Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009): Japan – directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Not rated by the MPAA – contains some sexual content, extreme violence, showers of blood, and some romance
Note: This film is rather violent, in a ludicrous manner, and the following review may discuss some details better suited for those who are not squeamish
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is everything you could hope for from a movie with that title, and so much more. It is a fantastic mix of Tokyo Gore Police [review here] and Postal, the most offensive Japanese movie I’ve ever seen, and an absolute blast to watch.
The opening scene squares off Vampire Girl with a trio of bizarre Japanese schoolgirls who seem to be assembled from a variety of body parts. Vampire Girl soon disassembles them, going so far as to “unwrap” one of their heads, leaving a spinning, bloody skull. There are showers of blood, and it becomes immediately clear that Yoshihiro Nishimura, who did the makeup effects for Tokyo Gore Police and Hard Revenge Milly [review here], was involved with the production. Here Nishimura is co-helming the film with Naoyuki Tomomatsu, who directed Zombie Self-Defense Force [review here].
After the initial sequence the film settles down into standard J-drama mode, with a variety of school girls and boys vying for each others’ affections. It is Valentine’s Day, and, as is customary in Japan, the girls have all bought candy for their boy of choice. But the mean teacher, Uchiyama, confiscates all the little packages of chocolates. This doesn’t stop a gaggle of girls headed by Keiko (Eri Otoguro), who happens to be the vice-principal’s daughter, from making advances on Jyugon Mizushima (Takumi Saito). Jyugon is the nicest boy in the class and is somewhat overwhelmed by the attention.
But there’s another girl with interest in Jyugon. She’s quiet and stays out of the way, even managing to keep her small package of chocolate from being taken. Her name is Monami Arukado (Yukie Kawamura), a very cute and innocent girl. But there’s something about her that’s not quite right, as Jyugon eats his chocolate and discovers a red, creamy center. Soon he’s seeing everyone as a system of blood vessels and has strange desires to bite people’s necks. Monami explains that she’s given him some of her own blood to turn him into a half-vampire. He doesn’t mind too much, seeing that this is his chance to be with a nice girl.
But Keiko is not pleased, and after some run-ins with the sexy, nymphomaniac school nurse and her own father (who also happens to be a mad scientist with the nurse as his assistant), Keiko is turned into a crazy Frankenstein girl, composed of parts of a variety of students and teachers. Keiko’s hatred of Monami leads to the inevitable struggle between Vampire Girl and Frankenstein Girl.
This story of their two girls’ fight over Jyugon comprises most of the film’s 84 minutes, and it moves quickly. But there are so many supporting stories and characters that the film feels fully realized and fleshed out. Many of these asides are amazingly offensive. There is a club of wrist cutters that practice slashing their wrists everyday after school, hoping to win the regional wrist-cutting tournament. They slash and slash and enjoy it immensely. There’s a Chinese substitute teacher (Takashi Shimizu) whose lungs are powerful from constantly dealing with auto-emissions. Finally, there’s a ganguro club (this is apparently a real trend, though more limited to tans and light hair than black-face). These girls believe they are black and dress in the most offensively stereotypical black-face and costumes. One of them has a lip plate and pokes another student with a spear. Their leader, whose name is Afro Rica (Namie Terada) believes she is truly black, and has the athletic black legs to prove it. Eventually each of these people’s unique body parts get put to good use.
I’ve never seen a more offensive film from Japan, whose cinema tends to poke fun at Japanese society and avoids insulting other countries or cultures. Some of the offensive moments involving the ganguro club are truly offensive, and some are positively hilarious in their absurdity, such as when Afro Rica starts repeating Obama’s chant of “Change! Change! Change!” But Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl seems to have a good heart, as the basic premise revolves around a sweet schoolgirl and schoolboy romance. There is plenty of ridiculous violence along the way, replete with CG showers of blood that don’t dirty the people doing the killing, but the film has a very positive and uplifting feel to it. The tone, if not the violence, is reminiscent of the milder Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge [review here].
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl will appease fans of Japanese shock cinema, and offers a surprisingly offensive parody and satire of Japanese culture. The only thing wrong with the film is the CG fire, which looks unnecessarily fake and silly. The rest of the film is campy, exploitative, offensive fun, rarely too serious to be truly awful (though the ganguro girls come close), and entirely enjoyable for any fans of shock cinema.