Probably won't win an Oscar
T. Hardin | seaside,oregon | 11/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"i found this to be an entertaining slice of Japanese horror/camp with an obvious nod to previous films,both horror and otherwise.A definite sense of humor is evident thru-out,so i think to fully appreciate this one must bear that in mind.This is no "art film",but an attempt at simple fun that doesn't tax the brain.
personally, i think it achieves that!"
Seems I liked it better than most.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 03/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hiruko the Goblin (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1991)
Sometimes it seems like every Shinya Tsukamoto fan on the planet hates Hiruko the Goblin. Now that I've actually seen it, I'm not entirely sure why. I get it in context-- Hiruko, Tsukamoto's second film, was nothing at all like his first, Tetsuo: The Iron Man-- but now that we have sixteen years of hindsight and know that it was Tetsuo and not Hiruko that was the odd man out, perhaps it's time for some of the movie's harsher critics to revisit it. It's silly, and it's dumb, but it's quite funny and not nearly as awful as I'd been led to believe.
The story concerns a school that was built atop a burial mound containing a trapped goblin named Hiruko. An archaeological expedition unwittingly frees Hiruko, who gets up to his old tricks again pronto. (These tricks consist of things like beheading people and possessing attractive young women.) A goblin-hunter shows up and works with the son of one of the folks who's disappeared to try and figure out what's going on.
Hiruko was made with a slightly larger budget than Tetsuo, but it's still pretty obvious Tsukamoto was working in the basement for this one. To me, that just adds to its charm; this isn't a lavish production like Tsukamoto's more recent films, so you get cheap special effects and an amateurish patina over everything. But to balance it out, the film is earnest without ever taking itself at all seriously; every time it has a chance to go for the laugh, it does. (Note that the American equivalent would not be an Adam Sandler or Chris Farley movie; early-period Peter Jackson is a bit closer to the mark.)
A very fun and unjustly neglected movie. Well worth checking out. ***"
Do you have any more skewers?
N. R. Smith | a tight spot | 04/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"alright now, i think this film happens to be a little misunderstood. there's no way it aims to be artsy, amazing, or even a "great film" depending on your definition of such. it's meant to be a fun little slice of z-movie camp for the fans of that old school cheese. and i think it pulls this off successfully. if you're looking for a cheesy comedy/gore/horror flick complete with the classic stop motion animation technique, this film is a valentine to people such as yourself. you won't see any CG crap in this one. it's all low budget puppets and mechanics baby(old school). now that doesn't necessarily make anything automatically good, but it should give you an idea about what to expect.
the story itself is decent, but nothing to expect much out of. there's a loose goblin that goes by the name of hiruko, and it's running amok the school grounds taking people's heads. enter heida and masao to attempt to save the day. that's pretty much all you need to know. i think the film begins to slightly fall apart near the end, with the best of it being shown in the middle with some classic abandoned school scares. but even then i was captivated to the end by the strange charm of this japanese title.
i'm a pretty big fan of tsukamoto, and while i realize this is definitely not one of his best works out there, it still shouldn't be forgotten. i think a handful of the viewers that came out disappointed were expecting some sort of artsy film that they could pretend they understood and discuss their loose interpretations of it. hiruko is NOT that. this is just a classic cheesy horror romp meant for some popcorn viewing and that's it. go in with a grindhouse attitude, and you should leave entertained by this strange japanese title."