Helldriver ヘルドライバー (2011)

Helldriver   Helldriver Film Poster

ヘルドライバー 「Herudoraiba」

Release Date: May 23rd, 2011

Running Time: 117 mins.

Directors: Yoshihiro Nishimura

Writer: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Daichi Nagisa (Screenplay)

Starring: Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina, Yurei Yanagi, Takumi Saito, Kazuki Namioka, Mizuki Kusumi, Yukihide Benny, Asami, Cay Isumi, Maki Mizui,

Splatter film director Yoshihiro Nishimura has one setting: extreme. His creatures designs are extreme. His action scenes are extreme. His use of special effects and blood splashed around on screen is extreme. If you thought that Tokyo Gore Police (2008) and Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl (2009) were extreme, you have seen nothing. Helldriver (2011) is a bone-crunching, head-splitting, and grotesque attempt at a zombie apocalypse epic on a shoestring budget and it is extreme action for its entire near two hour running time for better and for worse.

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Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl 吸血少女対少女フランケン (2009)

Monami (Yukie Kawamura) in Vampire girl vs Frankenstein Girl Yoshihiro Nishimura followed Tokyo Gore Police a year later with Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, a movie based on a manga by Shungiku Uchida and far more accessible than Tokyo Gore Police thanks to its shorter running time and its utter adherence to care-free comedy.

The film takes place around Valentine’s Day in what seems like a typical Tokyo High School. On Valentine’s Day girls give boys chocolate in order to declare their love. Gothic-lolita Keiko (Eri Otoguro) has her sights set on handsome Jyugon Mizushima (Takumi Saito) but he is about to get snatched away by the quiet and devious care-free vampire Monami (Yukie Kawamura) who tricks Mizushima into eating her which is filled with her vampiric blood and turns him into a half-vampire. This sparks a war between the two which reveals that the school and its pupils are far from typical.

Franken-chicks in Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl Anybody suspicious that this whole rival monsters and human love-triangle might be the Japanese Twilight fear not. It loves gore and silliness too much.

Continue reading “Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl 吸血少女対少女フランケン (2009)”

Tokyo Gore Police 東京残酷警察 (2008)

Police Announcer in Tokyo Gore Police

Director Yoshihiro Nishimura has a background in special effects and make up and Tokyo Gore Police shows off his love for these elements.

In near-future Japan the Tokyo Police force have been privatised and have to meet a new threat bringing violence to the streets: Engineers. These are genetically altered humans who can withstand excessive violence and sprout weapons from wounds. Leading the Engineers is the mysterious Keyman (Itsuji Itao). Leading the police fight back is ace Engineer hunter Ruka (Eihi Shiina), daughter of a murdered policeman who was against the privatisation of the police. Little does Ruka know the connection between herself, her father and Keyman but it will rock the foundations of Tokyo and its new police force.

The Privatised Police in Tokyo Gore Police Tokyo Gore Police is a wonderfully trashy film but very undisciplined. The world created is an extreme future where everything including compensated dating, suicide and extreme violence are privatised and made commercial as demonstrated by the numerous satirical ads throughout the film like this amusing wrist-cutting one.

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Audition オーディション (1999)

If you haven’t seen this film or read the book do not read any reviews, just watch the film. Warning: this is a long and rambling review.

The most memorable thing about Audition is the ferocious final thirty minutes which helped to establish the notion of Extreme Asian Cinema in the west and Takashi Miike’s skill for violence and grotesque horror (it also remains memorable because my Japanese teacher is fond of imitating dialogue). What is forgotten is this film showcases Miike’s brilliance when restrained and disciplined by a script with believable characters.

Since the death of his wife Ryoko seven years ago, film producer Aoyama(Ryo Ishibashi) has raised their son Shigehiko alone. The two live a happy life but Shigehiko notices his father looking worn out so asks “why don’t you marry again?” Aoyama is taken with the suggestion but is unsure how to approach remarrying. His friend Yoshikawa, a film producer, suggests staging an audition to find a girl aged between 20-35 for a role in a film that is unlikely to be made. The plan is Aoyama won’t marry the successful girl but the audition will uncover gems. Despite misgivings over the process, Aoyama proceeds and discovers ex-ballerina Asami(Eihi Shiina) and falls for her. After initial contact, she warms to his advances and Aoyama becomes increasingly infatuated with her fragile nature and beauty ignoring the dark side to the girl of his dreams.

The eponymous Audition from the film Continue reading “Audition オーディション (1999)”