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Even these tapes cost something

  In The Aftermath - Angels Never Sleep
 
1987 | New World Pictures
In the aftermath new world video

Many thanks to Eightman for recommending this obscure relic.
Roger Corman Vs. Mamoru Oshii!
B-Movie meets anime masterpiece! In the words of the sleeve synopsis: "... a compelling vision of man's worst nightmare, mixing live action and animation in the great tradition of
PINK FLOYDS- THE WALL..."

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In a dark and shadowy gothic town a young girl spends her days collecting water in large glass jugs carrying with her a large egg which she protects from harm. She meets with a man who carries with him a large cross. The two rarely speak, only asking "Who are you?"

One night the girl leaves the egg unprotected while she sleeps and, using his cross, the man breaks it open only to find nothing inside. Waking to find her precious egg destroyed the girl throws herself from a cliff and drowns, her dying breath turning from bubbles into hundreds more eggs, which float to the surface.

Tenshi no Tamago (Angel's Egg) was conceived and directed by Mamoru Oshii well known for his fascination with spirituality and christianity. The film is dream-like, surreal, virtually plotless, and with almost no dialog and it has been suggested it was written as a stream-of-conscieness experiment. All of Oshiis work carries symbolism but this was by far his most symbolic movie yet, heavily laden with references to Christian iconography and bible passages, most overtly the christ like figure of 'Man' who carries a large crucifix like object on his back at all times and has bandaged palms. The director himself has claimed in interviews to not know what the movie means.

Co-writer and character designer on the feature was Yoshitaka Amano who had first met Oshii during their time at Studio Pierrot in the early 80s. Amano is very well known for his design work on the original Vampire Hunter D movie as well as his artwork for the first six Final Fantasy games. Originally Oshii envisioned a light and cartoonish fantasy look for the story but changed his mind after seeing Amano's gothic artwork. A collection of his designs was released to coincide with the movie.

Tenshi no Tamago was released as an OAV in December 1985 by Tokuma Shoten, at the time one of Japan's largest entertainment publishers, and was produced by Toshio Suzuki, one of the founders of Studio Ghibli. It follows on directly from Mamoru Oshii's previous directorial roles on the first two Urusei Yatsura movies, Only You and Beautiful Dreamer, and Dallos a video renowned creating the OAV market. Since then Oshii has made many hit movies popular in the West including both Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor features, all of which continue to explore his love of symbolism.

While it isn't the most commercial movie, there were a number of tie-ins including a guide book, a collection of story boards and several other publications focused on the art and design. Tenshi no Tamago was released on VHS and LaserDisc in the eighties by Animage Video and, more recently, has had two DVD releases the first from Pioneer LDC in 2001 and later in 2007 as part of a Tokuma Anime collection. The soundtrack, by Yoshihiro Kanno, is also available on CD.

Tenshi no Tamago has never received a full, unedited release in the West. In 2000 Anchor Bay announced that they had plans to secure the rights for a US DVD release but by September 2002 those plans were cancelled sighting an issue with the rights. The movie has been shown on TV in Australia under the title Egg of God but, to my knowledge, has never been available on video.

In 1987 New World Pictures released a film titled In The Aftermath: Angels Never Sleep. Almost fitting into the bracket of 'art movie', In the Aftermath depicts a devastated planet, presumably the result of Nuclear war although the cause is never made clear, where the air is too polluted to breath and human survivors are scarce. A young angel girl named Angel watches the world below, taking particular interest in Frank, a soldier roaming the wastelands in search of safe supplies. Angel has been tasked, by her brother Jonathan with finding someone worthy of receiving her egg which contains mysterious powers not even she understands.

In The Aftermath was Carl Colpaert's first time role as director. Born in Holland, he started out working in Post Production for Roger Corman, New World Pictures founder, before earning his break on this movie. Colpaert later co-founded his own company in 1990 called Cineville, an Independent Production house. Filmed in the Southern Californian town of Fontana, with the exception of leading man Tony Markes none of the actors in the movie had worked before or since. Markes himself only had roles like 'Muscle Man', 'Man on the Beach, 'Bar Patron #1' etc to his name although he had worked in a number of other roles including casting.

So, what makes this low budget B-Movie of interest to the Anime Bargain Bin? This movie contains excerpts from Tenshi no Tamago.

