Tag Archives: splatter

Mutant Girls Squad – Review

4 Nov

As I’ve said many times before, I have a soft spot in my heart for over the top B-grade Japanese movies, especially those done by the production company Sushi Typhoon. I’ve already reviewed RoboGeishaTokyo Gore Police, and Machine Girl, and now I’m adding Mutant Girls Squad to the list. This film is directed by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and Tak Sakaguchi. Iguchi and Nishimura have proved themselves with the insanity of the other films, and Sakaguchi has been involved with Sushi Typhoon in the past, so really nothing can go wrong with this movie!

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Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) is an unassuming school girl who gets bullied everyday at school. If only they knew the truth about her. After her parents are brutally killed, she learns that she is actually a mutant that is descended from the ancient Huriko clan and the soldiers who killed her family are part of a faction whose job it is to wipe these mutants out. Rin’s hand turns into a sharp, wired, muscular killing device and she is soon picked up by Kisaragi (played by one of the directors, Tak Sakaguchi) and his right hand woman Rei (Yuko Takayama).  They being training her and a group of other mutant girls to wage war against the humans who hate them and want them dead. At first all seems well, but Rin soon learns how sadistic Kisaragi is. With the help of Rei and fellow mutant Yoshie (Suzuka Morita), Rin wages her own war against Kisaragi and his loyal followers.

There are a lot of similarities to the X-Men movies and comic books, but there is no trace of characters like Wolverine here. This is pure, unadulterated, Japanese schlock and it is so much fun it should be illegal. Yoshihiro Nishimura not only co-directs, but uses his trademark gore effects to really take Mutant Girls Squad to the next level. This is definitely the best looking of the Sushi Typhoon movies, with the exception of maybe their masterpiece, Tokyo Gore Police.

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There’s almost no point in going into depth about the acting. A lot of it is shit, but some of it is so wonderfully ridiculous that you can’t help but love it. Tak Sakaguchi steals the show as the transvestite mutant Kasaragi. He delivers all of his lines with more menace that is really needed, but that’s what makes him a great villain. That and his whole attire is hilarious and cool all at the same time. Along with the acting, it’s easy to dismiss a lot of the writing as shit, but if you do, you just need to learn to laugh. Hearing a guy yell about how weird it feels to have his brain sucked out of his head is too great. If you were being critical, you would say that it is way too much exposition and over written. But come on. It’s Mutant Girls Squad. This out of this world dialogue just adds to how silly the movie is as a whole.

Back to how great this movie looks though. That’s the real draw in my opinion. The world that is created for this movie is splashed with color in ways that would make Dario Argento giddy with excitement. Rooms are filled with reds and purples. Night streets are made green and blue with wonderful uses of gels all around. Finally, the effects of the mutations and the gore are exactly what fans of these films come to expect. Unfortunately, a good deal of the blood and gore is CGI, but when it’s practical it looks even better. It’s such dark fun seeing blood literally geyser out of a severed arm or through the middle of a head split in two!

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Forget Assault Girls. That movie can rot in hell for all I care. Mutant Girls Squad is exactly what you want to watch when you’re in for a good old fashioned Japanese splatter film. The only problem is that it could’ve been shorter. It seems even I can only take the insanity for only so long. I still love this movie though and had a uproarious good time with it. Tokyo Gore Police still reigns as champion, but Mutant Girls Squad holds a close second in the ranks of the Sushi Typhoon movies.

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Helldriver – Review

20 Dec

Never has a movie made me so mentally exhausted. Helldriver is an overload of insanity that invades all of your senses and doesn’t let up for two hours. This is both good and bad. For awhile, the insanity is enjoyable and a laugh riot, but after a while it made me tired and I really just needed a break between scenes just to comprehend what I just saw. I knew going into this movie that it would be nuts, but I got way more than I bargained for.

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After a cosmic cloud of ash blankets half of Japan, multiple reports of zombie hordes take the media by storm until it becomes too much to really control. The infected half of Japan is blocked by a huge wall, and the Prime Minister is fighting to allow zombies basic human rights. Amongst all of the insanity, a small group of “criminals”, led by Kika (Yumiko Hara) and her chainsaw sword, enter into the other side of the wall to find and kill the zombie queen (Eihi Shiina), who just so happens to be Kika’s sadistic mother.

