It has been awhile since I delved into the dark side of cinema…so let’s delve together by returning to a terrific sub-culture of movie that is over-the-top in all the best ways…
Welcome to your new home…nice, isn’t it? If this image intrigues you, have I got some movies for you to check out!
I posted on this a couple of months ago, but needed to update it to include a new movie I just saw: “Dream Home”, a 2010 shocker from Hong Kong…and a nice addition to this post about a CRAZY new category of film – young women who overcome extreme adversity to turn the tables on their male oppressors – usually with lots and lots of blood!
Here is an unnecessary warning: these films are over-the-top – but know this: they are all about female empowerment – just in ways you could NEVER have imagined!
CLASSIC ASIAN CINEMA!
In the last decade we have seen a huge number of terrific foreign films showing up in the US: masterpieces like “Battle Royale”, “Oldboy”, with iconic images like this one:
“Oldboy” set the stage for revenge-as-catharsis – along with earlier classics like John Wood’s “Hard-Boiled” and “The Killer”…
Most of these films had a male protagonist, like Chow Yun-Fat. Now, however, we are seeing women take center stage. Some of the most original, inventive, and outrageous movies being made today are coming from Japan, with women exacting revenge in ways you cannot imagine! Here are some examples of the best of them!
HOORAY FOR WOMEN – CULT ASIAN EXPLOITATION CINEMA!
DREAM HOME – 2010.
Ever want to see how people in Hong Kong deal with the expensive housing market? Well, here you go – turns out it’s a market TO DIE FOR!
Li-sheung is a woman obsessed. She has found the perfect home and it will be hers, no matter what the cost. Though she doesn’t have the money, there is nothing she won’t do for the security and prestige that comes with owning her ideal dream home. And if that means shedding a bit of blood, then so be it.
And Li-sheung will spill far more than a bit of blood. One of the most extreme films ever produced in Hong Kong, Dream Home is anchored by a startling, bold performance from Josie Ho as Li-sheung and assured direction from acclaimed filmmaker Pang Ho-Cheung (Isabella). A blood-drenched thrill ride from start to finish, Dream Home is one savage and satirical slasher you won’t want to miss.
Be sure to set your eyes on “WIDE OPEN” and get ready to see one of the bloodiest, most intense movies ever made about the housing market…but it’s a sly social commentary as well as a terrific thriller – and a great performance by Josie Ho!
RoboGeisha! – 2009. Yes, a robotic Geisha. If you want to keep swimming in the deep end of the “crazy pool”, this is the movie to start you off!
Here is the plot: Yoshie, the younger and ill-treated sister of a renowned Geisha, is discovered to have natural strength and fighting ability. She’s recruited into an army of Geisha assassins by the rich and powerful owner of a steel-works, Kageno. During training large (and interesting) parts of their bodies are altered into weaponry directly linked to their brains.
Let’s stop for a second and repeat one line: parts of their bodies are altered into weaponry. So what you see above you is a “buttsword”. Yes, it is. She has a sword that comes out of her butt. And that is just the beginning….they also have breast machine guns!
Yoshie soon realizes that Kageno’s real plan is to have his robotic castle throw a new and very powerful nuclear bomb into the center of Fuji-san, destroying Japan entirely. With the help of other ‘Kageno defectors’, she sets out to stop him and his Tengu warriors.
Did I mention that those Tengu Warriors wear red penis noses?
YES, RED PENIS NOSES!
Did I mention that one girl plunges fried shrimp into the eyes of her enemy?
That’s right: FRIED SHRIMP!
And yes, she has a rotating buzzsaw face…but did you expect less? This movie is CRAZY!
Amazon has most of these films, and their other options always toss up a few more. There is also a website called “Asian Cult Cinema” – they have some of the latest stuff – and stuff that is never released in the US…for those of you who want to keep digging into this stuff, that is the website to check out…
Helldriver. 2010. Here is one of the latest movies in the genre, and of course, one of the wildest!
