Friday, November 27, 2009

Stacy (2001)

One thing that can be said for the Japanese: Nobody makes zombie movies like they do.

Sure, anyone can make a zombie movie. How else would you explain the horde of Godawful zombie movies that flood the DVD market? But the Japanese do it differently. Their zombie movies have a indescribable humor (maybe it's a cultural thing? I don't know.) They have a way with bloodshed. They have a manic sensibility. And most of all, they are different. Even a nearly unwatchable piece of shit like "Attack Girls' Swim Team vs. The Undead" (great title though) benefits from the fact that you can say "Well, that was different. Terrible, but different." That's exactly what "Stacy" is: different.

The plot deals with an epidemic of schoolgirls being infected with N.D.H., or "Near Death Happiness." Any schoolgirl who encounters this is indescribably happy-and then they become nearly unstoppable flesh eating zombies, or "Stacys."

Still with me? I hope so, because it gets stranger.

Anyways, there's a girl with N.D.H. named Eiko (Natsuki Kato) who befriends a puppeteer named Nozomi (Tomoka Hayashi), who agrees to sleep by her side until she gets the munchies for brains. Oh, and there's references to "Day of the Dead" and "The Evil Dead" trilogy (there's a hand chainsaw called "The Blues Campbell's Right Hand 2, which is modeled by a girl in a bunny suit,) a team of renegade Zombie Killing schoolgirls called "The Drew Illegal Repeat Kill Squad" (named so because they love Drew Barrymore), a doctor (Yasutaka Tsutsui) with some serious issues, and more.

I did not make any of that up.

While the references to other horror movies can get old, and the whole thing does get too goofy for it's own good, there is something oddly endearing about "Stacy." It's got tons of gore (none of it convincing, but it still has it's charms), a really odd sense of humor, a fun rock score, and an infectious energy to it. In a lot of ways, this is one of the most Troma like movies that studio never made. It's the exact movie flicks like "ThanksKilling" and their ilk keep trying to do, but can't get right.

It's also a satire of Japanese Pop Culture. The whole thing essentially plays like a rip on Japanese teen entertainment, and the overly sentimental, mushy cliches that plague it. Proclamations of love and syrupy rock music are interrupted by a swipe of a chainsaw and plenty of gore. There's little here that's sentimental at all in fact.

It may not be perfect, and it might not translate well to western audiences, but "Stacy" is something that must be seen to be appreciated or believed. You might not enjoy it, but it sure is different.

Rating: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment