Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies

Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies (2001)
Dir:Naoyuki Tomomatsu (Vampire Girl v.s. Frankenstein Girl)

Finishing my trio of J-horror Zombie flick reviews , We go out with a Bang with this tremendous homage to Zombie flicks of the past with a Japanese twist. Stacy is hands down one of the coolest Living dead flicks I have seen in sometime. This  cinematic treasure really covers all the bases of what makes the zombie sub genre so cult worthy, mixing traits of Romero Living dead films with Italian classics and adding a dash of J-Horrors sick sense of humor and absurdness in one extremely entertaining and tasty  package.
 During the 21st century Girls between the ages of 15-17 begin dying for unknown reasons and return to life as flesh eating zombies and the only common thread is that all these girls experience intense euphoria and happiness before passing on. The term is coined Near death Happiness or N.D.H. by a Japanese scientist Dr.Doggod.
In one of the several nods to films of the genre a Military unit The Romero Rekill Special Unit is formed with the task of disposing of these walking dead schoolgirls who are called "Stacie's". Doggod believes that the only way to dispose of this threat is to chop each one up into at least 165 pieces because the pieces continue to move after being severed, Which the media understandably see's as overkill and view the Doctor as some kind of madman sadist instead of a legitimate Scientist.
This film is filled with sub-plots and side stories but the main story arch involves Shibukawa a lonely Puppeteer and a young girl Aoki  who takes a liking to him and wishes for him to dispose of her once she reanimates since she is suffering from N.D.H. and The Stacie's are put to rest fulfilled if they are finished off by someone who they hold dear to them during life. Shibu grows quite fond of the young girl as time goes on, Meanwhile The Romero Unit and Dr.Doggod slaughter the undead students and perform studies on them in order to find a cause and solution to this epidemic. Also a trio of young girls form a hit squad of sorts intercepting the Romero unit hotline and set out to kill Stacie's for bounty.

 In a perfect example of the mixture between homage to the genre and Japanese horror humor we see a advertisement for a chainsaw for civilians to use against the Stacie's called the Blues (Bruce) Campbell Right arm , which is a chainsaw that one wears on their hand and arm , which is obviously a reference to the Evil Dead Franchise.
Aside from the story , or stories being legitimately entertaining the gore in this film is done pretty well and pretty reminiscent to the Romero Dead Films, with several scenes showing packs of zombies ripping victims limbs off and feasting on their flesh in vicious fashion.
I really do not want to go to deep into the story of this film because there is allot to cover with the huge cast of characters and separate arcs because i can't stress how much I recommend people watch this film. It is in my eyes one of,  if not the best homage to the zombie film I have ever seen and if you like any of the Living dead films you will truly get a kick out of this one. The director of this film went on to make another awesome film with Vampire girl v.s. Frankenstein girl and you can truly see his genius and love for horror shine through in this one. This man really knows his source material and it shows , from the subtle nods through set pieces to names thrown around from other films to even the doctor at one point quoting  "The dead walk the earth when there is no more room in hell." which is the tagline from George Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead.
I can't think of one thing I disliked about this flick. From beginning to end it reeks of greatness and utter fandom.The underlying message to the film is Unconditional love which may not be as deep and brooding as the political messages behind Romero's films but it is not a bad difference and even if you find that premise light or even downright stupid there is enough in this film to keep you watching and indeed falling in love with the film itself. The film due to it's numerous separate plots leads to several twists and of course a high body count.
Another thing that separates this from the other J-Horror Zombie movies I have reviewed recently is that this one sticks closer to the standard Living dead platform and strays away from the crazy monsters and kung-fu with the exception of the trio of renegade Stacy hunters which two of them use martial arts , swords and nunchukus, But there is only one small scene where they actually employ those tactics. The rest of the defense is all fire arms and chainsaws staying true to the more classic zombie film. This film like I said truly has something for everyone who loves horror especially the Living dead genre, lots of gore , a high body count, and just enough humor to not take itself too serious or shove an agenda down the viewers throat. I cannot stress how much I enjoyed this film and I am actually disappointed that I had not checked it out sooner because I see this one going into my list of favorites for sometime now and easily fitting into my favorite zombie movies of all time, a suitable side dish to the timeless classics.Honestly now that I think about it this could be looked at as the Japanese version of Return of the Living dead, A film that is gruesome enough to be horror and be taken seriously in the genre but just enough comedy to win over the casual viewer.
well enough pointless praise lets get to the scoring.
Overall score: 7.5 out of 10

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