31 Days of Halloween – Day 6: Genocide (1968)

Genocide 1968The fourth and final film in the When Horror Came To Shochiku box set from The Criterion Collection served as a precursor to the nature and animals strike back features of the 70s, such as Phase IV or Frogs. Genocide (1968) offers something for everyone as it really is across the board, from Nazis and Vietnam to H-bombs and killer insects. Director Kazui Nihonmatsu follows up The X From Outer Space (1967) with his second and last movie, continuing a trend amongst Shochiku directors.

Jozi (Yusuke Kawazu) is a bug collector living on an island, capturing rare insects for both a scientist in Tokyo, Dr. Nagumo (Keisuke Sonoi), and a beautiful blonde named Annabelle (Kathy Horan). Meanwhile, his wife Yukari (Emi Shindo) waits at home, fending off advances from the sleazy hotel owner.  Jozi witnesses a B-52 bomber crash on the island and four parachutes landing to the ground. Three of them are pilots from the aircraft, including the disturbed Charlie (Chico Roland), while the fourth is the H-bomb. The plane crashed because it ran into a swarm of insects. It seems bugs are starting to become aggressive and this island is ground zero for the impending end of the world. They have grown tired of mankind’s wars and believe it’s time to wipe everyone out…genocide!

As per what we’ve seen so far from Shochiku, budgets are low and the insects here are either poor animation or stock footage. Aircrafts shots are also far from believable. We also get shots of Nazi concentration camps and Vietnam thrown in for good measure. It’s an odd flick as it really appears to be all over the place. Americans are portrayed in their usual over-the-top heavy-handed manner. You have the obligatory goofy acting henchmen and not-too-bright local police force. However, it was a brisk 84 minutes and not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Go in with lower expectations and you should enjoy it. Check out the trailer and prepare to head home. Tomorrow, we leave Japan and begin a week with some contemporary horror flicks ranging from 1973 to 1995, including an anthology, some Lovecraft, satanic worship and zombies.

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