Today’s Random Tokusatsu: Down to Hell (1997)

Today’s selection: Down to Hell (1997, dir. Ryuhei Kitamura)

Subgenre: Zombie

Available from: Fansub-only

There’s been buzz about a sequel or remake of Versus ever since it came out, but what most people fail to mention is that Versus itself is a sequel to Down to Hell; during the making-of segments, you can see that Versus‘s working title was Down 2 Hell. Of course, as Kitamura’s first real film, comparing Versus to Down to Hell is like comparing Evil Dead 2 to Within the Woods, or at least to the first Evil Dead: the semi-sequel/remake is much more professional looking, and expands upon the idea of its predecessor. The plot of Down to Hell is really just that a bunch of yakuza take a guy into the woods and kill him. Then he comes back as a zombie and in turn kills them. That might not sound like much of a plot, but keep in mind that the movie is also shorter than your average hour-long TV episode. The movie is one of the few Kitamura films to never get a US release, understandable since it’s not very polished (unlike, say, LoveDeath. Why hasn’t anyone picked that up yet?!), so if you’re curious about the director’s origins and happen upon a fansub, check it out. Otherwise it may not be worth going out of your way for when his later, better movies are available.

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