Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (DVD)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Yukie Kawamura, Takumi Saitô, Eri Otoguro, Kanji Tsuda, Sayaka Kametani, Jiji Bû
Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Distributed by Funimation
I've said it before, and I'm about to say it again: The Japanese are weird. Sometimes they are wonderfully weird. Sometimes they're psychotically weird. Somewhere in between wonderful and psycho lurks Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl.
At the heart of this no-holds-barred horror comedy from Japan is a high school love triangle involving two girls determined make the cutest boy their own regardless of whether he wants to be with them or not. One girl is a vampire and the other will end up an undead zombie with additional body parts transplanted onto her from some of her fellow students and school faculty. Their inevitable fight to the undeath spreads from the school gymnasium to the heights of Tokyo Tower, a titanic tussle the likes of which has not been seen since the climactic moments of King Kong Escapes.
Jugon is the boy every girl in school wants. That includes bitchy Keiko, the queen bee of this school, also the vice principal's daughter, who claims him as her property with no regard for his feelings towards her. I still cannot determine what exactly Keiko and her clique's fashion sense could best be described as, like Goth and steampunk rolled into one. If there's ever a Japanese version of "NCIS", this is how I imagine the Abby character dressing.
Monami is the quiet transfer student that also takes an intense liking to Jugon, much to Keiko's disdain. So intense is Monami's proclaimed love for this pop idol-ish looking schoolboy she's decided to make him hers forever before they’ve ever even been out on a first date. Theirs proves to be a very odd romance given Jugon does seem to be falling in love with Monami; why exactly is a bit hard to understand since she treats him more like a hostage with the choice of either becoming a vampire and spending eternity with her or turning her down and being killed by her because he knows her secret. Still a more believable romance than Edward and Bella.
Keiko's high strung father is secretly a mad scientist descended from the real Dr. Frankenstein who spends his after hours in the school basement dressed in full kabuki garb performing failed experiments to bring the dead back to life with the assistance of the psycho sexpot school nurse. A sample of Monami's vampire blood proves to be precisely what the exasperated mad scientist needs to finally make his experiments work, and after a fatal encounter with Monami, daughter Keiko becomes his first successful reanimation.
If you’re wondering what to expect when Japanese vampire and Franken-zombie school girls collide in arterial spraying immortal combat, vampires in this world have the ability to form long blades made of blood from the crimson dripping from their bleeding wrists and saw blades forged of blood from their feet good for both hacking up enemies and rollerblading. Yes, you will see a vampire rollerblading on skates of blood. Not to be outdone, Frankenstein Girl can use her trusty power drill to remove her knife-gripping arm and fling it like a boomerang and screw it atop her head and use it as a helicopter propeller to fly, as well as turn herself into a human-metal erector set transformer. There is no shortage of imaginative lunacy amid the carnage when these two monster girls engage in high-spirited battle.
This just covers the central plot at the core of Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. A slew of subplots and supporting characters are also introduced that do eventually factor into the main storyline, if only by way of unwilling body part donation.
The new school janitor is a samurai hunchback named Igor.
The school's chain-smoking Chinese language teacher is played by the actual director of the Asian horror hit Ju-on, and his character's entire lesson plan consists of lecturing about the various incarnations of his film.
If you ever thought that Troma was the master of mixing bad taste humor with low-tech splatter, then just wait until get a load of two of the school's clubs introduced into the fray. Forget Class of Nukem High; this high school has a "wristcutters club" whose members meet to practice cutting their wrists with boxcutters before competing against wristcutters from other schools. I assume this is meant to be an extreme parody of today's emo kids.
But nothing takes politically incorrect humor to its breaking point quite like the "dark girls club": four Japanese girls who began a school club celebrating their love of tanning that have since gone so overboard with their tanning three of them now look and behave like the worst black stereotypes you can imagine. All in black face, one with a plate in her lip and chucking a spear, and another done up with a nappy wig and big lip mammy make-up prosthetics on her face to make her look like a Garbage Pail Kid version of the sort of vile racist caricature you would find in Ku Klux Klan drawings from the early 1900's. I would call this the most racially offensive humor I have ever seen in a modern motion picture if not for a member of their group acknowledging they may have taken things too far and it appearing the intention of the filmmakers was to make fun of the trend of teens emulating African-American hip hop culture by taking it to the absolute extreme.
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is definitely not a movie for everyone. The gags are almost non-stop, and a few might even trigger your gag reflex for a variety of reasons. So overloaded with cheesy gore, it does begin to lose both its gross-out and laugh-out-loud effect by the end; yet, there is method to this madness. The characters manage to be fun and are fleshed out enough to enjoy even when they're not exactly on their best behavior. That all of this trippy, bloody, gooey nonsense somehow all comes together in the end is nothing short of miraculous.
If there's one major knock, it's that directors Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu (Tokyo Gore Police) have a bad habit of lingering on certain scenes for too long. I probably shouldn't be surprised that these two have a problem knowing when to say when given the pounding rainstorms of blood they let fly from beginning to end, but I can right off the top of my head recall more than a half dozen scenes that gave me that sense of overstaying their welcome.
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl doesn't quite strike me as a film requiring a two-disc DVD set, but that's precisely what Funimation has given us. Disc One contains the movie and a few trailers for other Funimation releases. Disc Two is loaded with the film's original Japanese trailer and a trio of videos - all subtitled. There's a 20-minute video shot on the film's opening day wherein the cast and filmmakers appeared on stage to greet the audience. The two-part making-of videos, when combined, are almost as long as the movie itself. The first twenty-minute video mostly consists of the cast and crew having fun on the set. The second runs a whopping 50 minutes and should provide anyone with everything they ever wanted to know about the nuts and bolts of how they made this monster comedy and brought its ghastly effects to life.
3 1/2 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5
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