The mother of camp, ridiculously strange and a slap in the face of decency, this film, a festival favorite, is on a perpetual speedball rush with highly hammed performances, over the top and unbelievable action sequences with more blood than in Peace Frog by The Doors. However, is it all that bad?
This mega B-flick is only for a select few. The gore-hounds too may get turned off by the overall perverse, grotesque, bizarre treatment of the film and the hyperbolic sequences where wounds or severed limbs (or organs) take shape of deadly weapons; weapons inspired by Cronenberg’s Existence, 1999 and Videodrome, 1983; to name a few.
Director Yoshihiro Nishimura (The ABCs of Death – segment “Z is for Zetsumetsu“, 2012) punctuates his film with faux commercials, which show school girls (straight out of Anime-porn) promoting cute tempered blades and straight razors with customized handles for the cutters, as DSH (self-harm) is a form of bonafide therapy in future Japan. This is a truly sick, twisted and gory adolescent wet dream that somehow came true and took a warped shape on celluloid. This picture thrives on fanboy ancillary, becoming witty when it wants to or when the keen viewer has had enough of mutilations, decapitations, blood & gore, and everything morally wrong that could be packed into 110 minutes. I caught myself laughing at the most absurd imagery, I wasn’t amused, I was sick to the stomach and this is how the brain processed the wickedness being thrown at me, a seasoned film connoisseur (if I may). I guess that was the only way my brain would react to the relentless catalog of desecration and the sacrilegious; the only way it is designed, by conditioning, to react when being contaminated.
The police are privatized, and the police force dons samurai costumes with masquerade masks that are so bad that I felt guilty after watching the crazed police force go completely psycho on the citizens, and enjoying the sequence. The whacky, spoof advertisements and the privatization of The Police is a definitive nod to Paul Verhoven’s, Robocop, 1987, and Total Recall, 1990.
Would you like to know more?”– A recurring line from the news in Total Recall
We can see that Eihi Shiina (Audition, 1999) as Ruka has taken a liking for this niche/cult genre. I mean, there are films with tons of blood and off-the-wall characters like Tadanobu Asano, Kakihara from Ichi the Killer, 2001 who has a wider smile than Joker but that’s alright because Takashi Miike (The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji) turns ultra-violence and gore into thought-provoking if hard-to-watch films; and dare I say, the tales and visuals in films by Takeshi Mike and Chan-wook resemble William Blake’s bleak and satanic body of work, especially Proverbs of Hell.
Conclusion: The So bad that it is good grind-house genre is not new to Japan and once you start watching films like, Machine girl, 2008; Meatball Machine 2005; Mutant Girls Squad, 2010 and other such outrageous Double Features that are simply to make fun of, cringe at, laugh, cringe, “no way“, cringe and have a great time doing it, you will be hooked if you can stomach the first ten minutes.
The special effects are downright awful but the mutations are slimy and truly repulsive, particularly when a woman is on all her amputated-four and dressed like a totally messed up S&M girl. That bit made me think of Gasper Noe and the underground gay club, Rectum from the highly acclaimed and devastating, Irreversible, 2002.
Pay special attention to the bar scene where the prostitutes, with some serious mutations, are being exhibited for the highest bidder; also keep an eye out for the lower torso with a bite impact measuring in tons. My personal favorite sequences.
Oh, my sweet Lord. I still can’t decide if I can go on watching stuff like this (being a sucker for B-films) or stick to the tame (in comparison) Japanese imports, like Gozu, 2003; ‘Suicide Club, 2001‘; Sion Sono’s brilliant, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, 2013; the French, Martyrs, 2008 Frontier(s), 2007 (review coming soon)’ and the wonderful ‘The Midnight Meat Train, 2008‘ with Vinnie Jones? Yup, that’s tame in comparison to this ravaging camp brutality.
Proceed with extreme prejudice.