by Jules Carrozza

This is certainly one of everyone's favorites. It has just an average yaught-load of happy go lucky working class people on a little voyage. On board are psychologist Marai; his girlfriend Akiko; wealthy businessman Kasai; famous singer Maimi; writer Yoshida; sailor Koyama; and skipper Sakuda. They are having a great time until a storm hits and destroys the mast. The ship soon lies helplessly adrift in the sea. Eventually, they discover an island. When they come ashore they find an abandoned fungus covered ship and a jungle full of mushrooms. They take up residence on the ship. They soon find a log that claims the mushrooms are deadly and you shouldn't eat them. So Koyama takes control and makes everyone live off roots and turtle's eggs.
Everyone begins to become very vicious and act odd. One night, a strange figure walks abord the ship and frightens everyone. Soon Yoshida starts acting like a monster because he has been eating the mushrooms in private. He tries to kill everyone with a gun when they won't let him have sex with Maimi. Then he is locked up. Maimi lets him out and he soon trys to kill everyone again and sugseeds to kill Koyama. Then Sakuda runs away with the yaught and Kasai joins Maimi and Yoshida in the jungle. In one of the film's creepiest scenes, Maimi introduces Kasai to the Matango, giant mushroom monsters who were once human but became monsters after they ate the mushrooms. Sakuda dies at sea and the yaught drifts back. Now only Marai and Akiko are left. Akiko attemps suicide and when Marai goes into the jungle to find her, he finds her eating the mushrooms. Suddenly, the Matango attack. He escapes by the skin of his teeth and gets on the yaught. When he arrives in Tokyo, he is condemned in a mental institution. He tells the story from his cell. Then he turns around and it is revealed he is becoming a Matango!
Really creepy. It's scary to watch innocent castaways get lured to the exotic mushrooms. The shock ending is also creepy as can be. The art direction and photography are exellent too. This film has suprisingly grotesque makeup and the scenes involving Kumi Mizuno's character of Maimi are suprisingly sexual.
This was Honda's personal warning against drugs (there is a such thing as mushrooms that cause hallucinations). This had such a fine message that it was banned from Japan by a Hiroshima survivors society. AIP-TV's (or Amerian International Television) version has a terrible grainy 16mm print, is badly dubbed, and has a really silly title: Attack of the Mushroom People, which made it memorable on late-night TV and Creature Double Feature. Some kids saw it and loved it, while other were scared out of their mind, and some saw it on late-night TV and thought it was a dream. This a MUST for any fan of Japanese cinema!

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