Wild Zero

by Evan ODell 4/26/09

(2000) Directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi. Written by Satoshi Takagi and Tetsuro Takeuchi. Starring Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, Bass Wolf, Masashi Endô, Kwancharu Shitichai.

I imagine a lot of people aren't going to find this particular film appealing. Imagine punk rock cult movies like SIX-STRING SAMURAI, Penelope Spheeris' SUBURBIA, and Alex Cox' REPO MAN mixed with the zombie humor of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD or the Hong Kong zombie film, BIO-ZOMBIE. The zombie element is secondary to the rock and roll one. The zombies have piss poor make-up for the most part, though some are better than others. As for the rock and roll, its pretty damned fun. The Japanese band Guitar Wolf has a prominent role in the movie as themselves. I'm pretty sure someone here has seen KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK because Guitar Wolf has some kind of energy super power they use infrequently. Other bands on the soundtrack include The Zeros (The Mexican Ramones), The Oblivians, The Phantom Surfers and Dick Dale, The Vikings (Norway), Bikini Kill, and some great Japanese bands like S.D.S., Teengenerate, and The Kids. This is definitely the cult movie you break out for that friend who thinks he's seen every cool cult movie.

There is a twist some might find uncomfortable at the halfway point. Its certainly not original, but if I mention the other films where its happened you'll know what I'm talking about. I do think it was an intriguing choice and I kind of like the way it was handled. In a movie where everything else is equally strange, why not?

Before I discovered the option, I thought to myself, you can make a drinking game out of all the gratuitous instances of hair combing in the movie. Imagine my delight when I realized there is a Drinking Game way of viewing the movie on dvd. What a cool DVD option! When you pick English subtitle selection 2, a beer mug appears in the corner signaling you to drink every time someone on screen drinks, combs their hair, fire shoots out of something, some one says Rock and Roll, something explodes, or a zombie head pops. There are a lot of occasions when those things happen.

The beginning kicks off with computer generated UFOs flying across the sky that resemble the tin pie plates Ed Wood used in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. A blurb on the radio about meteorites gives us the only clues we're going to get about why the dead are rising. Ace (Masashi Endô) is a rocker who is in love with the idea of rock and roll. When he sees Guitar Wolf (Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, and Drum Wolf) at a club, he overhears the nefarious club owner in lace-up hot pants, tight shirt, and a page boy wig, tell Guitar Wolf, "Rock and Roll is dead." He busts in to claim otherwise and the bullets start flying. Afterwards, he becomes blood brothers with Guitar Wolf and they give him a whistle to call when he needs help.

The creepy club owner, is hell-bent on revenge and sets after Guitar Wolf. Ace meets Tobio (Kwancharu Shitichai) after taking out a would be robber. He parts company, but his fear for her compels him to go back after he's attacked by zombies. There are also a few people out to see a meteorite as well as a female arms dealer who falls in with them to fight their way out. By the end, the creepy club owner catches up with Guitar Wolf in the midst of a town over run by zombies and the battle ensues.

 

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