I've been waiting years and years for 3 of the 4 of these films to be released domestically. Now, not only has that happened, it's via Criterion, the films are NOT dubbed (hooray) and THEY LOOK ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.
LIVING SKELETON in particular benefits SO much from the treatment here. My goodness... the black-&-white cinematography is GORGEOUS. I'd only seen a 4th generation video of it. Once. And while that whet my appetite it in no way prepared me for this. Mind you, the stunning, restored, crisp print showcases the less-than-stunning, rubber and plastic skeletons and bats which appear throughout the movie. However, the whole film is so, so like a sleepwalking trance, that the very Japanese fantasy elements, which are still, on one level, laughable, are, in my opinion, forgiveable. Wacky, dream-logic maze of strangeness and self-destruction. And the lead actress is HAUNTINGLY beautiful.
GENOCIDE, too, looks marvelous and captivates despite its curious tone, banal message and at times questionable execution. I think it will take only 5 minutes of viewing to see if you will find yourself along for the ride or not. NOTE- I had a hard time with the presentation of the only black character in this film. To be specific, at times it was cringe-inducing, and, at the least- jarring. Is it just over-acting in trying to portray paranoid drug addiction, or are there distasteful subtexts here and to a lesser degree with the allegedly Eastern European Blonde? Also, and this applies to at least two of the other films, non-Japanese actors appear to be speaking in English but were post-dubbed into Japanese. I actually preferred this to the alternative, but, it was a bit distracting during crucial, close-up monologues.
Words cannot adequately describe GOKE. It left me speechless and impressed. To be a bit crude-but-concise- this one piles one WTF? visual on top of another and hardly ever lets up.
X is fun. Love that groovy music. Incredibly light and the spectacle of the so-ridiculous-its-fascinating monster coughing and stomping and smashing about. Bright and kooky and swinging.
ALL of the films here also SOUND great. This is important. The odd music and eerie sound effects and voices are nearly as important as the mind-bending visuals. The despondent harmonica and crying ghosts of SKELETON. The wacky guitars and themes in the others.
Now, VERY IMPORTANT here. The whole idea of these ECLIPSE sets are making obscure, related films available, beautiful and restored to original language tracks with subtitles. THERE ARE NO EXTRAS HERE. That's what makes it about $10 or less per disc. If you want discussion, each film has LOTS of online attention from film scholars.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as long as you leave any expectations of logical narrative at the door.