Here is a write up I found online, as crazy as the movie sounds! “First, the main character is a smoking hot zombie killer who has been sexually abused by her uncle who is also her mothers lover. The zombies grow horns that are like explosive crack and are hunted by a drug syndicate. The zombies are able to meld together after being hacked apart.” Well, you cannot argue with THAT.
This is a run down of some of the stuff in “Helldriver”: baby zombie nunchucks, spider zombie with M-16 legs, a japanese hitler, baby arms growing out of a zombies face that hold knife and fork to cut up flesh to eat, zombie head hail storm, lesbian zombies with action…you get the idea. This movie has it ALL. But this is what you expect when you put this DVD into the machine, isn’t it?
As you can read, “Helldriver” is going all out to win the crown of CRAZIEST ASIAN MOVIE EVER! But it has some really tough competition, as you are about to see…
Tokyo Gore Police. 2008. This was my introduction to the genre – and I have never looked back.
Here is the IMDB write up: Set in a future-world vision of Tokyo where the police have been privatized and bitter self-mutilation is so casual that advertising is often specially geared to the “cutter” demographic, this is the story of samurai-sword-wielding Ruka and her mission to avenge her father’s assassination.
The opening ten minutes are designed to fry your brain and suck your eyeballs out of your head – and that’s just for starters!
There are some iconic images associated with this film that I purposefully didn’t show – you need to experience them as they are revealed in the movie…once you see the film you will know exactly what I mean!
Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl
The deranged genius behind “Tokyo Gore Police” is back with a chilling new flick that’s re-writing the hallowed history of the horror genre. “Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl” is the terrifying story of two classic monsters re-imagined as super hot – and extremely lethal – Japanese school girls.
Gore reigns supreme in this “blood-cake cavalcade of carnage” – which was chosen as the winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 NY Asian Film Festival.
Fan boys and movie blogs are already buzzing over this bloodbath du jour, and aficionados of psychedelic blood-filled chocolates, mad scientist principals, sumo wrestlers from hell, and sex-crazed school nurses are guaranteed to lose their heads over this old school splatter-fest.
This film isn’t quite as cohesive to me as some of the others, but once again you see a Director who is going to throw everything he has into making this an over-the-top gore fest, and for that you should be thankful.
The Machine Girl. 2008. Here it is: The “Citizen Kane” of Japanese Female Revenge Exploitation!
Ami is a typical college girl. She’s bright, friendly, popular and athletic, with nothing to set her apart from other girls her age other than the fact that she is an orphan, left to care for her younger brother after her father committed suicide after being falsely accused of murder. But while there is tragedy in their past, the siblings’ future looks good, except for one thing. Ami’s brother has racked up a considerable debt to another boy at school, and that boy just happens to be the heir to a clan of vicious ninja-yakuza. Ami’s brother can’t pay, violence breaks out and in the course of trying to avenge her brother, Ami is captured by the clan. They torture her and hack her arm right off.
Ami escapes, barely alive, and is taken in by the owners of a machine shop who build her a customized, bullet-spewing arm. From that point, the quest for revenge is on in earnest.
Don’t worry, “The Machine Girl” delivers on every single thing you want: bloodshed, exploitation, and REVENGE!
As you can now see, these films begin and end in a similar way: young Asian women are treated horribly by men, and they find a way, usually with scientific modifications, to exact revenge…bloody bloody revenge!
Since there isn’t a single guy in these films worth rooting for, you can’t wait for the next act of revenge to occur, and trust me, they occur PLENTY. Enjoy!
Categories: Action Films, Books / Media, China, Exploitation films, Extreme Asian Cinema, Foreign Films, Great Films, Grindhouse, Horror films, Japan, Japanese Sexploitation Movies, Movies, Obscure Movies, Politics, Revenge Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Tokyo!, Travel, Uncategorized