Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is another wacky, over-the-top and ultra-gory film from filmmakers Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Meatball Machine) and Naoyuki Tomomatsu (Zombie Self-Defense Force, Stacy). If you are a fan of zany, weird and off-kilter horror films drenched in cartoonish gore, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl might be right up your alley!

Monami (Yukie Kawamura) is just your basic love-struck high-schooler mooning over the dreamy Mizushima (Takumi Saitô). She professes her love with a chocolate candy she presents him on Valentine’s Day, but when Mizushima bites into it he discovers it is filled with blood…Monami’s blood. Turns out she is really a vampire and wants to turn him so they can spend the rest of their long lives together. However, Mizushima’s current girlfriend Keiko (Eri Otoguro) doesn’t take the news too kindly…but after she confronts Monami she meets a bloody end (but perhaps not in the way you would expect). However, she is soon resurrected by her mad scientist father, who patches her together with body parts from her schoolmates and resurrects her as Frankenstein Girl. Frankenstein Girl then faces off against Vampire Girl in the final battle for Mizushima’s heart.

Ok, how can you go wrong with gore so over-the-top it’s comical, butt-kicking chicks, weird Japanese fashion, melodramatic high school angst, a Dr. Frankenstein mad scientist, vampires, geisha Frankenstein monsters, and some of the most seriously disturbing high school clubs this side of Sweet Valley High? You can’t, that’s how! Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is a seriously strange film, but that’s why I liked it so much!

The majority of the film deals with the love triangle between Monami, Mizushima and Keiko in the setting of their high school. During this part of the film we meet the main characters’ classmates, including a group of Japanese girls pretending to be black (complete with extreme caricatures/stereotypes like big lips, Afros, gold chains, etc.) who run a black power club and another group of girls who belong to the wrist-cutting club. Both of these clubs and their members were so over-the-top that you just can’t help but laugh! It also pokes fun at stereotypical Japanese schoolgirl and gothic Lolita fashions.  Then there is Keiko’s dad, who at first appears to be a mild-mannered science teacher and assistant principal…however, it is revealed later that he is a cackling mad scientist who is killing off students to try to bring them back to life, Frankenstein-style. He even has a wacky costume complete with traditional Japanese robes, long white wig and Kabuki makeup. Again, another outrageous character you can’t help but laugh at.

The film carries this comical tone throughout, even during the gory fight scenes. The opening scene alone, where Monami battles three Frankenstein monster-like girls, sets the tone for the rest of the film because it is just so gosh darn goofy! Monami strips the skin off the girls’ faces and in the midst of it raining blood she neatly stacks the clacking skulls one on top of the other. The rest of the gore is equally graphic, but still humorous. And you can’t beat the final battle that occurs on top of a fake Eiffel Tower!

My one gripe is that the film focuses too much on the teenage angst and drama (even if it is in a satirical, humorous way) and we don’t get to see the Vampire Girl and Frankenstein Girl battle until the very end. Keiko doesn’t even turn into Frankenstein Girl until nearly the end, which is kind of a let down since this means Frankenstein Girl doesn’t get much screen time. And for being a vampire, Monami doesn’t spill that much blood with her fangs (no attacks on fellow classmates, for example), not to mention that she can walk in the sun (though too much exposure makes her woozy).

Despite these quibbles, I had a very fun time with Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. While it is not as shocking as other extreme Asian films, its silliness definitely won me over. And despite its ridiculous nature, the film spills quite a bit of grue. If you are a fan of bizarre and outlandish cinema, I highly encourage you to check out Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl!

Available from Amazon

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