Looking to broaden your movie horizons? I mean – REALLY BROADEN THEM?
Then watch this trailer!
Was your mind sufficiently blown? If so, then let’s explore the most outrageous cinema coming out of Asia!
Ready for a little “J-Sploitation?”
If you are unfamiliar with the category, “J-Sploitation” is Japan’s version of the exploitation film – low budget, full of outrageous action and vivid special effects, and filled with lots and lots of blood. Really. One Director is leading the charge to deliver the craziest, most OVER-THE-TOP action movies of all time – with geysers of spraying blood!
It’s a whole NEW way to get your Halloween on this year!
Before you turn away…well, perhaps you should, because these are really outrageous films – but they are SO cartoonish – they are more laughable than offensive, and they also speak to a number of societal issues facing Japan – YES, THEY DO – so they are, in a sense, fascinating documents of the current youth culture of Japan…a culture that seems fascinated with this:
Behold Visionary “J-Sploitation” Director Yoshihiro Nishimura!
Meet the Martin Scorsese of Japan “J-Sploitation!”
Yoshihiro Nishimura (西村喜廣) is a Japanese film director, special effects and makeup effects artist. Nishimura has been described as “a legendary director and effects artist” and has been credited with establishing a new type of visual film presentation, the “gore effect”. Here is one example:
Some of the most popular J-sploitaiton coming out of Japan right now is due to this talented filmmaker…
Nishimura got his start doing special effects and special makeup effects for a number of movies including the controversial thriller “Suicide Club.”
For the 2009 production of “Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl” (吸血少女対少女フランケン), Nishimura teamed with Naoyuki Tomomatsu as co-director – let’s take a look at Nishimura’s directorial debut:
Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl
Here is the plot: Transfer student Monami has a secret and a past that has caught up with Mizushima. Deceiving Mizushima into eating a token gift of chocolate, laced with her blood, he is then catapulted into Monami’s vampire world of blood, death and love.
Jilted girlfriend Keiko has other ideas. With a sudden twist of fate, she is then transformed into the hideous and unforgiving Frankenstein Girl, and the battle for Mizushima’s heart begins.
The setup is simple, the plot easy to follow: there are good girls and bad girls, and they all like to fight!
During the course of the film, a lot of blood is shed, usually after a head is chopped off or split open like this:
As you can see, realism isn’t part of this film’s DNA…but lots of bloody action is:
There is also subtext here: the alienated student who is outcast, the issue of social cliques, the eternal battle of good versus evil, and standing up for your honor…
In these movies, guys are either weak and afraid – or they are abusive, obnoxious, sexist and utterly despicable…and they ALWAYS get what’s coming to them in the end:
So, no matter how much blood is shed, good prevails and there is the overall message of female empowerment….
Nishimura’s next directing effort ramped up the special effects and also introduced a whole new level of bizarre imagery:
Tokyo Gore Police
This really is the “Citizen Kane” of J-sploitation…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.
Ruka is a cop from a squad who’s mission is to destroy homicidal mutant humans known as “engineers” possessing the ability to transform any injury to a weapon in and of itself.
“Tokyo Gore Police” was shot and completed in just two weeks, but you’d never know by the insane level of special effects work done…
Also, look at some of the creatures that Nishimura created, using the plot line that humans can transform any injury into a weapon…and they transform in amazingly disturbing ways in the film…
The film’s most iconic, and disturbing image involves one such radical transformation….
Yes, this is disturbing…But as I explained in the film’s description, “Tokyo Gore Police” is more than just bloodshed and unsettling creatures…the film tackles social issues like “cutting”, an epidemic in Japan…
And as I said, the imagery is so over-the-top that the scenes are more fascinating than revolting, and the film has a storyline that never slows down for a second:
“Tokyo Gore Police” is the place to start in the “J-Sploitation” genre, and could be the place to end as well – if it’s just oo much for you, I understand…but it is Nishimura’s latest opus that amps up the action, the social satire, and the imagination – a movie you don’t want to miss!
Once again, a female lead tackles super-sized problems and perseveres…with lots and lots of blood, special effects, and severed heads…
A meteorite crashes into Japan, releasing a toxic ash that turns the northern half of the country into bloodthirsty zombies. Some time later, with the north now walled off from the rest of Japan, a young woman (Hara) is charged with leading a group of ragtag soldiers into the infected region to kill the “zombie queen” (Shiina) – who also happens to be her homicidal mother.
According to wikipedia, Director Yoshihiro Nishimura began working on the script to Helldriver in 2009. Nishimura took influence from George A. Romero’s film “Night of the Living Dead” which dealt with current events.
Nishimura stated that there was “quite a lot of satire and social criticism in this film…I describe what ensues after the nation splits in two, with humans controlling one half and zombies the other, and the kind of discrimination that would occur within Japan were something severe like this to happen.”
There really is a full subplot of social commentary in the film, as one group of Politicians claim the zombies are citizens and therefore can’t be killed – creating a social divide that is touched upon again and again throughout the film.
The zombies all have what look like chicken wishbones embedded in their skulls, and they love to eat people…but one young woman stands up to them all…
Yumiko Hara does a terrific job as Hara, a young girl who must fight off zombies as she faces down her evil Mom – and her Mom’s abusive boyfriend.
Hara suffers greatly at the hands of the zombies, but never loses her will to survive…leading a small band of zombie-fighters through a ravaged Japanese countryside looking for a solution to the apocalypse…
There are crazy moments in this film, such as when a new Mom uses her zombie baby as a weapon:
And there are some amazing special effects as well – and a great chase sequence – because the bad zombies create a car out of zombie body parts!
If you are adventurous, give “J-Sploitation” a try for Halloween!
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