So for our first entry to this month’s “Frolicking Under The Sea: Mermaid Fantasy Film Festival – August 2016”, I have for you a review of a 2011 Thai horror comedy that has been just about impossible for this wee kitten to pin down over the years since it first came out, “Gancore Gud” aka “Dead Bite”. Impossible to track down? Ha!! Not for a reeeeaallly determined Catgirl if she’s patient and sets herself to the task…
Our synopsis goes like this: “A Thai Hip-hop group, Gancore Club, traveling to a promotional photo-shoot by ship becomes stranded on reputedly haunted Mermaid Island, run afoul of strange aquatic zombies and the vicious locals who try to hunt them down as sacrifices to their mysterious and sexy island mermaid goddess.”
Ummmm? Crazy Thai Hip-hop guys? Oodles of pretty Thai girls in Bikinis? Killer islanders with butt loads of pointy weapons and a thirst for blood? Mermaids and zombies? All in the same movie? Heck yes!!! Neko is sooooo there! 😉
So. Wanna hear the crazy plot and find out if it’s maybe gonna jump to the top of your “Don’t Miss” list too? Then by now, Gentle Visitor, you know the drill…. 😉
This one came out a few years ago right after the Thais stopped subtitling most of their domestically released DVD’s. 😦 I spent quite a bit of time looking around for the next few years hoping it would pop up somewhere else… Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan… or at least some decent fansubs so I could work my Catgirl Magic on an original disc… but nope. Nada. Dang. I reaaaallly wanted a copy… Still, I never completely stopped looking…. oh, no. Patience is a virtue. 😉
So it was no huge surprise that just this last week it finally made it’s way into my clutches at last. How? Ummmm? Let’s just say we were two ships passing in the night… and “What happens on Youtube stays on Youtube”. At least until somebody removes it…. Hehehehe!! 😉
So what’s it all about, then? Well we get introduced right away to rapper Joey Boy (played by Apisit Opasaimlikit himself) as he answers a phone somewhere in the dark, scattered among the severed bits of his friends. Our movie is mostly a flashback as he recounts the tale of how he ended up in this wet miserably dark place to some incredulous fan-girl over the phone. Originally he and his crew, the hip-hop group Gancore Club began their misadventures by playing some rural gig waaaay out in the sticks somewhere in Thailand. I’m guessing that these guys are somewhat more celebrities in Thailand than the rest of the world, so naturally our film doesn’t waste a lot of time introducing them from a character development standpoint. Not really important, it’s enough to know our guys fill the “Abbott & Costello” roles for our movie as our heroes meet the various monsters and have their wacky adventures.
That rural gig? Well, we get a quick musical number to satisfy the fans, then find out the entire village they just played for are ghosts… Yep, cue the screaming and patented “Scooby-Doo” escape bit. It leaves the gang stranded without pay just in time for their manager to call them up with the offer of what should be a “fun in the sun” romp at sea with a boatload of hot sexy magazine models off to a promotional photo-shoot. How can that go wrong? Yeah… right… 🙂
At sea, our guys romp with the ladies and unwind, we get introduced to a promising young hottie named Bowling (played by Pakjira Wisawawisut) who catches Joey Boy’s eye and who both Carolyn snd I figured would be our film’s obligatory love interest and “damsel in distress”. In any other film, she probably would be… but this one is less a romance and more of a goofy fluffy comedy with monsters. Let’s just say, even as pretty as she is, it would be best not to get tooooo fond of her…. 😉
Ocean hi-jinx only go so far, so it isn’t long before the helpful boatman tells our guys all about picturesque “Mermaid Island”, an exotic lil’ out of the way spot just perfect for the photo-shoot and maybe some party time with our bevy of beach beauties. It’s something no self respecting hard partying music stars can pass up….
Once we arrive we get some nice party scenes to show off our sexy ladies frolicking and playing on the beach checking off another Exploitation film “must have” for all the fanboys in the audience. (And some fangirls too…. my sweet Carolyn certainly enjoyed watching her fair share of pretty Asian girls in bikinis…. At least that explains why she’s wanted us to go to the beach sooooo darn much this month… 😉 ) But then we get down to the gore….
