Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dazzling the stage!

Helldriver is the kind of movie where, while choking her daughter to death, a woman gets a hole blown clean through her chest by a meteor, and then without missing a beat, she rips out her daughter's heart and sticks it in the smoking cavity, where her other organs start healing around it.

As you may have guessed by the fact that I'm bothering to post about it, this is another one by B-movie hero Yoshihiro Nishimura (writing and directing this time), so that happens about ten minutes in, and is pretty much the tip of the iceberg of insane special effects and high-pressure fake blood antics that I'd be screencapping like mad if I hadn't just come back from a festival screening. As usual, conventional reviewing techniques are useless against him, but this is another one deep in the "deliberately ridiculous" zone, and actually relatively restrained in terms of gore effects per se; of course, "restrained" by Nishimura standards means "when zombies get chopped into bits you usually don't see recognizable organs".

The crazy SFX is much more constant than his last two projects; in fact, there's so much craziness going on in this one that it became a bit overwhelming by the end. That's kind of all there is in this one though; the lead character is a leaden cipher (I think she only has like ten lines of dialogue, and nowhere near the screen presence to pull it off), and there isn't so much a plot as a collection of chainsaw fights, zombie dance clubs, Imperial Japan imagery, Verhoevenesque public service announcements, dozens of ways to contextually translate "-chan", and possibly the coldest open I have ever seen. I'm still waiting for another one of these movies to have the same level of overall craft as Tokyo Gore Police (come on, Mutant Girls Squad), but I'd rank Helldriver above the faintly disappointing Robogeisha and Vampire Girl. It hits home video next month, so if this sounds like your brand of cheap thrills, buckle up.