Original title: Kyûketsu Shôjo tai Shôjo Furanken
Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Starring: Yukie Kawamura, Takumi Saito, Eri Otoguro, Eihi Shiina
Following the worldwide success of his previous film Tokyo Gore Police, fans of director Yoshihiro Nishimura were eager to see what he would come up with next ...
Would he use his new-found fame to obtain better funding and elevate his creative vision to the next level? Would he take the opportunity to work with a more substantial plot and delve deeper into the quirks of Japanese society? Would he, in short, transcend his low-budget splatter origins to deliver something more ... intelligent?
Fuck no. With a title like Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl - you know this is going to be B-grade schlock all the way.
And while we might have hoped for more plot, more budget, and more depth - what we have instead is simply more of the same. Which is not necessarily a bad thing when you're creating some of the most outrageously twisted movies in film today.
Fans of the ludicrously warped end of Japanese splatter cinema, and in-particular Nishimura's signature style, will no doubt find much to love here. After all, where else could you see a vampiric schoolgirl suck the face (literally) off a frankensteined classmate, headbutt the fleshless skull clean off her shoulders - and with uncanny aim, have said skull vampirized mid-air and land directly on the face of another poor schoolgirl to repeat the process?
With an extremely high WTF factor, you won't see anything quite like this anywhere else. For those of you twisted enough to love this type of lurid spectacle, sit back and let the insanity (and blood), wash over you.
The story takes place at Tokyo High School, in a classroom replete with iconic Japanese teen fashion cliches - the Gothic Lolitas, the Ganguro girls, and of course the wrist-cutters. All of which are exaggerated to the point of extreme parody. Especially the Ganguro girls, one of which has taken tanning to the next level by wearing negroid facial prosthetics as part of her daily 'outfit'. Another Ganguro even has an African lip plate. And if you've seen Tokyo Gore Police then you can guess what the wrist-cutters are up to!
The story begins on Valentine's Day, and in Japan the custom is for girls to give chocolate to the guys they like. (On March 14, guys return the favor). Monami (J-idol Yukie Kawamura) has just transferred to the class, and has decided to give chocolate to the class hunk Mizushima (Takumi Saito). The problem is that the leader of the Gothic Lolita clique, Keiko (Eri Otoguro) has already decided Mizushima is "her" boyfriend .... and she's pissed.
Turns out that there's more to the demure Monami than meets the eye though. Luckily for Keiko, her father is the deputy principle, and a mad-scientist to boot. He's been working in Frankenstein fashion to re-animate life, assisted by the school's psychotic nymphomaniac nurse.
All this ties together in a story involving a Vampire Girl, a Frankenstein Girl, and one shitload of blood. But then you probably guessed as much by now.
Yukie Kawamura, a popular gravure idol turned actress, doesn't have the super-cool poise of Eihi Shiina, but does a pretty good job of grounding her character in some semblance of reality. Well ... as much as possible given the circumstances! And perhaps more importantly given the genre, looks super-cute even when covered in blood.
Although the film's budget constraints are sometimes exposed, for the most part the visuals are impressive - hyper-stylized, with bold saturated colours and inventive effects. Of special note are the scenes when a character is turned into a vampire, reminiscent of a particularly potent acid trip, with humans being perceived as nothing more than walking blood systems. Very, very cool.
It goes without saying that the gore effects are top-notch, and the battle scenes contain the obligatory poses, creative use of body-parts, and ridiculously violent and unlikely kills.
Also of note is the hard rock soundtrack that adds a driving intensity, ensuring energy levels remain high throughout. This is a film that you really should see live and loud in a theatre if at all possible, so you can fully enjoy the experience along with a bunch of like-minded maniacs.
In summary, and taking the title into consideration, fans will definitely get what they came for, and a bucket-load more besides. One note however - I can see this style getting a bit tired if Nishimura doesn't bring something a bit more substantial to the table in his future films. But as his next release is titled "Mutant Girls Squad" - I doubt that will be any time soon.
In the meantime I'm more than happy to revel in yet another feverishly twisted imagining from the mind of Yoshihiro Nishimura. And while there's nothing really new here, Japanese schoolgirls covered in blood and kicking the crap out of each other never really gets old now, does it ?
Note: Technically this is not a solo Nishimura film as he shares director's duties with Naoyuki Tomomatsu. Nishimura's next solo project is entitled Helldriver and is due to start shooting this Spring.