on 1 May 2010
A mad scientist, Kenji Furano, hacks up students with special talents for their body parts so he can resurrect his daughter in his secret basement situated underneath the high school of his employment, thus creating Franken Girl. The carefully selected candidates include: the winner of the wrist cutting championship; the fast and dedicated Ganguro athlete (that looks like a cast-off family member of Craig David/Michael Jackson from the hit TV series Bo Selecta); and a chain smoking professor (played by Takashi Shimizu - director of Ju-on). The scientist and his assembled offspring seek revenge on the couple responsible for her death: Monami the vampire girl, her half vampire lover and school heart-throb come lady killer, Mizushima and Igor the hunchback janitor. Adding more spice to the mix is the unconventional love triangle between the three main characters which drives the story
Top marks for artistic creativity and successfully blending humour with gore sprinkled with utter madness. Yoshihiro Nishimura has continued the stark, raving mad momentum he blasted his audience with in Tokyo Gore Police, thus creating a flick drenched in sheer dementia. Some scenes play out like a tripped out hippy cult fest hosted by the Manson family dressed in fetish outfits crossed with costume styles akin to those found in the '70's/'80's cult TV series Monkey, made all the more merrier with people dancing around in showers of blood. The Tarantino style soundtrack, with a '70's upbeat swagger, blissfully enhances the loopy images and encourages the viewer to have a little jig whilst watching young sassy babes in provocative uniforms get massacred in death scenes that would've been excellent fatality moves in the Mortal Kombat 2 computer game... arr happy days.
The special effects can look ropey in places but they're astonishing in most other scenes and, more importantly, the story never looses its craziness; just when you think it has reached its peak, you get richly blasted with more... more... more; and, that's exactly what most will be shouting when the credits roll - if you like flicks tainted in strangeness that unashamedly allow you to feed the freak within - of course! Highly recommended for anybody looking for some demeted Japanese brilliance amply coated in blood.
on 5 May 2010
This is as great as the title suggests; better even. Set in a Japanese high school, dealing with popular subcultures within a class. This is the coolest School ever depicted in a movie, for sure. The students grouping into their own chosen culture teams to hang out and express themselves through fashion and attitude. One group is African black obsessed, another suicidal and of cause, we have the cool chick bitches who rule the corridors. Monami (Yukie Kawamura) is the new girl to the school, quiet and calm in attitude and appearance, although, on the inside she is a crazy ancient vampire. Head of the bitches is Keiko (Eri Otoguro) who is out to impress the local school cool guy Jyugon (Takumi Saito), but Monami has other ideas. Meanwhile, there is a crazy scientist collecting dead kids creating super beings. With the body of the super bitch and the finding of the magical Vampire blood, along with it's life giving properties, Frankenstein Girl is born and the battle commences for Jyugon.
This is nuts. It's colourful and gory, fast paced which rockets along with all sorts of madness thrown in for good measure. The acting is great, the camera work is fast and cool. The whole thing is just a lot of fun with crazy over the top gore to the extreme. I knew I'd like this film from the opening scene which has a girl getting her face bitten off, leaving just her skull spinning. Later, there is a scene with Frankenstein girl, power drilling an arm into her head to use as an impromptu helicopter type device. Crazy.
Also, the music is a lot of fun. Kinda 70's game show/supermarket/kitsch. Marvellous. Directors, Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu should be praised for this film!
on 1 July 2011
A really enjoyable little film with some grat touches. For a film of this genre the effects are pretty good and quite inventive in places (the vampire seeing people as walking circulatory systems works very well, the first attack in the park surprised me in a good way too plus loved the vampire blood in the test tube!) plus the obligatory lashings and lashings of fake blood. It's a shame it loses it's way and cheapens itself slightly in places with some cheap effects and prosthetics (the Frankenstein girl helicoptor and some of the nurse effects)but overall for this genre it's very well made and enjoyable.
It's also not afraid to be slightly controversial and shocking - these range from the close ups of the bodies that had fallen from the car park roof (a bit gorier than I'd expected, but in a good way) to some things (as mentioned in other reviews) that are cultural differences that probably need a little warning. All aspects of this film are clearly meant to send up certain youth groups and attitudes but some will probably be a little shocking to western audiences. I found the national wrist cutting championship quite a nice send up but it's not the sort of thing you'd normally find in western entertainment. The handling of the Ganguro group was clearly not meant to offend but is certainly something you would ever, EVER see in western film - I think it's for each person to interpret as you will, personally I hadn't read any reviews beforehand so was surprised by it but can see it's not meant to offend.