At some point in the late eighties New World Pictures licensed Mamoru Oshii's movie from Tokuma Shoten and built this live action movie around it. Director Colpaert also wrote the story which adds a constant narration from Angel as well as several conversions between Girl and Man, in this version her brother. The bible-style passage concerning the giant fish is somewhat translated but mostly the events of the original are lost, re-edited to fit the new movie's storyline.

New World Picture's In The Aftermath went straight-to-video in the UK in 1988 and didn't see a US VHS release until 1994. Both were on New World's own label.

 

 
Angels Egg OST Angels Egg Japanese DVD   Angels Egg Art Book
Tenshi no Tamago LaserDisc
 
Tenshi no Tamago DVD
 
The USA VHS
 
At last, a rental tape with some trailers. This is something I've always looked forward to, especially with B-Movies.
What kind of derivative, unknown dross had New World got to peddle back in 1987?
First up... 18 Again! (IMDB 5.0/10 - 1,085 votes). One of lesser known films from the short lived "body swap" craze of the late eighties (think Big and Visa Versa). Charlie Schlatter (Steve Guttenberg in Police Academy 7, Chachi in Diagnosis Murder - 22 playing 18) has his body invaded by his grandfather George Burns (92 playing 81) and it's laughs all the way! You'll believe a young man would dress old! Have you ever seen an eighteen year old play bowls? You have now! George Burns' material, Charlie Schlatter's delivery - comedy gold! Plus Pauly Shore's in it too! 18 Again!
More comedy next in The Wrong Guys (IMDB 4.1 - 276 votes). A middle aged chubby loser who still lives with his mum decides to have "25th reunion" with his old buddies out in the woods. Slap-stick wilderness shenanigans ensue until the goofy gang run fowl of John Goodman, a "confused psycho", who becomes determined to kill the wacky bunch because he thinks they're FBI agents (well, with John Munch in the gang it's easy to see why). First squirrels, and red neck sex maniac bikers now Dan from Roseanne with an Uzi! Can things get any crazier?! In my opinion, any film that spoofs a Chuck Norris movie is aiming too low from the start but when whole trailer is set to a knock-off theme from The Great Escape you know you're in for a treat. What's next? The Wrong Guys
Three males "two big, one fairly small" have escaped from a high security prison and are headed for the mountains. Only one man can stop them... a naked, bearded man... of average build, with a girl's name. Who is this unremarkable hero? Jesse Hawks! Hi-octane, low budget, mountain based action or as the voice over states "... a one-on-one battle between arch enemies starring Robert Conrad" (that's right the Robert Conrad). High Mountain Rangers (IMDB 6.8 - 58 votes). High Mountain Rangers

After a long, mostly silent credit sequence the film begins with animation, the longest in the film. A giant eye sinks behind a bizarre landscape. It is encrusted with stone statues of people who appear to be clutching eggs in front of them. The light of this weird spectacle awakens a small girl who crawls from her bed dragging back the covers to reveal a large egg. From the top of a tall staircase she watches in a stunned silence.

in the aftermath tenshi no tamago angels egg

She dashes out into the Victorian cobbled street and is met by a strange contraption which is slowly rumbling across her path. It looks sort of like a giant tank track but closer inspection reveals it to be a convoy of avant garde buses. A man climbs out from this crazy mass transit system, the young girl's narration introduces him as her brother. "I wonder if he's ever carried an egg!" muses the nine year old.

in the aftermath tenshi no tamago angels egg

After a silent stand-off the girl, Angel, runs away to a nearby alley way and yells to her brother "I won't do it!" But, as she predicts he is not interested in excuses, explaining "... it is time for you to run. Run through the many rooms of this constellation you are standing in." This looks like it's gonna be deep stuff, right? We've only just begun. These witterings are just the tip of the meaningless, mumbo jumbo iceberg!

He continues to tell his sister of her quest. It has something to do with saving some "creatures" and "the lair they live in". When Angel questions the purpose of this quest his reply is suitably cryptic (in other words contrived) "But it is the duty of all angels to be angels. Angel we do fly in the face of all peril." (and good scripting). Angel is sent away to nurture her egg and to decide which creatures are deserving of her energy. Without further talk the little girl runs off down the gloomy street clutching the precious egg. Feathers float out from her as she runs and one is seen to settle on the ground...

in the aftermath tenshi no tamago angels egg
in the aftermath tenshi no tamago angels egg

