Helldriver — Another Hole in the Head 2011 — movie review
Posted on May 31, 2011 by Chris Nelson
If you’re at all like me, you’re probably growing tired of the seemingly endless zombie trend. I mean, by the time zombies have made it to prime time television, the material’s pretty much been played out, right? The thought of yet another zombie movie probably has you groaning with displeasure (no pun intended). Well, Yoshihiro Nishimura’s latest film, Helldriver, is technically a zombie movie, but they’re really only supporting fodder. And even then, they’re zombies with a twist.
You see, these zombies are the byproduct of a space meteor’s collision with a mass-murdering psychopath (Eihi Shiina). This is a woman so deranged that after being hit by a viral meteor, she actually steals the heart of her teenage daughter straight out of her chest — seconds before being cocooned in space crystal! Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. This woman’s evil gestates, radiates, and infects the whole countryside. She emerges an alien queen queen of interstellar hellishness! Her subjects: bloodthirsty zombie hordes, who have overrun the Fukushima prefecture. And as I mentioned previously, these are no ordinary zombies. Rather, these are zombies with bizarre antlers, which humans desire for their narcotic properties! And because harvesting zombie antlers for narcotic enjoyment infringes on a zombie’s well being, the government of Japan has bestowed them all with human rights! Spreading death and drug addiction, and being protected by the laws of the land? What’re the good people of Japan supposed to do?
Enter Kika (Yumiko Hara), the aforementioned daughter. The damage dealt to her chest proves so extreme, the only suitable heart replacement comes in the form of a diesel-powered engine. A fricking engine, man! This naturally pisses her off quite a bit, and she sets off, with chainsaw sword in hand (naturally) to stick it to her mother, and prevent the zombies from taking the southern half of Japan.
Of the films I checked out for SF Indie’s Another Hole in the Head, I was probably the least excited about Helldriver. I really disliked Tokyo Gore Police, and though it had its merits, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl proved fairly tedious overall. So, despite its impressive trailer, boasting a number of rather cool visuals, the thought of sitting through another Yoshihiro Nishimura outing left me feeling a bit apprehensive.
Thankfully, this time around, Nishimura hit the ball straight out of the park, as both Kris and I found Helldriver to be uproarious fun. The sheer degree of insanity on screen had us in fits from start to finish. You think I mentioned a lot in that giant synopsis up above? I didn’t even scratch the surface. Just wait until you witness the zombie car, the mutant-bosses, the zombie penis-broccoli, the spinal-pole-dance. And the chainsaw sword? Epic.
As with the other festival entry, Karate-Robo Zaborgar, you can tell that everyone involved in the picture had a blast making it. Nishimura’s picture is a bit darker and more perverse than Iguchi’s, and that bizarre quality extends to the cast-members themselves. I’m usually freaked out by Eihi Shiina, and her inherent creep-factor is in full effect here. Lead Yumiko Hara does a similarly intimidating turn as Kika. While recognizably female, she brings an alarming amount of masculinity and machismo to the role – this is one girl you seriously don’t want to mess with. Nishimura also throws in a couple easer-egg cameos with AV Starlets/Typhoon regulars Asami and Honoka, but they prove pretty hard to spot. Their mutant boss-makeup is so extensive, you’d never recognize them without a cheat sheet, or before a second viewing of the film. It’s so crazy!
In closing, Helldriver was a wonderful surprise. Both Kris and I wholly enjoyed the flick. It’s screening opening night at Another Hole in the Head, and it’s totally worth attending.
Helldriver screens at the Roxy Friday, June 3rd at 9:20pm, and Monday, June 13th, at 9:20pm. For more information, check out SF Indie’s page on the film.