So, hopefully forewarned you'll take this film the way it's intended and enjoy a teenage vampire romance film that's very different, and much more enjoyable than most in this genre.
on 4 January 2010
I have to confess to being a Yoshihiro Nishimura virgin, having missed Tokyo Gore Police, and furthermore haven't seen any other contemporary Japanese exploitation splatter - films like Noburo Iguchi's Machine Girl - of the genre he is associated with. So forgive me if I start to gush about this beautiful, crazy film that hit me round the head like a hammer made out of LSD, as it was something quite new to me, and I think it represents something quite new and exciting for horror cinema.
A high school soap opera set up has the class heart-throb Mizushima, good looking but familiarly bland and wet - it's the girls who run this film - caught between the attentions of class bully Keiko, a spoilt Gothic Lolita Harajuku girl who abuses her position as the vice principle's daughter, and quiet but pretty new girl Monami, who just happens to be a vampire. Alongside them in the classroom are members of bizarre, exaggerated youth cults - a team of girls hacking at their wrists in practice for the Annual High School Wrist Cutting Championships, chanting team slogans that include the line "Show me more attention!"; and even more controversially a brave send-up of the ganguro youth culture that led quite a few members of the Frightfest audience - not a film viewing public known for their sensitivity - to walk out of the screening. It's worth saying a bit more about this.
The Japanese ganguro - translated as "black face" - youth subculture involves the use of tanning products to create overly-darkened, unnatural orange or brown skin set-off by brightly coloured clothing and accessories. In Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl the ganguros go further, their faces grotesque parodies of African features with Afro wigs, black make-up and prosthetics, for example giant lips and noses and in one ganguro girl, a plate through the lips. When we are first presented with these characters context-free in the classroom the immediate reaction is one of outraged confusion; however later in the film, as the ganguros enthuse about the black race being "the coolest race" as they quote Barack Obama and practice athletics, it becomes quite obvious that Nishimura and co-director Tomamatsu are sending up the wrong-headedness and surface-deep obsessions of extreme Japanese youth culture, not to mention the lack of identity amongst Japanese youth. It is a shame that this was lost on so much of the audience, and a sign of how controversial the film may be in the west.
The wrist-cutters and the ganguros are in possession of superhuman abilities - super-strong wrists in the case of the wrist-cutters, and super-powerful legs in the athletics-obsessed ganguros - and their body parts are used by Keiko to undergo a Frankenstein transformation in order to defeat love-rival Monami, who seemed to have roundly finished her off with her vampire powers earlier in the film. The battle between them is a riot of over-the-top action and ridiculous splatter scenes whose only precedent I can think of is the "Salad Days" Month Python sketch. A dizzying mixture of techniques is used, from CGI and crude stop-motion to highly choreographed slow-motion scenes, often played out in a fine spray of fuschia-coloured blood in keeping with the gaudy psychedelia of the film. These scenes are relentless and fill most of the film, running the risk of overkill - which they sometimes do. The film's finale though plays on the classic Japanese monster movie as Keiko's body parts are upgraded further in the only logical direction such an illogical film can take, managing to go the extra step needed in an action-packed boss battle at the top of the Tokyo Tower.
Its look is more video game than horror film, the montaged special effects and bright colours reminding me of Capcom's Viewtiful Joe, a game that plundered Japanese pop culture from the 1960s onward to make a kitsch but super-hardcore twitch classic. Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl's relentlessness and refusal to hold your hand through its shocking content is in some ways part of the same thing, an inversion of the usual lazy safety that kitsch post-modernism represents. Just think what a kitsch film called Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl would entail if it were made in the UK or the US - an ironic plod through Hammer and Rocky Horror with a cast of Goth girls and a turgid rock soundtrack - and compare it to this, viciously sending up present day culture rather than the safe targets of the past, taking day-glo rather than black as its default palate, and even managing to make vampirism sexy again for the first time since the nineteen-eighties, mainly by completely exorcising the Gothic posturing that has become synonymous with the subject.
I don't give a score of ten out of ten lightly but this film is unlike anything else I've ever seen. Compared to its western gore-comedy counterparts, stuck in a rut of nineteen-seventies Video Nasty parody, it is a huge breath of fresh air. Though expertly made it isn't without flaws, but they are so irrelevant in the face of its overriding hilarious, shocking sense of fun they just don't figure. This is the sort of cinema that really raises the bar, and western film makers would do well to take note. QuietEarth.us
on 18 June 2011
Described in the DVD extras by one of the directors, Yoshihiro Nishimura, as a "romantic comedy", this fast-moving gore-fest inhabits a parallel world where a human body gushes thousands of litres of blood, dismembered limbs twist through the air in impossible ways, and Tokyo's high schools are inhabited by serial killers, stalkers and teenage students who appear to be pushing 30. And one of them's a vampire.
