(A) Run away
(B) Call the police
(C) Free her
(D) Fuck her
In Deadgirl (2008), the answer is always (D). When JT and Ricky find the girl in the basement, JT suggests, “We could keep her…just till tonight or tomorrow.” Despite the fact that Ricky’s moral compass has identified this situation as undeniably ‘Not Good,’ he isn’t enough of a man to stand up to his friend. So he leaves his friend and the girl in the basement. See no evil, hear no evil.
The next day, JT convinces Ricky to come back to the basement. And of course Ricky does, because that’s what friends are for. It turns out that – mid-rape – the woman started struggling and tried to bite JT. Obviously, the only thing JT could do in a situation like that is beat her to death. So he did. But she doesn’t die. She was dead all along.
Wild Zero follows the three band members of Guitar Wolf; Guitar Wolf (vocals and guitar), Bass Wolf (bass), and Drum Wolf (you guessed it, drums). This trio are the hottest musicians in rural Asahi-cho and only believe in three things; love, justice, and Rock’n’Roll. Tired of the dirty ways of their evil yakuza business manager, the Captain (played by Inamiya Makoto in a variety of wigs), Guitar Wolf decides to quit and continue their career as independent musicians. Thanks to some accidental help from Ace (Endo Masashi), a young rockabilly and avid Guitar Wolf fan, the band members manage to escape the Captain, but not before robbing him and shooting off two of his fingers. Recognizing that Ace lives by the same Rock’n’Roll code of honor, Guitar Wolf makes him his blood brother and gives him a whistle with instructions to ‘blow it if you ever need help.’ Sure enough, Ace and his love interest Tobio (Shitichai Kwancharu) soon need help from the leather-clad rock stars to battle off a horde of zombies and save Earth from some nasty extraterrestrial invaders.
Tomomatsu Naoyuki’s Zombie Self-Defense Force (Zombi jietai) is one of the most ridiculous genre spoofs out there…and I mean ridiculous in a good way. A UFO crashes in a forest and releases radiation that can reanimate the dead. In close vicinity to the crash are a gang of yakuza and their chinpira lackeys, a photography crew on location to shoot a Japanese idol, and a few members of the Jietai (Japan Self-Defense Force) on a training mission. Pop idol Hitomi, Yuri (Watase Miyu) a female solider who is more than meets the eye, and a few others manage to survive the initial carnage. They band together and take cover in an isolated hotel. Zombie/alien/fetus/ghost/android madness ensues.
But, honestly, the actual plot is inconsequential. What the film lacks in budget and screenwriting it makes up for in some genuinely funny parodies.
Everyone who watches Japanese film knows about Versus. And for good reason, this is an awesome movie. I tend to shy away from movies that are excessively popular. This is because having never been popular myself, I harbor a deep subconscious resentment for all things that become popular. But, in this case, I will grudgingly accept that Versus has earned it’s popularity for good reason.
Written and directed by Kitamura Ryuhei, Versus stars Sakaguchi Tak and Sakaki Hideo in roles that garnered them huge cult status. Versus was so popular that it inspired the 2002 film Alive, starring the two actors in virtually identical roles and also directed by Kitamura.
After spending hours watching atrociously low-budget Japanese zombie films, Versus and the film’s amazingly choreographed action sequences look like works of art. This movie is a full throttle action movie. And, like any good action movie, the main characters are simply too cool for names.
The two main characters – Prisoner KSC2-303 (Sakaguchi Tak) and The Man (Sakaki Hideo) – are trapped in a karmic cycle where every century or two they must fight to the death over the entrance to the 444th Portal (the Japanese equivalent of 666), the power contained within it, and the life of a girl.
Directed by Tomomatsu Naoyuki and based on a novel by Otsuki Kenji, the 2001 film Stacy seems like a pretty good idea – what’s not to love about undead zombie schoolgirls? The film opens with the following narration:
The beginning of the 21st century. Young girls aged 15 to 17 began dying one after another, after all over the world. Even more surprising the dead girls began to reawaken as zombies. I don’t know who coined the term, but they began to call the zombies ‘Stacies.’
This tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the film – for some reason, girls start turning in zombies and it’s up to the fathers or boyfriends of the dearly departed to dismember them (in a oddly precise number of body parts, 165). Thanks to the crackpot research of the bespectacled Dr. Inugami, all the distraught population knows about the outbreak it that girls suffer from ‘Near Death Happiness’ (NDH) before dying and turning into ‘Stacies.’ These Stacies glow blue from a ‘Butterfly Twinkle Powder’ that they secrete when they are exposed to what we might as well call love.
Presumably set in Okinawa, Shiryo-gari (written and directed by Muroga Atsushi) is about an American military experiment on dead bodies that predictably results in a zombie outbreak. The hapless American soldiers enlist the help of Dr. Nakada (played by Kishimoto Yuji), a Japanese scientist who was involved in the original research, to help bring the situation under control. As luck would have it, a group of inept jewelry thieves, led by Jun (Asano Nobuyuki) and Saki (Shimamura Kaori) decide to use the isolated laboratory as a hide-out before the American soldiers can get there to clean up the mess.
Imagine George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead fused with Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this movie is about. However, based on the manga by Hanakuma Yusaku and written and directed by Sato Sakichi (the man responsible for the Ichi the Killer adaptation), Tokyo Zombie is inescapably Japanese.