FREAKSHOW Wild Zero
Join us every Monday, as we look at a cult movie. Our film of the week this time pits a Japanese garage rock band against zombies
Director: Tetsuro Takeuchi
Cast: Guitar Wolf, Masashi Endô, Makoto Inamiya
Available on both region one and region two DVD
Watch the trailer here
Watching this Japanese sci-fi zombie flick, you worry that everyone involved may have been sniffing bags of UHU. It’s a work of insane genius. It’s the sort of film that makes you want to down a bottle of vodka, throw your TV out of the window, set your house on fire, and pogo naked on the roof screaming, “ROCK AND ROLL!!!”.
It stars Guitar Wolf, lead singer of a cult Japanese rock band of the same name, and possibly the coolest man on Earth. Decked out in black leather and wrap-around shades, guitar constantly slung over one shoulder, he wanders around dispensing nuggets of wisdom like “Rock and roll has no boundaries!”… then screeching off on a turbo-powered motorbike noisier than your average Boeing 737.
The story? A swarm of flying saucers is heading to Earth. Simultaneously, zombies start roaming the streets. Presumably these two events are connected, but quite how (or why) is never spelled out. My guess is that the aliens got stoned the night before, watched Plan 9 From Outer Space and thought “hey, cool plan!”. Amongst the freaks caught up in the ensuing chaos are the band, a deranged club owner in crotch-crushing hot pants, a tattooed arms dealer chick, Ace – a wide-eyed rocker who idolises Guitar Wolf, and Tobio, the “dream girl” he meets along the way. Who’s actually a bloke.
The plot is wafer-thin, and one suspects the script was written in crayon by someone recently labotomised, but never mind. The outrageously OTT set pieces make it all worthwhile. Typically these involve Guitar Wolf screaming “ROCK AND ROLLl!!!!” before slaughtering zombies by, say, hurling guitar picks at them, whilst his two sidekicks nonchalantly comb their monstrous rockabilly quiffs. English-speaking Guitar Wolf fans will appreciate the subtitles, which allow you to enjoy the beauty of their lyrics for the first time. Our favourite is the song that goes “BABY BABY ROARING BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! EXPLODING BLOOD!” Marvellous.
Crackling with guitar feedback, stinking of Brylcreem, and dripping with fragments of zombie brain, Wild Zero is heroically dumb. But it’s also sweetly good-natured, with a skewed romanticism. Essential viewing for fans of drive-in trash – or anyone who feels that they have far too many brain cells and would like to swiftly wipe out a few billion.
Ian Berriman, reviews editor of SFX and cult movie nut, has watched Jess Franco’s Female Vampire four or five times, but never seen Casablanca. The nutter.
Click here to see our other cult movie write-ups. And if you like oddball movies, check out Total Film’s Trash Talk.