8:05 PM | Japanese Horror, Mutant Girls Squad, Reviews with 0 comments »
As far as extreme Japanese horror cinema goes, I think of post-Kaiju Japanese horror as being divided into three types. First you have the sadistic, hardcore glory of the Category III flicks like the Guinea Pig series, Ebola Syndrome, Dr. Lamb, All Night Long, Entrails of a Virgin, Niku Diruma, and Men Behind the Sun. Then there’s what came to be known in America as J-Horror. You know, Rungu, Ju-on, Dark Water, Tomie, Pulse, One Missed Call, and all of the other “black haired ghost kid making weird noises” flicks that were all the rage for a while. I dislike that whole sordid chapter in Japanese horror history. Currently, we’re seeing a wave of J-Splatter/Comedy/Action films. These flicks, with their hyper-kinetic violence, bizarre visuals,and over the top gore have their roots in flicks like Story of Ricky, Hausu,and Tetsuo. Recent films such as Meatball Machine, Robo-Geisha, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, Big Tits Zombie (possibly the greatest title in movie history), and Tokyo Gore Police have taken these influences and melded them into a new style all about the eye candy. I will admit that I am not exactly well versed in this kind of flick, but from what I have seen, this is more of the same from some of the head honchos of the gene.
Synopsis: Rin is a seemingly normal Japanese high school girl, but on her sixteenth birthday, everything in her life changes when government special forces break into her home. After witnessing her mother’s face blown into bits and her father’s severed head falling into her birthday cake, Rin’s dormant mutant abilities are awakened: her arm transforms into a sharp, knife-encrusted claw, and a moment later, she finds herself standing in a pool of blood, surrounded by dead soldiers! Fleeing and fighting her way though her hometown, she discovers a group of girls who were also born as mutants, calling themselves the “Hiruko.” A breed of mutants who have existed long before the so-called “Japanese” invaded their homeland and began to persecute them, the girls have different special abilities: one can transform her arms into swords, one can grow tentacles from her fingertips, and one can grow a chainsaw out of her body. The team hone their skills under their demented and powerful leader, Kisaragi, for one purpose: to take revenge on the Japanese who have been persecuting their breed for ages, and to take over Japan and transform it into a land for mutants only! The revenge of the mutant girls will soon begin!
Honestly, I don’t even know why I bothered putting the synopsis up there. The story doesn’t matter at all. Neither does the acting. These movies are all about the visual ride, and Mutant Girl Squad certainly delivers in that department. It is nearly nonstop action. I would estimate that at least 75 of the film’s 90 minutes are action sequences. In addition to all of the action, this movie proceeds to heap weirdness on top of bizarreness on top of WTF-ness. Only a country that could produce hentai, dirty panty vending machines,and deathmatch wrestling could come up with this kind of crazy shit. We’ve got a girl whose mutant power is a chainsaw sticking out of her ass (yes, she even refers to it as her “Ass Chainsaw”), and another who has ridiculously long swords coming from her nipples. We have nose guns, floating severed heads in birthday cakes, giant monsters with acid spewing tits on the side of their heads, androids (I think) with giant drills and extension cord tentacles, schoolgirls with indestructible claws, and so on and so forth. The humor of the flick comes from the sheer “what the hell am I watching?” element. It’s a good thing that element is strong, because when the flick tries for actual comedy, it doesn’t work most of the time. Maybe something got lost in the translation, but I didn’t get the“jokes.” The “my belly sword has a hard-on” line is hilarious in context though.
The other real selling point of this flick is the gore. This is a completely unrealistic, cartoonish style gore, however. It’s anime come to life. It’s a funny bloodbath. More heads are sliced in half than I could count. There are mpalements,dismemberments, melting skin, and blood spewing like it’s coming out of a fire hose. Yes, the classic Japanese arterial geysers are present in full force. It’s a mixture of practical and CGI effects. None of it really looks all that convincing, but it doesn’t need to. The film was obviously pretty low budget, and some of the effects are kinda iffy, but it adds to the surreal party atmosphere of the flick.
Like I said earlier, I’m far from an expert on new school Japanese splatter movies. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I’ve only seen bits and pieces of a lot of the recent ones. This is the first one I’ve watched in its entirety. Honestly, from what I’ve seen, they all kinda seem the same to me. This was reiterated by the fact that the movie is split into three parts, each directed by one of the luminaries of J-Splat (I think I might copyright that), Iguchi Noboru, Nishimura Yoshihiro & Sakaguchi Tak. Honestly, I couldn’t tell a difference in their directorial styles. Maybe if I were a student of J-Splat, I might be able to, but even then the differences would be minute.
Random Thought #1:One thing I love about this Blu-ray/DVD combo is that all of the special features are available on both discs as opposed to having some that are only on the Blu-ray. I wish more companies did that.
Random Thought #2: Sweet holy mother of hell, Yuko Takayama is GORGEOUS!
I don’t think it’s really applicable to give a severed thumb score to this movie, since most of the criteria I normally take into account don’t really matter here. It’s all about the visual feast of action, strangeness, and bloodshed. I know some people who absolutely cannot get enough of this kind of flick. If you’re one of those people, this is the movie for you. J-Splat fans will probably have to change their pants after watching Mutant Girl Squad. I know just as many people that hate J-Splat. If you’re one of those people, you will loathe Mutant Girl Squad. It’s a divisive subgene, and depending on your feelings towards it, you will either love or hate this movie. There’s no real middle ground. If you haven’t experienced the world of J-Splat yet, this is a good starting place, as it is a shining example of what you can expect from production/distribution company Sushi Typhoon’s output. This isn’t going to change the detractor’s minds, but if you’re in for a wild ride that’s a goofy, silly, bloody, weird as hell visual treat, I’ve got one for ‘ya. Nathan says check it out.