I really dig how Japanese direct-to-video films just run however the fuck long they want. If you ever wanted an example of how completely out of control and ready to collapse bubble era Japan was, the original price tag of Biotherapy on VHS, a film that runs for a mere 35 minutes, reads ¥12,800 – by today’s conversion rates, the equivalent of 130 bucks. I suppose if I paid that much for a film that short I may be a bit annoyed. But for its brief running time, Biotherapy delivers everything its gore-hungry audience could possibly want.
Japan, 1986, Akihiro Kashima
The eye violence wraps up, and we return to Dr. Date. Date is heading up a research team who have discovered a miracle serum called GT. In just 35 minutes, the cast of Biotherapy manage to say “GT” at least seventy times (collectively, not each). So what’s the deal with this GT serum? Is it as dangerous as Date’s superior makes it out to be? Does it have any value whatsoever? Do you care?
Well, folks, someone who does care is the glowing guy in the trench coat. He starts to pick off the scientists with gloriously gooey and ultraviolent flair.
It seems everyone involved in Biotherapy – at least those behind the scenes – went on to do pretty much nothing as far as I can tell. This is Kashima’s only directorial effort, which is a little surprising as the film is slapped together with a certain amount of energy and skill. That said, you do have to ignore the way footage, rather bizarrely, rewinds and replays repetitively in the death scenes. I have no idea what that was about – a creative choice or just a weak attempt to stretch out the paltry running time?
Talking about the death scenes, it’s a real shock that make up artist Osamu Miki also appears to only have this singular entry in his credits. Biotherapy‘s gore lurid and explosive, revelling in its own silliness and piling on the tumbling guts and outrageous fountains of blood. It’s completely mad and incredibly well-executed.
In-between the eye-plucking and teeth-smashing, the film’s plot is present but largely irrelevant. The plot mostly makes sense… mostly. I’ll try not to spoil anything, but rest assured that a slimy monster does appear in the film’s final act.
Biotherapy made me wish that more splattery horror films were 35 minutes. Gone are long-winded scenes of padding used to reach the usual 90 minute mark. The film is left with its bare essentials: death and shouting. Biotherapy isn’t for everyone (obviously), and many will dismiss it as worthless garbage. And it is, but I love worthless garbage.
Biotherapy has not had an official DVD release, and somehow I doubt it ever will due to its length. There has been a few bootleg releases. The Japanese VHS can sometimes be seen lurking about, but it’s quite a rare find unfortunately. I’m not sure if there’s subs on the bootleg DVDS. The VHS obviously doesn’t have them, so plan to learn Japanese (or watch this with a Japanese pal) if you’d like to understand what’s going on.