Sunday, 27 February 2011

Toho Terror From Japan ...

Attack Of The Mushroom People
(1963 / Japan)

Sixties studio Toho terror as a group of associates aboard a private yacht run into stormy seas. Battered and beaten by the elements the disabled boat is washed up near an uncharted island. The shaken up passengers and crew take to the beach, and go in search of fresh water and food. They soon discover that they are not the first to have strayed off course and been drawn to this place. They later pray that unlike their predecessors they actually get to leave its eerie embrace !.

This small band of people all have their own hang ups and all frailties, unpleasantness and selfish attributes soon come to the fore. Survival proves to be the most difficult thing of all, as trusting each other is essential, but the order of sensible command is tenuous at best. The men become insular and the women flirt to acquire position of importance in order to attain privilege. The baseness of man shows its true countenance.

A long derelict ship becomes their base, but aboard its deck and throughout its hold is a mysterious carpet of mould. This mould, however, is unlike anything regularly seen. Its density is irregular and the hue is different !?. The ship is identified as an oceanography craft, and those aboard were clearly experimenting with this growth, and also an unknown species of mushroom. An oversized mushroom contained within a wooden crate, marked Matango, is in situ within the scientific lab. The botanists had discovered this new species clearly indigenous to the island.

The two women in the party are the first to discover that curiously the ship has no mirrors. Where once they hung there is just an outlay marking of what once was. The remnants of the shattered mirrors are later discovered smashed up in the surrounding jungle. Tins of food and fresh water are uncovered, along with the ships log which deters the new arrivals from even considering using the mushrooms as a food supply. There is something about the mushrooms that holds the answer to what has happened to the former crew members, as no sign of their existence remains.

With an estimate of only one weeks supply of tinned food available the group must pull together and search for longer term supplies. They argue amongst themselves and the inherent human intolerances spill forth, causing discontent and worse within their ranks. Desperate acts leads to desperate measures, and soon some of the survivors turn to the mushrooms as sustenance. It is then that the truth behind what has gone before comes to be, and the presence of island inhabitation reveals itself.

A typically vibrant colourful horror / sci-fi social commentary strain of paranoia and class plays out in this Toho production. The islands kaleidoscopic hue is wondrously shown off in all its cinemascope splendour. The human hybrid creature costumes are so superior to the obvious CGI applications of today. There really is nothing to top a well made costumed monster, and the mushroom people are a great example of this. A very well made fantastical horror entry, replete with interesting, if flawed, characters and a creepy environment in the island itself.

When the Matango Mushroom monstrosities outnumber their human counterparts it pretty much falls upon one last credibly decent person to take flight, and finally attempt to escape from the clutches of the island. It’s an incredulous undertaking, but this lone survivor has had all the Shitake they can take !.

Attack Of The Mushroom People Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

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