... where it transforms into a real feather (well it cross-fades with a well placed replica). We now meet the human star of the movie Frank, along with his buddy Goose, who just happens to be English, cor blimey mate! The pair wander around a barren landscape in protective radiation suits, talking and singing an annoying song, while a wind machine blows up dust clouds and an electronic throb, similar to a nagging headache, loops in the background. They stand silently in front of collapsed smoke stacks, crumbling factory buildings and all manner of sundry industrial type constructions all of which make for fascinating viewing. Inside an abandoned factory Goose thinks he's found water dripping from a pipe but on closer inspection it's acid. Lucky Frank brought him along. Goose then wanders off and stops responding to Franks calls for whole seconds. This panics Frank, prompting him to whip out his toy rifle. Don't worry, nothing happened to Goose he's just on the catwalk above him, doing a pirate voice. It must be hard to pass the time in the apocalypse, as the following joke proves:

Goose: "I know I didn't scare the piss out of you."

Frank: "Yeah? What makes you so sure?"

Goose: "'Cause I 'aven't pissed for days!"

Remember, this is the only company Frank has... no wonder he spends all his time searching the landscape.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

Next the charismatic pair shuffle past a decidedly fresh looking corpse and into an empty site office. They split up so as to more effectively saunter around the place in silence. Frank finds another recently deceased laying on a desk. He switches on a desk lamp. It lights up the corpse's face. He switches it off again. It begs the question "What did he expect?"

Next he takes a magazine from the dead clutches of an actor trying his hardest not to breathe. Its a centre fold of a surfer. Fancy that! He gives the magazine back. The magazine slips onto the floor. With all the excitement exhausted in this one room he heads into the next. Spending more time than you'd think necessary Frank stares at some discarded oxygen canisters. A voice rudely interrupts his quiet reflection. It belongs to an unhinged man lurking in the corner. This new friend takes an interest in Frank's air supply. Hearing that he has six days of clean air he remarks "I could kill for six days of... pure oxygen!" Realising he just said his plan out loud he insists it was just a figure of speech but Frank's not so sure.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

Backing nervously away Frank hurts the stranger's feelings and soon this small misunderstanding escalates into an all-out, full scale scuffle. The lunatic chases Frank brandishing a futuristic spear he's found lying around the factory office, at one point throwing it in such a heart stoppingly exciting way that the only way to do it justice is in silhouette - and slow motion! He misses. Things look bad when our hero Frank is cornered in the showers! The two men struggle in silence for minutes before Psycho Solider eventually wins. Frank is roughly stripped of his protective suit while the camera man sheepishly backs out of the room, wanting nothing to do with what is about to transpire.

in the aftermath angels egg

Outside in the glorious wasteland, Goose is trying to look busy with some sundry industrial container when his old pal 'Frank' comes storming over. When 'Frank' doesn't reply to his questions Goose becomes suspicious. "Gimme your bah pah!" the imposter demands. The English man realises that this isn't his buddy but it's too late. Goose is gunned down (to a PG level) and is clumsily robbed of his air supply. Psycho Solider wanders off into the wilderness and out of the movie while Frank stumbles out, unprotected to find his friend dead and that nagging electric throb back.

in the aftermath angels egg

"There weren't many creature left with breath... and this one looked dangerous and fiendish and beastly strong to me." comments Angel, in the first of her tiresomely wordy narratives.

Observing Frank's reaction to his companions death she sees a "spark" which she had never seen before in man. I must have missed that. Just looked like a load of fake coughing to me. He drags Goose to a suitably arty final resting place - in front of light spilling through a slowly turning fan. (Personally, when I go, I'd prefer to be propped up in front of one of those crying French clown paintings - it's just slightly more eighties.) A bright light shocks Frank. It's coming from a cartoon girl in the corner! And suddenly she becomes real! Ol' Frankie stumbles after her as she runs away but soon all this excitement gets to him and he collapses. Watching this movie could have the same effect on the audience, such is the pace.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

Anime time again and some uneventful scenes get cobbled together with no real connection. Angel collects water, wanders around empty streets, drinks water and, unfortunately narrates, all while a new-age xylophone plays listlessly in the background. Some of her deep ponderings include:

"It was as though I stepped through a tiny door and on the other side was a vast galaxy of gray..."

and the third best line of the movie...

"I felt I was the only one present... at a carnival of ghosts."

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

3 minutes of meaningless animated padding later and Frank awakes in a hospital operating room, his injuries bandaged. Climbing out of bed he tries the door but finds it locked. Outside he can't see anyone, only an old piano. What's an old piano doing in a hospital, you ask? Surely that won't be important later on. After another brief animation break, Frank receives a visitor, dressed in a radiation suit carrying a large jar of water. Is it Angel, or Jonathan or the evil Psycho Soldier? No it's Dr Sarah. A brief, hushed conversion follows, but nothing important is revealed. You'd think possibly the last two people on Earth would be more excited to meet.

