
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