Title: Crazed Beast
Original Title: Kurutta yajû
Genre: Crime, Thriller (Comedy)
Director: Sadao Nakajima
Starring: Tsunehiko Watase, Jun Hoshino, Takuzo Kawatani
Language: Japanese (Mockdubbed)
I like to think that I succeed in doing my part in uncovering forgotten films of the past wherever I can, whether better left forgotten or not, but with this one I feel as though I've really outdone myself; a 70s rarity that is somewhat surprising it even managed to find its way to a DVD, even if it never left the country, which means you better believe it doesn't come with subtitles. In fact, there are probably no subtitles for it in existence and not the interest in creating them, but don't let this minor quibble trouble you for where there is a will and a potentially mentally unstable film nut there is a way. Submitted to the nicely titled “My Uploads Are Total Fucking Failures And No One Loves Me” (MUATTFANOLM) competition on the source of most of my depravity, the torrent tracker Cinemegaddon, it is the masterpiece of the infamous “Muchacho” who sees no reason to let a language barrier stop him from making his own dub to resurrect a film from the past.
Of course making your own dub of a film you can't understand can come with its own set of problems but fortunately the script isn't one of them. In truth, there doesn't seem to be a great deal to the plot; when a pair of criminals find themselves on the run from the law, they hi-jack a bus and try to escape using whatever means they can, whether pretending to have a bomb or forcing small children to pee on their pursuers. The bus remains full of mysterious passengers, each of them harbouring dark secrets and as tensions rise, the truth gradually emerges causing an unrelenting source of friction between the hostages and their malicious and yet incompetent captors. In truth, the script was superbly written; the lines always seem to make sense in the context of the film to maintain a coherent feel, to the point that you sometimes stop and wonder just how far off the mark they really were. The only drawback of the dub is the comparatively low audio quality and the lack of voice actors; limited to nothing more than himself and the only person he could rope into reading with him: his wife.
It may not be that this version ever becomes known further than a select few CG members and those who stumble upon this post but know that I cannot fathom any way that this could have been improved with the original subtitles. The film was produced on a low budget, limiting the capabilities for action sequences and yet it never quite reaches the heights of the campy cheese of the exploitation genre, which simply means that it's neither laughably bad or genuinely good. It sits firmly in the middle, and whilst there are some incredible laugh-out-loud moments where the joke within the dubbing and the characters expression combine in perfect unison, they arrive too sporadically to truly save this from monotony. With the exception of this dub there's little here that feels well done, and whilst this may be the interesting start to a new trend; where old films are breathed new life by film fanatics with far too much time on their hands, it's hit and miss nature makes it inherently hard to recommend.