Out of nowhere, a horde of axe-wielding cannibalistic killers rushes out of the forest and begins hacking our group into bloody bits! Musicians and bikini models are really no match for vicious cannibal islanders… trust me. Just about when it looks like our gang is finished, a freak storm comes out of nowhere and then stuff reeeeaaally gets weird. How? Well… from out of the ocean comes a bunch of aquatic flesh eating zombies to start attacking both the local villagers and our unlucky boys & girls. Aquatic zombies? Ummmm… OK. Didn’t see that coming. Other than being sorta “H.P. Lovecraft’s Deep Ones” crossed with the cast of “Dawn of the Dead”, our “sea-zombies” seem to follow all the usual rules for the zombie apocalypse. They bite you, you turn into one of them… Wanna kill them? It’s either smash them in the noggin or chop them to bloody bits. OK… I guess we’re good then.
In the havoc, the gang gets split. Pretty Bowling gets herself eaten by zombies right in front of truly freaked out Joey Boy, rapper “Golf” Sing Neua, a.k.a. Fukking Hero gets bitten and eventually turns into one of the flesh chompin’ zombies, DJ Spidamonkee gets his leg bitten, but survives by having it chopped off so he can spend the rest of our movie milking the comedic possibilities of fleeing the zombie apocalypse like a pirate who’s lost his peg. From this point on. it’s pretty much a story in which our heroes run in spastic terror from one encounter with killer locals to more run-ins with the soggy undead.
Eventually our story kinda takes a moment to explain just what the heck is happening. Seems waaaay back in WW2 the Japanese invaded the island and while they were here they caught themselves a Mermaid. Oh…. yeah…. it seems “Mermaid Island” was really petty aptly named. Anyways…. according to legend, if you eat Mermaid flesh, you gain eternal life. The Japanese try to experiment on this by feeding some to local girl Payee (played by Lakana Wattanawongsiri) who does indeed gain eternal life and beauty, but in her struggles with her captors bites one and guess what? Eating Mermaid meat also gives you some kind of freaky rabies that turns those you bite into flesh eating crazed zombies that have to stay wet or they shrivel up and are destroyed. Hey… who’d have guessed?
75 years later and Payee is now the undisputed eternally beautiful “Goddess” of the island, ruling over the locals, leading them in their cultish worship of the mummified mermaid, and using them to attack any foolish visitors to the island so she can feed her zombie father who hangs out in a jungle pool waiting for his juicy meat snacks. Yep… this lady reeeeaaally holds a grudge.
So then mostly we’re in for an extended plot bit where our guys get split up and run around doing goofy things like eating magic mushrooms, having crazy hallucinations, dealing with the killer locals and plotting an escape to a boat just tantalizingly out of reach off the coast in zombie and shark infested waters. Somewhere along the line, they encounter a Japanese tour guide and his pretty client Miyuki (played by Kumiko Sugaho) who’s Granddad turns out to have been the Japaneses commander on the island back in the day. Naturally she’s here for reasons less than altruistic, but does eventually lead our guys to a cache of old Japanese munitions and stuff to make our big climactic battle scene against the forces of the undead a big bloody success.
Gotta say. This one is a freaky hoot. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but certainly understands that whole “Abbott & Costello Meet the Monsters” vibe I remember from old B&W movies on TV back in the day. I suppose it would have made much more sense if I knew who any of these Thai celebrities actually were, but sadly my knowledge of the Thai Hip-hop music scene is pretty lacking. I must have missed tons of great “in jokes”. Still, this one is a pretty serviceable horror/comedy overall and for the life of me I can’t really understand why it hasn’t made an appearance outside of Thailand in some DVD release or other.
In wrap-up, I give “Gancore Gud” a pretty respectable 3 “Meows” out of 5 for being a fairly nice lil’ offbeat zombie comedy. It’ll never win any awards, but by goodness…. if it actually made it to an English subtitle release somewhere, this wee lady would actually wanna get a copy for the collection. Seriously. (Big… big hint Thailand. I don’t know what idiot actually convinced you to stop subtitling all your domestic DVD’s to facilitate licensing but they are completely wrong minded on that. Domestic Thai DVD licensing to other regions for release would not be threatened by that. Only truly nutty collectors like this lady would ever buy domestic discs directly and then have them shipped to them at nearly the cost of the disc itself. In actuality you are lowering the visibility of your film industry with this practice by preventing the real loyal fans like yours truly from seeing them at all and killing the very internet buzz that would have overseas distributors clamoring to license these for sale in other regions. So… if you want to actually sell your cinema overseas, kinda rethink things. Seriously.)
Well… that’s our first Mermaid fantasy. Neat to get one that also came with zombies… Until next time, “Splish splash and Meow, Meow for now!”
Trailer? Yep… Complete with all the Hip-hop, mermaid zombie bikini madness intact. Enjoy!