A plane in flight is notified of a bomb threat called in. Later it's revealed that the bomb threat is a hoax, but the pilots are told to return to the airport. This leads one of the passengers, a man in a white suit, to pull a gun and hijack the plane, demanding that they fly to Okinawa. It turns out that the man in the white suit is an assassin who is trying to make his escape after assassinating the British minister.
The plane heads for Okinawa but the pilots soon see a scary glowing light in the sky. The oncoming light causes the plane to crash. The survivors include: the hijacker; Sugisaka, the co-pilot; Kuzumi, the beautiful stewardess; Mr. Moto, a slimy corrupt politician; Mr. and Mrs. Tokiyasu, an arms dealer and his wife; Momotake, a psychiatrist; an unnamed young man who turns out to have been the one that called in the bomb threat; and Mrs. Neal, an American white lady who was headed to Okinawa to retrieve the remains of her husband, a soldier killed in Vietnam.
The hijacker attempts to make his escape after the plane crash, dragging Kuzumi along as a hostage. But the two of them soon run into an alien spacecraft, and a mysterious gooey blob rips a tear in the hijacker's head and crawls into his skull...
The film is part of The Criterion Collection, as part of Eclipse Series 37.
This film contains examples of:
- Antagonist Title
- Arms Dealer: Tokiyasu, whose company exports weapons and who is very happy about the war in Southeast Asia. He has bribed Moto the politician for a defense contract.
- Asshole Victim: Among the Gokemidoro's victims is a terrorist, a manipulative psychologist, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who sold his wife off to be raped for political connections, and the Corrupt Politician who accepted the executive's deal.
- Big Bad: The Gokemidoro, a body-snatching alien out to exterminate the human race.
- Blob Monster: The Goke, when they are outside of a human host, are gross gooey blobs.
- Coincidental Broadcast: One passenger turns on a transistor radio just in time to hear a news report saying that authorities have no idea where their plane crashed, and have no hope of survivors.
- Corrupt Politician: Moto, a member of the Japanese Senate. Tokiyasu was bribing him with a lot of money for a defense contract. Mrs. Tokiyasu was part of the bribe, which is why Mr. Tokiyasu is strangely unbothered when he finds Moto crawling all over her.
- Creepy Crows: The raven that has landed in the cockpit of the plane almost immediately after it crashed is certainly not a good omen.
- Disc-One Final Boss: For the first twenty minutes, our heroes have to deal with a plane hijacking committed by terrorist Hirofumi Teranka. As soon as they land, body-jumping space vampire the Gokemidoro takes Teranka's body and Big Bad status.
- Disney Villain Death: Dr. Momotake, a psychologist who enjoys putting people in stressful situations, gets in an argument with another survivor, during which he slips and falls off a cliff to his seeming death. He actually survives, only for the Gokemidoro to kill him.
- Downer Ending: The last two survivors escape the alien, only to find the nearby city massacred. As they look up into the skies, the alien invasion force carries, and turns Earth into a blackened husk.
- Dwindling Party: The survivors of the plane crash are offed one at a time, most of them by the creature that has taken over the body of the hijacker.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The Downer Ending. Sugisaka and Kuzumi make the surprisingly short trek from the mountaintop to civilization, only to find a world of the dead, everyone having been killed and drained of blood by the Gokemidoro.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Birds instinctively flee from the Gokemidoro, even when doing so is certain death.
- Flyaway Shot: An extreme version. The camera shows Sugisaka and Kuzumi on a rocky beach, then flies away until they become tiny specks—then flies further away to show the Earth in deep space. This sets up the last shot where the Goke fleet of spaceships arrives to complete the extermination of the human race.
- Flying Saucer: The Gokemidoro flies around in a flying saucer that glows orange.
- For Science!: Momotake the psychiatrist and academic is only too eager to chuck the young man with the bomb outside of the plane, just to see what happens when the possessed hijacker gets to him.
- Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell
- Greater-Scope Villain: There are more Gokemidoro, with the one we see only being one of a massive invasion force. They show up at the end to destroy the Earth.
- The Hero Dies: Sugisaka is blown up with the rest of humanity by the aliens.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Mrs. Neal pulls the trigger on the rifle several times, aiming at the hijacker who is maybe six feet away. She misses completely, although since the hijacker is now basically a flesh suit possessed by one of the Goke, it probably doesn't make a difference.
- Kill All Humans: The Gokemidoro has decided to annihilate all of humanity.
- Kill It with Fire: Sugisaka eventually defeats the hijacker by dousing him with gasoline and throwing a lighter—except that it doesn't really work, as the Goke blob simply evacuates its meat puppet, leaving the hijacker's corpse behind to burn.
- Long Title: Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell
- No Body Left Behind: The Gokemidoro's hosts crumble to dust when abandoned.
- Our Vampires Are Different: These are aliens that possess humans to drink blood. When they aren't in a host, they resemble blue, pulsating slime.
- Psycho Psychologist: One of the plane crash survivors is a psychologist who enjoys putting people in terrible situations to see how humans react to them.
- Puppeteer Parasite: The main antagonists are a bunch of alien invaders who possess bodies to drink blood.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: The pilots are weirded out when the sky they are flying through becomes an apocalyptic blood red. This is of course the first sign of the coming of the aliens.
- Significant Background Event: Mrs. Tokiyasu frantically struggles in the background with the hijacker/alien creature while Mrs. Neal and Kuzumi the stewardess lounge in seats in the foreground.
- Troll: The film starts with the co-pilot and a flight attendant checking the plane's bags for a bomb, which is soon revealed to not exist. A passenger called it the threat to the police as a joke. (Left unexplained is why he called in this threat to the plane he was on.)
- Villain in a White Suit: The hijacker is dressed in an all-white suit. That's creepy enough when he is a gun-toting hijacker, but even more creepy when he's possessed by the Goke and becomes a zombie vampire.