Genre: Schlock Gore Zombie Fest
review in one breath
Wow! What a gore-fest this is!
The world as we know it is in utter chaos due to the inexplicable, sudden transformation of all girls ages 15 to 17 into blood-thirsty zombies! Not only does this significantly curtail procreation amid a plummeting world population, it also necessitates the widespread annihilation of these girlie undead lest they consume every remaining man, woman and child! (And consume they will!)
These girlie undead are collectively referred to as Stacy (or "Stacies"). No one knows where this term came from (or its meaning) but it's appearance in dictionaries can attest to is widespread use! (A similar situation has arisen in my neighborhood regarding "Trixies".)
Despite the superior science and intellect of the dubious Dr. Inugami, this mysterious phenomena continues to elude both explanation and solution. All we know is that prior to their transformation, these young girls enter into a state of "Near Death Happiness" (NDH) the symptoms of which are perpetual cheerfulness and annoying chattiness. Once transformed, the girlie zombies' skin excretes "Butterfly Twinkle Powder" (BTP) which tends to glow under certain circumstances. The only known way to destroy a Stacy is to cut it into 165 pieces. An elite troop of "Romero Repeat Kill" (RRK) squad has been dispatched to protect the citizenry by capturing and dismembering any rampant Stacy into the requisite number of parts.
Okay. Prior to writing this, I perused quite a number of reviews and online discussions of this film, and very few if any were positive. In fact I could not find anyone who discussed this film except in terms of special effects, borrowing, or acting. Watching this, however, I felt that certain themes or elements of the storyline also stood out as worthy of comment.
Regarding "special effects" and "borrowing" this is undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek schlock gore. Several techniques and themes are unabashedly borrowed from prior zombie films, not least of which is the use of director Romero's name for the zombie hit squads or the explicit reference to "Bruce Campbell" in naming the (right-handed) chainsaw. Stacy never seems to take itself seriously enough to be bothered by this borrowing, and in fact strives to be a comedic tribute to what director Tomomatsu undoubtedly deems influential zombie flicks.
Regarding "acting", this film actually pulls in a rather diverse and talented cast. Shibukawa is played by Omi Toshinori, who you may recognize from Happy People (1997) and Twilight Samurai (2002). Eiko is played by Kato Natsuki of Battle Royale 2 fame. Hotaru Yukijiro, who appeared prior in both Cure (1997) and Cross Fire (2000) is also here. And the questionable Dr Inugami is played by Tsutsui Yasutaka from Gemini (2000) and Jam Films (2002), etc.
Of course, all the talent in the world will be necessary to counter-balance the wobbly lurching of one hundred teenage girls splashed in day-glo red fake blood...
But what struck me the most was the story line upon which this zombie gore-fest is built. Since this transformation of girls aged 15-17 is impacting every girl this age, we find that (a) girls who are not yet transformed stoically realize they will soon transform, and (b) earnestly search out for someone that they wish would kill them. In fact half of this story is about these girls' search for someone who loves them enough to kill them.
In this sense, Stacy offers the strange yet increasingly familiar mixture of pure adoration of bishojou (pretty young girls) with some underlying male desire to hack them into little pieces. Western gore/zombie flicks don't seem to use the adoration element, at least not of the type and degree I see in here. For example, Stacy goes to great length to place these (living) girls upon a very high pedestal, epitomized by the scene where even the Romero Cops are bawling their eyes out over their loss. The film then repeats and repeats the motto that "these girls wanted to be killed by someone who truly loves them". Apart from the special effects (which is about 80% of the film), this is what Stacy is about.
If you love them, you will kill them.
This theme is popping up frequently enough in recent Japanese horror films of this sort that I am beginning to wonder if it is not some type of male myth or fantasy which makes sense to Japanese (male) audiences. Another example of this is the Shudan Satsujin Kurabu series of films, which I think is currently up to five film. These are also comedic, heavily referencing "Evil Dead" and "Bruce Campbell", AND are literally overflowing with this adoration/murder theme. In fact, apart from the special effects, this is precisely what those films are about.
I personally enjoyed Stacy as light-hearted schlock gore. By "light-hearted" I mean not only comedic, but without any intellectual merit whatsoever. The plot requires suspension of every ounce of your gray matter (and nervous system for that matter), and the special effects are not quite what I would call "eye candy". The gore part, however, is certainly present, which makes Stacy quite inappropriate for young children, your parents, and first (or second) dates.
That said, however, this is definitely a strangely entertaining film. It is also readily available to U.S. markets as it is now available at your local BlockBuster (!) with the N-17 parental warning.
Version reviewed: Region 1 DVD (includes English subtitles)
|You're looking in the wrong place if you want culture from this zombie flick.||HOLY COW!||Pretty close, but no blue skull. That scene where Shibukawa and Eiko wake up next to each other got me thinking though...||The world is run amok with teenage girl zombies!|