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Episode Nine: ANDROID ZERO DIRECTIVE(also listed as OPERATION ZERO) ***1/2
Dubbed title: TOYS IN CRISIS
"At precisely the stroke of midnight, these toys turn into deadly weapons that will destroy this whole city. Thousands of hypnotized children armed with my ingenious weapons, and obeying my every command. The weaponry with which I've armed the children is stronger than anything you have on Earth...the adults of your planet will never take up arms against their children."
Furuhashi and Moroboshi are on patrol one evening. They stop for a woman who asks to speak with Dan. Furuhashi pretends to be Dan and the mysterious woman ends up severely shocking Furuhashi. Moroboshi picks up a brooch she dropped and finds a bizarre insignia inside. The next day, Dan and Soga run across a bunch of kids playing in the streets with guns that look startlingly real and all possess that peculiar patch which, under closer inspection, hides a miniature radio receiver. Made by an elderly toymaker from another world, his plan is to initiate 'Android Operation Zero' at midnight whereby children bearing the alien patch will be turned into murderous automatons, gunning down the inhabitants of the city.
Whereas episode 12 is offensive to the Japanese, so would episode 9 be offensive to a lot of Americans considering the inexplicable rash of gun violence and persistent, slow squashing of freedoms in this country these last few years from an ever growing government agenda. The use of guns and children seen here would likely raise more than an eyebrow or two if this one were seen on a wider platform. You can't even play kiddie games like 'Cowboys and Indians' or 'Cops and Robbers' anymore without the PC police deeming such things as morally corrupt.
This potentially grim episode is about as close to horror as this series has gotten thus far. The fact that this alien in human guise would use children to kill adults is disturbing all by itself. Accompanying the Chiburu -- a giant floating brain with tendrils -- are creepy mannequins he brings to life. This all adds to a strikingly effective atmosphere of dread that is present the entire running time of this show.
"Toy tanks and planes attacked us in a department store!"
The finale is also blackly comical in its dark natured irony. The old man, prior to revealing his true form, sends a cadre of killer toys to eliminate Moroboshi and Sogo. These diminutive assassination accouterments include toy tanks and planes; likely the same ones used in any number of Japanese giant monster films.
So far, 'Android Zero Directive' is the darkest thirty minutes of ULTRASEVEN seen on this set. Yet again, monster action is minimal -- which is just as well as this episode contains some controversial subject matter that's all the more intriguing in comparison with current events. Ultraseven never goes giant during his brief skirmish with the big brained alien being. This episode didn't need a lot of monsters as the plot is frightening enough as it is.
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST & THE SAVAGE CINEMA OF RUGGERO DEODATO By Gian Luca Castoldi, Harvey Fenton, Julian Grainger, Xavier Mendik, Julian Petley 128 pages; hardcover; color and B/W; Editions: 1999 (2011 -- revised, updated)
Even if the bulk of Deodato's oeuvre is of little interest to casual, mainstream viewers, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is essential viewing for anyone interested in the horror genre. It's also a ferociously powerful movie that resonates the stain of man's dark side just as much now as it did some three decades ago. For Deodato completists, this lovingly thorough and grim tome is the Last Cannibal Word on the subject of the filmmakers most notorious works.
The film career of Italian director Ruggero Deodato has been a long and successful one. It's also a career dotted with but a single film that will forever be both a bane and a blessing to the man that made it. That film makes up the first part of this books title, and also a hefty amount of this books pages.
There's a contingent of the mainstream horror circle that will likely not know who Deodato is, and that's where this expanded volume on the man and his controversial works comes in handy. There's more information and a stunning array of photographs than you'd imagine could be fit within the books compact 128 pages. All of Deodato's films -- including his assistant director gigs -- are covered here. Some are given more attention than others, but the main point of focus is the production that caused him the most grief; that film being CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980). The book begins with an interview with Deodato (from 1999) and also ends with a more recent one from 2011. The opening conversation is a career-spanning talk that covers some 20 pages while the closing interview is a more personable discussion centering around CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and a few select titles. Both are fascinating reads. The section and discussion of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST by itself encompasses 16 pages not counting the coverage it receives in the interviews. There's also a single page article on the cuts incurred by the BBFC at the time, and its current state through the eyes of the British Board of Film Classification today. This book comes with the highest recommendation for any fan of Italian horror, Ruggero Deodato, or CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for that matter. Even if the bulk of Deodato's oeuvre is of little interest to casual,
mainstream viewers, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is essential viewing for anyone
interested in the horror genre. It's also a ferociously powerful movie
that resonates the stain of man's dark side just as much now as it did
some three decades ago. For Deodato completists, this lovingly thorough
and grim tome is the Last Cannibal Word on the subject of the filmmakers
most notorious works.
Please be advised of the warning at the bottom of the books back cover (see above right). The images do not flinch, and there's a bounty of graphic, and nude photos throughout. It's most definitely for adults only.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.