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From the creators of Machine Girl , and Tokyo Gore Police, An alien-spawned, mysterious mist blankets the northern half of Japan, transforming those who inhale it into ravenous, flesh-eating zombies hellbent on devouring the surviving human populatin. Plunged into chaos, Japan is torn into 2 areas. The southern half of the country, where the population remains untouched by the deadly gas, lives behind a heavily-fortified wall, while the northern half is a lawless, zombie-infected wasteland.
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This typical/low-budget Tokyo Shocker begins with an odd man chumming a pack of some manner of zombie-demons with severed human body parts. As they feed on the anthro-carrion our chummer "fishes" for deadite heads using a sharp hook at the end of a rope. Then he removes something that could only be described as an evil wishbone growing out of their foreheads. We later learn that these "horns" are sued as street drugs, unstable explosives and are the source of undeadity in these zombies. When things get out of hand a random chick (our hero, Kika) with chainsaw-swords and some mean stripper pole skills comes to the rescue...what ensues is just plain silly...a truck flies through the air and Jenga's a 50' tower of zombie-demons, one of which a spine with a head at the end of it growing out of his head.
This entrail-rich gem is typical of the genre. There are lots of arterial sprays unleashing floods of blood beyond reasonable human body's capacity, detonating body parts, dismemberment galore and, of course, Kika's backstory. As a young girl Kika came home to find her crazy evil mother (Eihi Shiina) and her Japanese punk-redneck uncle in the middle of making sushi out of her father's legs--in front of him with his legs flesh-picked knee down. Out of nowhere a meteor strikes her bloodlusted mother "through" her chest. So naturally, she rips out Kika's heart and uses it as her own. Then she turns into some space-zombiism typhoid Mary and plagues Japan faster than in 28 Days Later. She is then entombed in some hardened mucus cocoon, from which she emerges as the hive-mother space zombie queen. Meanwhile, a public figure from a secret government agency stitched up Kika and outfitted her like a samurai-ninjette with a lawnmower engine in her chest so that she could control infected populations.
Unlike the devastatingly slow back-story-telling in Machine Girl (2008), Helldriver (2010) is much more effective and stylistic in explaining the origin of this space-zombie outbreak complete with news updates and slapstick government public health infomercials warning about the effects of using ground-up zombie wishbones like it was cocaine. There are even farcical advocates in support of the not-so-deceaseds' civil rights.
Director Yoshihiro Nishimua (Vampire Girl vs Frankenstien Girl (2009); Mutant Girl Squad (2010)) learned a lot from writing/directing Tokyo Gore Police (2008). For example, everyone loves Eihi Shiina (Vampire Girl vs Frankenstien Girl (2009); Tokyo Gore Police (2008); Audition (1999)) and chainsaw fights are cool! Other nifty additions to this gore flick include an assaulting hail of zombie heads, a zombie miscarriage, a zombie dance party, a zombie head crotch bite, a chainsaw-sword up the tush, a car made out of body parts, and a 50' tall zombie made out of other zombies that then turns into a giant zombie 747. The fights are most interesting mid-movie. The zombie baby, attached by the umbilical cord to zomb-mom, is used as a whip-dagger-harpoon. There's a zombie with katanas "growing" out of it that has a sword fight with a bladed car. And there's an eight-limbed, sword-spider-zombie nude acrobat chick with baby arm-tusks and a crotch hand. Say what? She's probably my favorite.
For fans of the subgenre this is just plain, exploitative, super-gory fun. By the way, watch to the end of the credits. There's a cute ending.
Kika (Yumiko Hara) is the heroine of the story - a young woman tormented by an awful sociopath of a mother (Eihi Shiina of Audition and Tokoyo Gore Police) and an equally deranged uncle - who wakes from a coma a year after an alien dust storm blankets Japan, turning its inhabitants into flesh-craving zombies. When she wakes, however, she is different. Someone has surgically fit her with a chainsaw samurai sword rig, the motor of which is attached to her chest. One finds out later that a secret branch of the government, unbeknownst to the Prime Minister, has altered Kika this way in an underground medical compound, all for the purpose of decreasing the number of infected citizens. And the proceeds to kick a lot of zombie ass, from enormous monster abominations to chainsaw-wielding undead to horrible patchworks of limbs and heads!
These aren't your average zombies, though. They have blood-red eyes, skin liked cracked plaster, a T-shaped (almost Y-shaped, actually) protrusion coming out of their foreheads, and sometimes some pretty disturbing body alterations. Now, the T-shaped protrusion, referred to in the film as the undeads' "horns," are the source of their continued living dead state, and removing them kills the zombies permanently. The T-shaped protrusion, tumor, or "horns" are also harvested by criminals to sell on the black market as a street drug, somewhat akin to cocaine it seems. What's more, the protrusion is also volatile and can explode if not handled properly by the smugglers.
Because of the zombie menace, Japan's government has a huge wall built to split the island nation in half, separating the uninfected citizens from the zombie-infested wasteland. Both the public and the government are torn between considering the zombies "deceased" and having them exterminated and declaring them "human" and preserving their human rights. Apparently it's a big issue.
Without spoiling the film's conclusion, the government eventually sends Kika and a small group of misfits into the zombie wasteland to eliminate the "zombie queen," who just so happens to be Kika's terrible mother turned even more evil and strange. The battles that ensue are visually stunning, creative as it gets, and more bizarre than one could possibly imagine without having seen the film. Believe me, you haven't ever had a film experience quite like this one!
From what I've learned recently, Sushi Typhoon/Nikkatsu and Well Go USA will be releasing some more films in the very near future - "Yakuza Weapon" and "Dead Ball." Personally, I can't wait to check 'em out!
So...there's my review for a movie that, in my opinion, hasn't received far enough praise.
Highlights include a car made entirely of zombie parts, a sadomasochist zombie that takes a little too much pleasure in having a chainsaw-sword stuck in its rectum and a Godzilla-sized zombie made up of thousands of regular sized zombies.
Some final thoughts:
* No expense was spared on the gore effects.
* The physical laws of the universe simply do not apply in Japanese horror/sci-fi.
* Yumiko Hara (Kika) is incredibly easy on the eyes.
In other words: The movie is bad -- no, I take that back, it's seriously, outrageously bad -- but you just can't stop watching just to see what the heck they might show next on screen.
Between the nonsense storyline, massive plot and logic holes, and the tanker truckloads of fake blood being sprayed all over the place, I found myself laughing more than I have in a good long while.
Helldriver is not for the squeamish, despite how ludicrously unrealistic the violence is; but for those open-minded individuals brave enough to give this movie a shot -- it's a real laugh riot.