This first post is actually a “reprinting” of a review I did for La Carmina’s Blog one year ago. The film that comprises its subject matter, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, is co-directed by my personal favorite Japanese director, Yoshihiro Nishimura. I hope that this review will serve to whet the reader’s appetite, since I will soon be posting a review of his second latest blood-drenched foray into solo directing, Helldriver. Enjoy!
“The human body contains over 12 gallons of blood, sometimes more, under high pressure.”
- The Laws of Anime
While it may not be anime, this maxim certainly holds true for Naoyuki Tomomatsu and Yoshihiro Nishimura’s no-holds-barred, ultra-violent gore-fest Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, a film that is guaranteed to have viewers alternating between winces and belly laughs for the whole, twisted ride. This should come as no surprise, considering the kings of Japanese splatter-camp and gonzo gore who assembled to bring us this all-out sensory assault. Nishimura is already notorious among international film festival circles for his directorial work on Tokyo Gore Police and special effects on Machine Girl, and TGP’s Taku Sakaguchi provided fight choreography. Throw in Machine Girl’s Tsuyoshi Kazuno on visual effects and an appearance by Ju-On director Takashi Shimizu, and let the fake blood pour down like rain.
And pour it does in this tale of a high school love triangle, which leaves all sanity and reason at the door and never looks back. Transfer student Monami (Yukie Kawamura) gives her classmate Mizushima (Takumi Saito) a (literally) bloody Valentine’s Day chocolate, which initiates his transformation into one of the living dead! As it turns out, Monami is a vampire with her sights set on Mizushima, but unfortunately, our high school stud is already reluctantly involved with Keiko (Eri Otoguro), a hotheaded Lolita who is used to getting her way. Enter Keiko’s Kabuki-clad mad scientist father with Frankensteinian ambitions and a host of outrageous characters, including the Wrist Cutting Club and a gang of blackface Ganguro, and you have the sanguinary formula for a head-splattering, gut-wrenching, bone-crunching battle for love and the lust for blood.
In the midst of this deluge of spraying hemoglobin and low-budget effects, there is some decent narrative going on, and a bit of respectable acting as well. Yukie Kawamura plays the part of the somewhat coquettish vampire effectively, but seems to be overshadowed by Eri Otoguro’s intense performance as the schoolgirl equivalent of old Victor’s Monster. Eihi Shiina (Tokyo Gore Police, Audition) makes a cameo as Monami’s mother to do battle with a historical personage whose identity is too good to spoil here. Mizushima’s narrations seem intrusive and out of place at first, but their presence serves to add just the right turn of the screw at the film’s bloody conclusion.
On the other hand, the visuals are good for laughs but often little else, and while they serve to drive the film forward stylistically, they don’t seem to bring anything new to the table or manage to match the bizarre and grotesque vagaries of Tokyo Gore Police. In the end, however, the film accomplishes what it sets out to do quite admirably. Blatant continuity issues? Complete and utter lack of regard for even the most basic laws of physics? These are just par for the course for Nishimura and his crew. If you find yourself wondering how a severed forearm screwed to a person’s head can serve as a propeller to fly up to the observation deck of Tokyo Tower, take the advice of MST3K, and “think to yourself, ‘it’s just a show’…you should really just relax.” VG vs. FG is terrible in the best ways possible…see it with friends, you won’t regret it!