Only Japan could bring us a suicidal schoolgirl horror flick and make it a disturbing, dark comedy to boot. Stacies is the term given to the walking dead in this classic, Asian zomcom, a very atypical zombie movie in that it twists the genre in some uncomfortably unique ways. Start with the fact that the affected are limited to cute, Japanese schoolgirls, stir in a period of mania before the girls actually turn, and add in their joyous desire to be killed and we have a recipe for what is at times, a genuinely disturbing movie amongst the silly chaos of Japanese comedy. If you’ve ever harbored a secret desire to watch the Sailor Moon girls tear apart and devour one another, well buddy, this is your new fucking fap flick. Hilarious and unnerving, Stacy truly holds its own place in the annals of Asian horror.
Sadly, none. Just young, brain-eating, Japanese schoolgirl minxes bouncing around fully clothed.
Oh yes. For all it’s lack of boobs, this film redeems itself in the blood ‘n’ guts department.
Low, but there is a disturbing edge to the comedy that will creep you out some.
Stacy starts out with a bang, as we watch Patient Zero, a babysitter, rise up and start gnawing apart the kids right in front of their mother. It’s great – right away, this movie tells you how over-the-top it’s going to be, and it never lets up for a moment. A short exposition tells us that this particular zombie virus affects only young, teenaged girls. Before they turn however, they experience a week of extreme mania, turning them into sweet, angelic, suicidal little monsters. Japan really has the “creepy little girl” thing nailed down, and this movie is a testament to it. Even though it might not be as serious a film as say, The Ring/Ringu, the behavior of the girls in particular gives it a legitimately psychologically horrific edge.
As for the characters, they really make this film. Several concurrent plots play out, all of them hilarious and insane. You have the Hardass Cop who’s Getting Too Old for This Shit, Asian Charlie’s Angels, The Soldier Who’s Losing His Shit Entirely, and of course, what Japanese story would be complete without a young romance? At the center is beautiful Eiko, who cheerfully begs her lover Shibukawa to kill her.
Ah, young love.
Shibu resolves himself to giving Eiko the perfect week, making her last days enjoyable with puppet shows and other creepy attempts at romance. As the week goes by, he watches stone-faced as she dances around, giggling like a loon everywhere they go, freaking everyone the hell out, while deep in the throes of what’s called “Near Death Happiness.” Sweet and bubbly Eiko sends men right to their knees in tears, as she gleefully thanks them for her eventual murder (or, “repeat-kill”). It is outstanding.
In another subplot, a soldier comes unraveled as he meets up with his long-lost love, Momo, sweet little zombified peach that she is.
Typical Japanese pillow talk.
Soldier-boy decides he can work with this zombie thing and shows us another good reason to keep a spare ball-gag lying around.
Congratulations, dude – you are officially creepier than the monsters in the film.
And because this scene wasn’t nutty enough, enter in the following players: Asian Charlie’s Angels, three lovely, nunchaku- and katana-wielding ladies, roaming the land and illegally gunning down Stacies before turning themselves; Hardass Cop, the Romero R-K Trooper who can’t cry; and an unrepentant evil scientist, because every good zombie flick needs one. Hardass Cop has it out with the Angels and kills all three before also gunning down Soldier-Boy and his undead lover (because I guess, if you go crazy in a zombie outbreak, they figure you’re just a lost cause).
The whole movie culminates in a satisfying splatterfest at an all-girl’s school, complete with mad scientist zombie experiments redolent of Romero’s Dead movies, and in fact, the similarities don’t end there. It should be obvious to most fans that this movie has been heavily influenced by that series (if it wasn’t brutally obvious with the naming of zed-eradicating squad “Romero Repeat-Kill Troops”). Other American horror films also get a nod here and there.
I can only imagine how proud Blues Campbell must be.
This movie is batshit insanity from start to finish. There is never a point where it isn’t entertaining, as it manages to avoid the lull that sometimes happens between the action in horror flicks. Every scene is just so odd, backed by an even odder (and almost out-of-place sounding, at times) soundtrack, that it’s impossible to get bored watching this. The story and concept behind the Stacies, while weird and so very Japanese, makes this a refreshingly unique addition to the glut of zombie films.
The blood and guts in this movie is another thing that becomes uniquely its own. The gore is laughably overdone and Troma-like in most scenes, and it works, but again – and proving that this film is indeed, multi-faceted – the disembowelments are done quite well, in addition to the mad scientist’s zombie experiments later in the film. The effects are good enough in certain places that it should have you squirming a bit.
As the signature film of director Naoyuki Tomomatsu, Stacy’s appeal lies in its bizzaro-ness and reminds us why we love Japanese cinema. Heavy on the effects, it jumps between comedy and horror seamlessly and is a movie that still stands up proudly amongst the better zombie flicks, even nearly fifteen years after its release.
Also it has girls dressed as bunnies selling chainsaw gloves
Score: 9/10, you won’t regret it
IMDB for this crazy flick
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Categories: asian horror