Back in cartoon world Angel leads her brother Jonathan to a place of fossils and Jonathan tells her a tale about Tazuria. He was a planetary traveler who saw many great things but didn't dare share them with anyone. One day an evil man got Tazuria drunk and stole his map, heading straight for the planet of flying fish and he snared the lot. According to Johnny "If you put your ear to the heavens and listen for the sound of a man crying, that is Tazuria sitting alone... on a planet, with no fish..." That really makes you think.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

In the real world, Frank sketches a fairly lame western interpretation of Angel on the white board (most people would just draw a wiener) which she interprets as a sign of hope but her brother cautions that he might be a doodler (could you imagine!) "... or maybe the Devil sketching a scheme. I truly hoped he wasn't." But what might happen if she's wrong? According to Jonathan it would involve men flooding the streets attempting to harpoon the shadows of fish that swim along the walls. That could be considered a tenuous link to shoehorn in a long chunk of animation, if it were actually a link at all!

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

After the cartoon shadow whaling, abruptly we're back with Frank and Dr Sarah (it seems even these film makers couldn't find a way to bridge that gap). The pair sit down for a nice candle lit meal of gray slop and black water. Sarah notices Frank's unusual whiteboard art and asks him who it is. He says he thinks he saw her running around outside with a giant egg in her hands... It's ok, 'cause if you say "I know it sounds crazy!" afterwards people won't doubt you.

"There's no way I could go back out there and risk finding her... right?" he continues. Sarah agrees and could be starting to have second thoughts about her new room mate. The two sit uncomfortably for a while until Frank announces that he's got something for her. This could be about to get a whole lot more uncomfortable. He puts on a gas mask and leaves the room. At one of the windows Sarah watches as he wheels the old piano over.

in the aftermath

What follows is the only part of the movie most people have good memories of. Frank plays while an ill-matched mish-mash of animation and second unit footage collides together in an attempt to match the vivid visual style of the source material. The actual result is a meaningless three minute music video of unrelated clips of trees, clouds, grass and a girl (probably Dr Sarah) spinning around in a field like an out-patient whose lost her pills. There are also intermittent flashes of her being, shall we say, 'romanced' (to a PG level) by Frank against a backdrop of soft focus candle flames, which seems more like an excuse for the director to film some extra sexy footage for his own private collection.

I should point out that it is not the visuals or editing that people remember but the music Frank is playing. It's a very catchy tune called Carnavalito Tango by a Argentinean pianist called Horacio Moskovici. Frank notices that Sarah has left the window and the music stops abruptly, as if someone paused the cassette. Maybe the room is sound proof and she got bored waiting for him to realise. No, she just felt a little dizzy. Sarah remarks that they can't live in this one room forever.

Meanwhile, in Angel's Egg...

"Well, this was the beginning of a tragic part of my life. When sleep had crept up and mugged me."

This section of footage is taken from the end of the original movie, I think. Jonathan carries his sleeping sister ("It was a velvet sleep. More pleasant than looking wide eyed at galactic forces", it is claimed) and places her in bed. Apparently she could have drowned had her brother not carried her to safety but there isn't much evidence of this, apart from recycled clips of rain puddles and water fountains.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

While she sleeps Jonathan takes her egg and shatters it with his cross. When she wakes, Angel is alone and broken shell is all that remains of her precious egg, but no yoke or albumen. Her scream wakes Frank who finds his ropey drawing has changed to a different more accurate image. Angel runs to her brother to seek forgiveness for her negligence (or should that be egg-ligence? No, I was right the first time). What follows is the greatest line in this already heavily laden script.

"Oh, my brother... he was lenient. He should have spanked me with asteroids!"

Jonathan already knows of her predicament. Well, he would do, he smashed it. Or did he? He produces the egg from under his cloak commenting, "Angel, you are the fairy of second chances and you failed." Don't despair, he is a fairy of second chances too and he hands back his sister's egg, fully intact. You can't even see the cracks.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

It's gas mask and boiler suit time again as Frank ventures out into the apocalypse in search of real-life Angel, which redeems him in the cartoon girl's drawn-on eyes. For some reason his rescue plan involves walking over to the spot where Goose was killed and banging the concrete walls with a discarded iron bar. How this reverberating metallic clang is supposed to attract a lost nine year old is anyone's guess. He is one of the last human survivors so, like Jonathan, I'm willing to be lenient.