This is a zombie movie unlike any I’ve seen before. These aren’t your typical zombies who just lumber (or run, in some cases) down the road without a clue as to what’s going on. These zombies are pretty intelligent and are killed when the tumor stemming from their heads are destroyed. Oh, and not only that, but people use these tumors as illicit drugs and they also are very flammable. I dare you to name another movie that has anything like that! I’m sure one might exist, but certainly not to my knowledge.

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This film is directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, whose other films include the wonderful Tokyo Gore Police and Machine Girl, a review for another day. These movies are crazy, over the top splatter films that enjoy how ridiculous they are and bask in their own insane glory. I respect that. Watching how crazy these movies get is so much fun. This one… this one takes the cake. It’s a two hour barrage of crazy editing, out of this world and long action sequences sprayed with gallons and gallons and gallons of blood in every frame. I loved the scenes of dialogue, not because they were very good or interesting, but because I needed a break. My mind could not compute everything that was happening.

This sort of spoils the movie in a way. Every movie, no matter how crazy, needs to have some down time.  Even though I was tired after watching this movie, I need to be able to appreciate some of the things that I saw. Every Nishimura has something you never thought you would ever see, kind of like a car made out of pieces of zombies that is used in a prolonged chase scene featuring some of the most laughable CGI I’ve ever seen. This scene in particular wore me out and hurt my eyes.

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I was completely shocked by the audacity of Helldriver. Japanese splatter movies are a guilty pleasure of mine, and this one is certainly no exception. Is this as good as Tokyo Gore Police? No way. That one reigns supreme, but this Helldriver pushed this genre farther than I have seen yet, and for that I enjoyed it. Just be prepared to feel exhausted from the relentless violence, blood, and ridiculousness. I can’t say that you should definitely check this one out, but if  you’re at all interested in the genre than this is an insane trip.

Meatball Machine – Review

30 Nov

I gotta say, Japan is a pretty eccentric place, and I mean that in the best way possible. I know that they have very dramatic and artistic cinematic pieces, but what I’m going to be talking about today is something totally different. I’m talking about Meatball Machine, a film that’s in the same league as the outlandish Tokyo Gore Police. It’s gory, violent, hysterical, strangle romantic, and truly bizarre. That goes without saying, but is it any good?

Freakish and murderous creatures have begun popping up through all of Japan without any rhyme or reason. Some theories say space, but no one is sure. All that is known is that these parasites infect humans and turn their bodies into tools have war to not kill other humans, but other creatures. Yoji (Issei Takahashi) witnesses this first hand after the girl he is enamored with (Aoba Kawai) is infected. Yoji soon learns that the only way to save her is to put her out of her misery, but how?

I don’t even know where to begin. People may criticize this movie all they want, but you have to admit that it sure packs a wallop of imagination in its story and its presentation. The creature effects were designed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, who actually directed Tokyo Gore Police and some other movies whose reviews are to come! While the story is pretty cool, the effects are what steal the show. They look low budget and cheap at times, but they are! Nishimura still did an excellent job with what was available.

 

The thing with this movie is that it felt like it wouldn’t end. This movie isn’t even long, only 92 minutes. The climactic showdown starts off pretty bland, stays bland, then all of the sudden explodes into bloody awesome over the top goodness. I just felt like I had to wait so long to get there. There’s a point in the movie where all of the cool stuff has happened, and all we really want to see is the resolution. This is the weakest part of the movie, and the film makers should have pushed things along.

Everything else is still pretty solid as far as something as ludicrous as this goes. The acting was ok, and the writing was even well done. I feel like I don’t really have too much to say about this movie, which could be a bad thing, but I don’t really think it is. It’s just not really a movie to sit down and nit pick or compliment. It’s a movie to watch when you’re in that weird kind of mood, where a normal narrative with normal situations just won’t suffice.

 

I can’t say that Meatball Machine is a good movie, but I can’t say that it’s a bad movie either. As far as Japanese “splatter” movies go it’s not my favorite, but I can still appreciate it for what it is: an imaginative blood bath into mayhem. I said before, you have to be in a certain mood to watch this movie for it to really be enjoyable. Just have an open mind, know what you’re getting into, and brace yourselves for bloody silliness.