Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (Japan, 2009)



Another over-the-top lollipop gore film from the Japanese purveyors of blood-spraying ridiculousness, the Fundoshi Corps, filled, as always, with cute girls, a ludicrous plot, hysterical set pieces and oddball visual and narrative ideas that make little sense but flow together with all the excess gore to create a surrealistic Pop Art delight. Yes, these films might be bloody, might be gory, might be unbelievably stupid – but visually, they are often like a blowjob of your eyeball. Garnished with some really cute pop music and delectable Asian cuties, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is an entertaining piece of bloody fluff that is as enjoyable as it is totally silly.
Based on a manga of the same name by Shungiku Uchida, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl was directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu, the former of which was the special effects artist for the far less poppy and delirious (but just as bloody and outrageous) Japanese gore horror flick Meatball Machine (2005 / trailer). In Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, as in Meatball Machine, the blood and gore flows like vodka at a Russian wedding, but here the gushing blood often takes on such hallucinatory accesses that it loses any sense of horror – the scene, underscored by happy-sounding pop music, in which the vampire girl, Monami (a super-cute Yukie Kawamura) literally dances in unfettered joy as a bitten businessman's neck spurts so much blood that it is less gushing blood than a warm summer rain of red, is a typical example of the ridiculous levels this masterpiece of insanity goes. But then, that this film owes more to the nightmares of a surrealist on mushrooms than Camus on absinthe is already apparent in the first gore scene of the film in which Vampire Girl, facing off three Frankenstein Girls, first bites one F-Girl in the face and literally peels it down to the skull like an orange peel before she then knocks the skull through the air for it to more-or-less bite the face off of another F-Girl. Many an other set piece in this film is just as surreally over-the-top or ridiculous, even when they are not as bloody. (Co-director Yoshihiro Nishimura once said that Salvador Dalí is a major influence on his work, a debt that is often obvious but in no way derivative.)
To say that Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl is not a thinking man's film is perhaps an understatement, but then, does anyone truly expect something along the lines of, dunno, Last Year at Marienbad (1961 / trailer) when seeing a title like Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl? The overall disreality of the two films may be comparable, but Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl in no way intends itself to be taken seriously. Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl is all form and no content, and is no way ashamed of being so; instead, it wallows in its joyful inanity and lack of taste, celebrating death with an orgasmic visual and aural overkill that leaves the viewer laughing and smiling.
The story has holes bigger than those Oswald left in Kennedy's head, but the film has such a sure sense of style and such a wild, devil-may-care attitude that they become as easy to overlook what is, in the end, the classic and overused plotline of two girls fighting over a guy. Here – echoing the best of the brainless Troma teen exploiters of the early 80s such as the equally ridiculous classic of stupidity and gore Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986 / trailer) – most of the action takes place at a high school notably lacking in parental figures where no one seems to blink at any amount of blood that might appear; indeed, the only stated parent to show up at the Tokyo high school in VGvsFG is the crazed Frankenstein-obsessed, Kabuki-dressed mad scientist father of Keiko (Eri Otoguro of Oneechanbara: The Movie [2008 / trailer]), the pretty but spoilt Lolita who eventually becomes Frankenstein Girl. She's out to have the ineffectual and twinky Mizushima (Takumi Saito of RoboGeisha [2009 / trailer]) as her boyfriend, but the perpetually teenage and super-cute vampire Monami (Yukie Kawamura of The Scissors Massacre [2008 / trailer]) spoils her game by giving Mizushima a vampire-blood-filled praline, thus half-converting him to vampiredom. Will Mizushima chose Saito over Keiko? Will the school's Wrist-Cutting Club win the Wrist-Cutting Finals? What is Saito's moving drop of blood touching under the nurse's uniform to make the nurse moan and writhe that way? Can white people watch this film – and its overtly racist character Afro Rika (Namie Terada) – in the company of an Afro-American without feeling like they want to crawl under the rug?
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is a Pop Art experience, a Nippon extravaganza in day-glow colors that often plays like a neon-colorized Betty Boop cartoon on speed-steeped acid and overflowing with blood. The slim plot is of way less importance than the individual scenes and interludes that often wander off on visual tangents that are jaw-dropping fun to watch but really do nothing to advance the thin storyline. A meaningless peace of outrageous fluff, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl gets our full recommendation as a great film on any evening!

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