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Helldriver

(Nihon bundan: Heru doraiba)

Montreal Premiere

Helldriver Helldriver Helldriver Helldriver Helldriver

Official Selection, Fantastic Fest 2010
Official Selection, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Calgary International Film Festival 2011

Screening Times

Credits

Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Screenplay: Daichi Nagisa, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Cast: Eihi Shiina, Yumiko Hara, Yurei Yanagi, Kazuki Namioka, Kentaro Kishi
Producers: Yoshinori Chiba, Hiroyuki Yamada
Print Source: Sushi Typhoon/Nikkatsu

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Description

How many flicks do you know that blast their opening credits half-way through their running time? That’s what we thought. Let’s rewind to the beginning. Cue a happy-happy-joy-joy jingle, here comes a weird-looking guy, arriving cheerfully on his bicycle. Wearing goggles and a rubber suit, this almost-ninja quickly uses his grappling hook to climb a wall. Once on top, he throws some body parts onto the plot of land on the other side, to distract a horde of moaning, zombie-looking lads and gals, whom he soon starts decapitating in order to collect their antenna-shaped forehead protuberances. Next thing he knows, he’s tangled in a blood-spurting pyramid of the undead, but then a pickup-driving, pole-dancing, chainsaw-katana-wielding samurai babe — with the biggest pacemaker ever — comes to the rescue. Then, it gets weird. The overloaded plot involves a mysterious ash mist, a colourful yet depraved cannibal brother-sister duo, hilarious Verhoeven-esque public service announcements, a spaghetti Western moment, Lovecraftian mutations, crazy gunplay, drug trafficking, out-of-nowhere explosions and a killer soundtrack. KILL BILL meets BRAIN DEAD in a twisted parallel dimension. Almost.

Not to be mistaken for Nic Cage’s recent B-movie (titled DRIVE ANGRY 3D here), this hyperactive gore-fest is Japanese director and FX-master Yoshihiro Nishimura’s most insane effort yet. After a pair of fun novelties (MUTANT GIRL SQUAD, VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL), it’s also his very best one since TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008). He also brings back his muse Eihi Shiina (star of Miike’s AUDITION), who literally puts her whole heart into her role as the flick’s main villain. In this Sushi Typhoon production, Nishimura’s wonderfully messy special effects (also showcased in THE MACHINE GIRL, SAMURAI PRINCESS, ROBO-GEISHA and several Sion Sono films) serve the plot rather than the other way around. If Romero’s influence can be sensed here (LAND’s wall, DAY’s classic dismemberment, THE CRAZIES’ haz-mat suits, etc.), so can Stuart Gordon’s early films (FROM BEYOND, anyone?) and Sam Raimi’s whole EVIL DEAD series, as well as Clive Barker’s universe and the subversive yet overlooked ’80s freak-fest gem STREET TRASH. It’s a gore tragedy, really — albeit a truly fun, absurd and cynical one. Candy for the bloodthirsty, latex-craving midnight crowd. Get ready to ride this blood-red acid trip — or die (laughing).

—Kristof G. (translated by Kristof G.)

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