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Fantastic Fest Review: Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

By  · Published on September 26th, 2009

Normally I’d have some sort of mildly topical introduction which led into what would assuredly be an insightful appraisal of the film, but there’s only one question that matters when discussing something like Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl.

Do you want to see high-pressure hydraulics spray out gallons upon gallons of blood from people’s neck wounds?

In a tragic love triangle, Monami/Vampire Girl (Yukie Kawamura) gives Mizushima (Takumi Saito) a Valentine’s Day chocolate filled with her own blood, changing him into an immortal. The third side of the triangle is Keiko (Eri Otoguro) who wants Mizushima all to herself. A fight ensues, but when Keiko accidentally falls to her death from the roof, her mad scientist Kubuki father brings her back to life with the aid of a few of her fellow students’ body parts allowing her to take on Monami in a battle to the death.

I’ll assume that the answer to my previous question was ‘yes,’ because the only two people I can think of that wouldn’t want to see cartoonish amounts of projected blood are my grandmother and my friend Dale who only loves blood-spurts if they come from limb wounds. I realize it’s strange. But, luckily, so is this movie.

Apart from the massive amount of blood spilling out, the story itself is manic and difficult to follow without huffing industrial solvent ahead of time. It jumps back and forth between the growing relationship between Monami and Mizushima (which is barely better than the forced boyfriendhood that Keiko is shouldering him with) and the arbitrary character stories of two separate groups in the school. The first, is a group of girls who compete in what would be fairly average eating contest except that instead of eating, they cut their wrists open competitively. The second, the strange one, is a group of ganguro girls who worship a skewed version of African American culture that has them using black-face, wearing discount Chaka Khan costumes and being into Obama in a major way. The leaders of each group are important to the story if you use a loose version of ‘important,’ but they exist mostly as slick parody against sub-cultures in Japan.

For those knowledgeable of those sub-cultures – particularly the very real ganguro movement and the lolita group that wears Victorian clothing – the scenes will be vicious send-ups, but the casual observer (like myself before a little research) will be treated to wide eyes and slack jaws either from offensiveness of the highest order or the brazen absurdity of it all. Luckily, my jaw didn’t have too much further to drop for seeing the failed-experiment eyeballs grafted onto feet later on.

Keep in mind that you should have a smile on your face peering through that slack jaw. The whole thing is a messy, joyous celebration of excess and insanity. Think Japanese Troma Film, and you’re on the right track.

Unfortunately, the downside is that this low-budget party looks too low budget. The effects are great. After all, how can you even cite fault with how well a blood cannon works? You can’t. You simply appreciate its existence. But the whole flick looks like it was shot on your dad’s handicam which is unfortunate because with a little better production value it would be harder to dismiss as the trussed up trash some will inevitably believe it to be.

Besides that, there aren’t any other hurdles to loving the hell out of this movie. As a fan of movies that include the strange and the wanton release of bodily fluids, there’s a lot going on in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl to rejoice in. Unsurprising since it comes from co-writer/director Naoyuki Tomomatsu and Tokyo Gore Police director Yoshihiro Nishimura – two men who clearly have no problem ripping the skin off a young girl’s skull like an Ace bandage or allowing Type O- to rain down like, well, actual rain. And I’m not exaggerating. One scene made me question whether a lake of blood had evaporated into the clouds only to return back to earth in gorgeous technicolor red.

Which is why the first step to liking this movie come with my original question. Loving sick amounts of blood doesn’t ensure liking the movie, and it definitely has its flaws, but it’s a great starting point.

The Upside: An unapologetically absurd movie that is strange over substance, some fun performances, and what seems like 10 full minutes of slow motion neck-blood fountain action.

The Downside: Zero production value and the questioning of your core values as a human being.

On the side: Co-star of Audition Eihi Shiina plays Monami’s vampire mother.

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