If you can get past the title, this film is an enjoyable romp, with a directorial style of fast cuts and almost non-stop action which, as you might expect, comes before a deep, meaningful plot. Nevertheless, Nishimura and co-director Naooyuki Tomomatsu take the opportunity to parody various sub-cultures, scouring a big if very sick hit with the high-school wrist-cutting team, only to fall heavily with the 'ganguro' girls, one of whom has the usual dark makeup supplemented with a grotesque, huge-lipped mask. An obvious parody of sub-cultures which seek to imitate stereotypical aspects of other cultural groups without understanding them, the directors nevertheless go too far in order to prove their point, souring what was otherwise shaping up to be possibly the best film of its kind.
It's worth looking out for some nice cameos from Takashi Shimizu, director of the Ju-On films, and Eihi Shiina, best known for Tokyo Gore Police and Audition. Yukihide Benny, another Gore Police veteran, also makes an appearance as a Portuguese(!) vampire hunter; look out for him in Shiina's scene and consider how Caucasian actors with their eyes taped back must have looked to Asian viewers of the day.
The DVD includes a few extras which are worth a look, including a lengthy making-of documentary narrated by former special effects assistant and occasional porn star Maki Mizui, who also has a cameo role in the film. The film was shot in two weeks in a freezing February, and gives an insight into how a Japanese low-budget film set is a place where even the stars have to muck in at times. Trailers and a Q-and-A chaired by Sayaka Kametani (yes, also an actor here) complete the disc.
on 3 October 2010
Selling point: Hot schoolgirls beating each other up. One's secretly a vampire though not for long. The other's the hot popular girl...luckily her dad is a crackpot scientist and makes something more out of her. Plus there's some guy they fight over. It is high school after all.
VGVFG gets down to business in no time with the Vampire Girl of the title laying the smackdown on some trio of small time Frankenstein Girls with swords, which resemble coral made out of blood. It's mostly fun and playful in tone even when it's verging on the offensive with gangs of wrist-cutting enthusiasts and black girl wannabes. It's even playful when cutting people into pieces, not intending to play to the more straight-up gore fiends out there. But anyone who appreciate an inventive unconventional fight scene between a sword-wielding vampire and a four-legged monster with a propeller on it's head should check it out!
Some of the humour falls flat and tries to prop it up with the kind of fluffy, bouncy soundtrack you'd find in the background of Desperate Housewives' episode and no one leaves a mark on their roles. I doubt you were looking this DVD up for Oscar-calibre performances but you won't be seeing `Yukie Kawamura - Best Vampire Ever?!?!' threads anywhere on the net.
on 27 December 2011
The title tells you its as crazy as they come. Still it has a challenging storyline, lots of gore and chanting music. Fun throughout but not funny. Escapism at its extreme. Shocking and mindblowing. This takes fantasy to its extreme then a bit more !
on 9 May 2011
Love comes in many forms. Sometimes it's in the neck sucking embrace of a Vampire Girl. Other times, it's in the crushing bear hug of a Frankenstein Girl. And still other times, there is the love of watching limbs and body fluids fly through the air. This is the true love that manifests itself in "Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl". This latest Japanese horror/comedy gore flick was truly demented but also great fun. It has more than enough bloodshed to make horror fans happy. But it's all done for demented laughs as true love rages in high school. Sometimes the movie gets a little too nutty. There are many scenes, (actually the whole movie), that you'll look at sideways, shrug your shoulders and wait patiently for the next severed head to fall on the floor. 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.
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. 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 (Yukie Kawamura) has just transferred to the class, and has decided to give chocolate to the most popular girl's boyfriend Mizushima (Takumi Saito) and also decides is her eternal soul mate and love of her life. The problem is that the leader of the Gothic Lolita clique, Keiko (Eri Otoguro) has already decided Mizushima is "her" boyfriend.
The popular girl will off course not stand for this insult. She attacks Vampire Girl only to end up having her entire body broken into pieces. But never fear for her mad scientist father has found a way to stitch her back together so that she can become Frankenstein Girl. It all ends in a bloody battle filled with gore as the two girls have it out for their blood splattered true love. 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 seen 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. In summary, and taking the title into consideration, fans will definitely get what they came for and a bucket-load more besides.
on 30 April 2012
If your big into these movies like I am then there is no doubt but to click the buy button now! This movie is another display of awesomeness from the people that made Tokyo gore police and machine girl and samurai princess! This movie may run at a slightly lower time than the others but its packed with awesome fights and total gore and bloodshed!! A must have in the collection.
on 14 March 2013
Well the title gives you more than a clue about what to expect. Blood, guts, more blood, attractive Japanese Females (Nurse Midori wouldn't work at an NHS Hospital I don't think - you'd probably have to pay BUPA prices for her services...and wow what service!) a vampire girl, gore, a frankenstein girl - oh - and more gore.
Splat -tastic !!!