Thursday, September 15, 2011

In short: Hell Target (1987)

A spaceship is sent out to the totally subtly named planet Inferno (I imagine the screenwriter whistling innocently here) to find out what happened to another spaceship that disappeared there quite some time ago.

In a surprising twist, the rescue mission is coming much too late. Our heroes' predecessors have all died mysteriously. But of what? The crew of spaceship number two does not need to ask themselves that question for too long, for soon enough, they are attacked by various monsters - or one monster able to take on different forms; I'd tell you which, if the anime only told me. Some of the monsters are random, murky things, others seem to come directly out of their victims' subconscious, others belong in the world of airbrush art.

Whatever the monsters exactly are - and it's not as if our heroes think long and hard about it - they are quite effective at their astronaut killing job. Eventually, only one spaceman survives. Will he realize that he has visited Hell, or will he bring (dun-dun-DUN) Hell to Earth?

As you know, Jim, I have a high tolerance for combinations of Science Fiction and supernatural horror, so I'm pretty much built to enjoy Keito Nakamura's (whoever he is) little OVA Hell Target, even though the anime is pretty much the definition of "nothing special".

Actually, calling Hell Target "nothing special" might go a step too far in the direction of the positive. For many people's tastes, the script will just be too unclear, the plotting too disinterested, and the character design too generic mid-80s anime to let the film come over as anything but a chore to get through. You can't even point at it and call it the obscure anime Paul W.S. Anderson's Event Horizon stole ideas from, because that would suggest the anime does more than just mumble "hell in space" and let it end at that.

Still, I don't mind having spent fifty minutes of my life on Hell Target. Watched as mindless entertainment, it's as tolerable as it comes, and - though they don't look all that interesting - it does contain a melting zombie, an owl ghost, a big alien spider thingie, blood, red dust, shooting, explosions and what the script probably called a "romantic sex scene". Sometimes, that's quite enough for me.


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