Zombie Self-Defence Force
Release Date: April 23rd, 2006
Running Time: 75 mins.
Director: Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Writer: Naoyuki Tomomatsu, Chisato Ogawara (Screenplay),
Starring: Mihiro, Kenji Arai, Masayuki Hase, Norman England, Yu Machimura, Eriko Nagamine, Miyu Watase, Kiyo Yoshizawa,
Self Defence Force comes from the writer/director duo of Naoyuki Tomomatsu and Chisato Ogawara who have made lots of erotic/crime/horror movies like Rape Zombie, Maidroid, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, and Bounty Hunter Vixens. This is a knowingly funny low-budget horror film, and much safer than those raunchy titles, as it goes at everything with a gleeful sense of humour that is similar to Evil Dead II.
The story begins with a platoon of soldiers who are on a training mission in a forest near Mount Fuji. Also in the forest is a pop idol named Hitomi and her film crew, and in another part are three yakuza, one of whom is going to be executed. Things go crazy when a UFO crash lands nearby and looses a wave of radiation which causes the dead to spring back to life. Everybody in the forest gets attacked by a wave of zombies that emerge from the ground and they flee, heading to an inn where they take shelter as they come under siege.
This simple plot is a firm foundation for fun as the campy acting and the low-budget special effects and deliberately cheesy music and sound-effects are used with glee. Everything has a deliberately kitschy element to it which makes things fun.
The script and editing keeps Zombie Self Defence Force pacey as it jumps between different groups of characters who eventually converge and split up again as they are assaulted by the undead. The film doesn’t miss a beat as it drives deep into clichés and jokes while it barrels towards a whacky ending. If you think the joke stops with zombies then let me assure you that it goes into hyperdrive when we find out that one of the characters is a robot and an epic zombie vs robot sword fight crowns this wonderfully cracked tale.
Director Naoyuki Tomomatsu plays the silliness up at all times with a soundtrack lifted from a stereotypical b-movie and many sound-effects such as a wooshing sound every time a character shoots a look at the camera and the incessant sound of guns being cocked whenever a character waves one around. As the film reaches its hysterical climax, he throws everything at the screen so it becomes over the top and fun to watch, just missing the highs of Sushi Typhoon!
In terms of visuals there’s a lot to enjoy from the silly sight gags like the zombie foetus attack and more for hardened horror who will see shots, scenes, and special effects and humour that reference classic horror cinema.
The film starts out with the crashing flying saucer (done in really poor CG) which comes straight from John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and the references continue throughout with classics like Night of the Living Dead and the Evil Dead series. The physical effects are better than other low-budget films like Big Tits Zombie and Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead. Some of the zombies that are here could have graced Zombie Flesh Eaters, showing up here looking magnificently decayed and varied from housewives and old men caught on the golf course. The most entertaining zombies are members of the idol’s posse who cling on to their cameras and hairsprays and still use them while shambling forward with the mass of zed-heads. Multiple limbs and heads get chopped off and munched and there’s even an intestine eating scene straight from Day of the Dead. The highlight, however, has to be a five minute sequence involving a psychotic zombie foetus that tears around after the characters, cackling with glee.
I really liked the film although I suspect it’s because I am a horror film fan. Maybe those less tolerant of b-movies and horror flicks will be bored but I saw the affection that went into making this film and enjoyed it. The low-budget nature of Zombie Self Defence Force, the earnest story and the way the local population of where they shot seem to have been asked to participate reminded that this could be the film being made in The Woodsman & the Rain. Following on from last week’s pink film Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead, the film was a treat.