Judge Maurice Cobbs is never, ever going to the mythical land of Japan.
Two classic monsters. One F****d up movie.
I miss the glory days of weird cinema.
If you're like me, and you've thought to yourself, "Dangit, I wish somebody was out there making oddball movies like you used to find glutting the store shelves during the early days of video rentals," then you know what I'm talking about. Frankly, some of the fondest moments of my youth were spent, wide-eyed, devouring now largely forgotten and scorned films like Eliminators—and really, what's not to like about a movie that has a cyborg, a ninja, a mercenary boat captain, a robot named Spot and Denise Crosby's hair? When big studios started making weird cinema, it all went wrong, didn't it? Is there a single person alive who, for instance, prefers Death Race to Death Race 2000? Heck, not even Troma makes movies like Troma used to anymore—have you seen Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead? Merciful Minerva, whatta load of crap.
Fortunately, thanks to our friends in the wondrous, mythical land of Japan, you can, in the comfort of your own home, watch a film in which a reanimated dead girl gets her legs cut off in a fight, attaches those legs to her head, and uses them as a helicopter, Inspector Gadget style. Lars von Trier can just suck it!
There are some of you who'll remember a surreal, gory, over-the-top Japanese film called Tokyo Gore Police. If you've seen it, you remember it. One's mind does not easily expunge images of blood splattered, samurai sword wielding Japanese schoolgirls and, ah, venus flytrap ladies (if that conjures up an extremely disturbing image, you know exactly what I'm talking about). And maybe, just maybe, you'll recall a similarly surreal comedic gorefest called The Machine Girl, in which a wronged Japanese schoolgirl takes bloody vengeance on those who murdered her brother and chopped off her arm (two words: 'Shrimp tempura.' That is all.). In a marriage made in Japanese pop gore heaven, Yoshihiro Nishimura, director of Tokyo Gore Police, has teamed up with the director of The Machine Girl, Naoyuki Tomomatsu, to deliver a ridiculous, eye-popping, blood-gushing, absurdly subversive assault on the senses. If you're the type of person who grooves on succulently offensive flicks like Bad Taste or over-the-top bloodfests like Sam Raimi used to make before he started giving his audience disco-dancing superheroes, then this blood drenched masterpiece of macabre lunacy should be right up your alley.
The plot, as if it even matters, involves the titular Vampire Girl, sweet and shy Monami (Yukie Kawamura, Hide and Go Kill 2), who woos one of her classmates, Mizushima (Takumi Saito, Space Battleship Yamato), with a gift of chocolate on Valentine's Day in accordance with Japanese tradition. Unfortunately, the spoiled, domineering daughter of the school's science teacher, Keiko (Eri Otoguro, Oneechanbara: The Movie), has already claimed the hapless Jyugon as her own, and the enmity between the girls comes to a head when Keiko accidentally takes a header off the school roof. Thankfully, Keiko's father, who moonlights as a mad scientist in kabuki makeup, has just cracked the secret of reanimating dead flesh, thanks to a little help from the psychotic, oversexed school nurse and a fortuitously obtained sample of Monami's blood. After collecting the parts he needs from the student body (or perhaps I should say, from the students' bodies), he rebuilds and reanimates his daughter, turning her into a human Swiss army knife so that she can go forth and serve up a dish of piping hot whup-ass and reclaim Jyugon for her own.
Buried under the insanity is a gleefully vicious commentary on Japanese society that probably would actually even mean something to you if you lived in the mythical land of Japan; as it is, even some of the more obvious digs at Japanese teen culture, such as holding self-harming schoolgirls up for ridicule and lampooning the so-called "ganguro girls" with wildly exaggerated caricatures, will probably be lost in translation. Still, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl also delivers up some universal themes that every man of every nation can relate to; such as mayhem, murder, Japanese schoolgirls, sexy Asian nurses, cartoony sound effects, and geysers of gushing blood. That's the sort of thing that breaks down racial and national boundaries and could possibly unite the world in sanguine, fetishistic, looney-tunes harmony.
You can't really help but be in awe of the gleeful mania that Nishimura and Tomomatsu use to propel Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl—a kind of raw energy and almost childlike indulgence that's all too rarely seen in American movies. Say whatever else you might about this film, it's positively overflowing with creativity. Sure, some of this—most of this, really—will probably offend and even disgust people, but so what? Who's to say that John Polidori and Mary Shelley wouldn't have come up with something similar to this, if they'd only spent a weekend in a cheap hostel in Tijuana, pickled on tequilia, hopped up on mescaline, and high-fiving each other as they concocted one bizarre, bloody scenario after another?
Not guilty. By reason of insanity.
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