When this doesn't work instantly he throws the rod into the distance and sits down. It's really not much of a plan. He's clearly never lost his kids in a busy supermarket. Hitting a display freezer with a French loaf is gonna attract security, not little Timmy. Fortunately Angel was passing by and, thanks to advanced film making techniques (Ok another brief fade) she appears in the real world.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

"I've been looking all over for you." Frank lies, nonchalantly through his gas mask. "Would you like some oxygen?" Remember kids, if a stranger offers you oxygen just say no, and run home as fast as you can. Never accept oxygen from strangers. The little girl, after some creaky conversation, passes Frank a plaster egg which she assures him is the solution to his problems. Then she disappears. well, walks off screen. Frank does what he does best. He goes for a walk.

Dr Sarah rushes over to join him and together they gaze in wonder at what the art department (or a local junior school) has produced for them. In the 'angel realm' Jonathan parts ways with his sister and urges her to "take flight". The nine year old interprets this to mean "go jump off a cliff". It's odd how her clothes changed between shots, don't you think?

Angel plummets towards the water and her reflection is that of her adult self. As the two meet at the water's surface they appear to kiss momentarily before the, now fully grown Angel sinks into the darkness and begins to struggle. Her dying breath races upwards in a collection of thousands of bubbles. The bubbles break the surface having transformed into individual eggs. Jonathan watches from the shore as white feathers float up around him. On the horizon the giant, statue encrusted eye, bursts from the sea and rises up into the sky. Centre most of the stone figures is Angel clutching her egg. Once more a single feather breaks the wall between animation and live action, falling into the B-Movie at the feet of our starving actors.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

The time has come to do something with that plaster egg. Through some low-fi special effects, the sky turns red. Then the egg begins to glow! Maybe it's about to hatch! Rather than a vile human-seabird hybrid, the egg gives life to a naff blue ball of light. It shoots into the red sky and to the delight of our day-job thespians the darkness is lifted and blue returns. Returns a bit too strong in my opinion. Dr Sarah is the first to discard her mask, realising that the atmosphere has been miraculously cleared and they can breathe free once more. The world is still barren and deserted and incapable of sustaining life but at least they can breathe. Sure, they'll still have to step over rotten corpses but now they can live out a meager existence in a dusty wasteland without the cumbersome burden of gas masks and boiler suits.

in the aftermath angels egg tenshi no tamago

The film draws to a close with an embryo growing inside a translucent egg on a stalk from the ground. What does it all mean? That they ran out of acting bits.

  angels egg  

Finally the credits begin, accompanied by a longer, but not complete, Carnavalito Tango. You can tell a film's quality when the most requested scene is closing credits.

 
Missing videos Missing videos

"In the great tradition of
Pink Floyd's- The Wall"

Watch as the worlds of live-action and animation blend so seamlessly.

Frank's Piano Concerto
Experience for yourself the visual wonder and the music's not bad either.

 
Very unusual
 
Integrates well
  Good score
 
Not much going on
 
You're better off with the original
  Naff script

This should have been boring. This should have been really boring. Two people endlessly wandering some dusty Californian waste ground having conversions from behind gas masks, and none of it making any sense. Yet, some how it wasn't. Maybe it was the low budget charm. Or the low-fi but somewhat effective integration of actors and animation. I'm sure a large part of it was the naff-as-hell otherworldly dialog that seemed to have been lifted directly from some high school goth's secret poetry book ("spanked me with asteroids" will stay with me for quite a while).

But, I have to wonder why they bothered in the first place. After all, they already had Angel's Egg why not just release that. I suppose a subtitled ethereal cartoon won't get as many rentals as a movie that claims to be a horrifying post apocalypse thriller (although the UK PG rating somewhat deflates these claims). Another thing I find strange is that the film is barely over an hour long, even with all the padding. Tenshi no Tamago is 80 minutes long yet only 28 minutes of In the Aftermath is animation - and some of that is reused. So long as you make it past the hour mark that's good enough I guess.

I'll admit I had preconceptions of this film. Considering this came from the studio responsible for 'Raptor' which was just several of their earlier Carnosaur movies cut together with some added Eric Roberts, it could have been much worse. Of course you'll get the outraged fans claiming In the Aftermath desecrates a anime masterpiece but it's really not that bad. Worth a look for B-Movie aficionados.

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