We here Zomblog International HQ made the official determination that while Frankenstein’s monster is a clear antecedent to the zombie uprising, Ol’ Frank just doesn’t make the cut himself. It’s no insult, we’re just sayin’ more brain munching would have helped. Japan, land of all things thoroughly awesome, has adopted Frankenstein as the central metaphor for a rack of films that also fall just short of true zombie g(l)ory. Here are three reanimated and bloody features that swipe from Mary Shelley’s playbook.
Dir. Noboru Iguchi
Yoshie is the ugly duckling younger sister of a local geisha and constant butt of her abuse. The beatings have left her with a substantial case of barely contained rage and the ability to rip phonebooks in half with her bare hands. The corrupt local munitions company plays on the sibling rivalry to recruit Yoshie into their coterie of highly trained geisha assassins, whose bodies have been largely roboticized and sent out into the world to kill off political rivals. That is until a collection of local activists convince Yoshie her bosses aren’t who they seem. Subsequent absurdities include acidic breast milk, Gatling tits, shuriken spewing sphincters and a giant robot castle dancing the robot. That and a shitload of CGI gore.
Full Metal Yakuza
Dir. Takashi Miike
Kensuke is not a very good yakuza. In fact, his pathetic incompetence sees him summarily gunned down early on in this Frankenstein by way of RoboCop mashup from Takashi Miike, the enfant terrible of 1990s Japanese cinema. Left to be harvested for his organs, Kensuke is revived by a local mad scientist who turns him into a metallicized kill-borg with a robowang that puts Tetsuo the Ironman to shame. Unfortunately, true to the Frankenstein mold, Kensuke spends most of the flick pondering his miserable, unnatural existence rather than wreaking bloody vengeance on the gangsters who left his ass for dead.
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl
Dirs. Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Frankenstein’s Monster and Count Dracula have squared off in many a moldy screen oldie. This 90 minute trip through the fine art of arterial spray posits the good count as a shy, sun adverse transfer student to a Japanese high school who squares off with a reanimated posse of mean girls. Yes it’s about a boy. He’s so dreamy. Yoshihiro Nishimura, who directed Tokyo Gore Police and contributed blood ‘n’ guts to RoboGeisha, co-chaired this gory, gory outing. But if you want to appreciate the Raimi-style bloody humor, you’re also gonna have to subject yourself to the Japanese attempt at racial humor. Japanese girls in blackface. With giant lips. And bones in their noses. And lip plates. Chanting songs about Obama. *sigh* This one is for the dedicated only.