FOR PRODUCTION STILLS GALLERY, SEE THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE
Yûdai Yamaguchi and Jun'ichi Yamamoto's Meatball Machine (a.k.a. "Mîtobôru mashin") - a remake of the latter's 1999 movie of the same title (Japanese Movie Database entry) - is scheduled to have its North American première at the 15th Philadelphia Film Festival (PFF) on April 1st at 10:00 p.m., and to subsequently be screened there on April 4th at 9:30 p.m.. It had its world première at the Tokyo International Fantastic Film Festival 2005 (Tôkyô Kokusai Fantasutikku Eigasai 2005) on October 14th of last year.
The screenplay for Meatball Machine (2005) was written by Jun'ya Katô. The movie stars Issei Takahashi, Aoba Kawai, Tôru Tezuka (Teduka Tôru), Shôichirô Masumoto, and Ayano Yamamoto. Keita Amemiya designed the characters for it. (Amemiya himself directed "The Promise" ("Yakusoku") in the omnibus horror movie Tales of Terror (Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro: gekijô-ban) - a.k.a. "Tales of Terror from Tokyo: The Movie".) Yoshihiro Nishimura was responsible for its special effects, special make-up effects, and molds. (Nishimura previously worked on Noboru Iguchi's Saishû seiki! Natsume Nana - kyûkyoku no erosu (viewer discretion is advised), Impolite Education (18-kin - abunai kankei: the kinshinsôkan), the short "Evil Guy" ("Yôchû no harawata") - a.k.a. "Entrails of a Larva" - and A Larva to Love (Koi suru yôchû). He also worked on Shion Sono's Strange Circus (Kimyô na sâkasu), which is scheduled to have its North American première at PFF on April 2nd at 10:00 p.m., and to subsequently be screened there on April 3rd at 9:45 p.m..)
Here's a description of Meatball Machine (2005) from PFF's 2006 Festival Program Guide: "Full-throttle splatter-ific Japanese cyberpunk science-fiction/horror at its most aggressive, this mind-blower about alien parasites that turn their human hosts into slave 'Necroborgs' will leave you dizzy and drained - in a good way.
If you're craving an experimental science-fiction/horror rollercoaster that will have you leaving the theater feeling like you just had your entire brain and body shaken and stirred, Meatball Machine is exactly the full-strength cinematic potion you need. A feature-length expansion of a short film [note: according to numerous Japanese sources, the running time of Meatball Machine (1999) was 70 minutes] previously created by co-director Junichi Yamamoto (the other director here is Yudai Yamaguchi, responsible for the comedic cult favorite Battlefield Baseball), Meatball Machine makes the early aggressive cyberpunk endeavors of directors Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo) and Sogo Ishii (Burst City) look like models of restraint and tranquility. Meatball starts off as a sweet romance, but that doesn't last long: shy, lonely factory worker Yoji has a crush on fellow factory employee Sachiko, but just when they start to bond... well, aliens invade the earth and attach themselves as parasites to human bodies. The method of parasitism is grotesque enough - the aliens implant tumor-like globules on the shoulders of their victims and pilot them like robots (whilst also blinding them with devices that penetrate their eye sockets) - but when Yamamoto and Yamaguchi take the viewer inside the parasite blobs to observe the slimy mini-extraterrestrial activity first-hand, then you know you're onto a stomach-turning winner. Meatball Machine puts its cinematic foot all the way down on the gas pedal and doesn't let up until the inevitable battle between Yoji and Sachiko - a touching testament to young love, blood, and alien ooze."
Yamaguchi's previous directing credits include Tebana Sankichi and Twice Shiroh Strikes! (Tebana Sankichi to 2 (tuwaisu) Shirô ga yuku), Sakigake!! Cromartie High School: The Movie (Sakigake!! Kuromati Kôkô: The Movie), Present (Purezento) - one of the movies in the Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater (Umezu Kazuo: kyôfu gekijô) hexalogy - and Battlefield Baseball (Jigoku Kôshien).
Strange Circus trailer (downloadable 14.4 MB WMV file)
Strange Circus 1 MB trailer (streaming Windows Media)
Strange Circus 300 KB trailer (streaming Windows Media)
Strange Circus official website
A Larva to Love trailer (downloadable 3.4 MB Shockwave Flash file)
GOMORRAHY.com: Trailer Park subsite