By Scott Cole
Recently, some Bizarro Central staffers gave their picks for filling that Walking Dead-shaped hole in your heart. Inspired by that post, I wanted to recommend the outlandishly fun and very weird Japanese zombie film, Helldriver.
Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl), Helldriver is just one drop in the current wave of hyper-bizarre films coming out of Japan, but oh what a drop it is.
When a meteorite crashes, and the resulting cloud of ash devours the northern half of Japan, anyone caught outside without a gas mask becomes infected. An hour later, they rise from their comas, sprouting Y-shaped antlers from their foreheads (which, by the way, can be ground into a powder and sold as a dangerous, illegal narcotic), ready to attack and devour anyone in their way.
Before long, a wall is built across the center of the country, dividing the relatively safe southern portion of the nation from the infected menace in the north.
But not everyone agrees on how the situation should be handled. There are groups defending the rights of the infected, and others who want to destroy them. Politicians argue both sides of the issue. Eventually it’s decided that the infected must be eradicated for the good of the country, and a woman named Kika is charged with leading a group into the north to hunt down and destroy the Zombie Queen.
Luckily, Kika is armed with a chainsaw sword, which happens to be powered by her artificial heart (her real heart was stolen by her mother, a homicidal maniac whose own heart was taken out by a meteorite that crashed through her chest, starting this whole mess). Her mother also just so happens to be the Zombie Queen.
Among other things, you’ll see chainsaw fights, various mutations, a samurai pincushion, decapitated cannonball zombie heads, a pregnant woman who uses her unborn-and-still-attached zombie child as a projectile weapon, a car made from assorted body parts, and of course a tsunami of arterial bloodspray.
It goes without saying that Helldriver is deliriously absurd, and a whole lot of fun. But it also stands as one of the weirdest zombie films ever made (at least, so far). If you’re in the mood for the undead, but looking for something Romero never conceived of, give this one a shot.
A hole has been left in many people’s Sunday evenings with the recent season finale of The Walking Dead, so we here at Bizarro Central are sharing our favourite zombie-themed media in hopes of satiating your lust for all things undead.
Dead Set – a BBC miniseries about a the zombie apocalypse happening and what happens to people filming a reality TV show.
Crossed – a super violent and sadistic comic series created by Garth Ennis and now a rotating list of writers.
Lollipop Chainsaw – a video game were you play a zombie-killing cheerleader. Written by James Gunn (of Slither, Super, and Troma fame).
Constance Ann Fitzgerald:
Zombie Honeymoon – because I love a tragic love story littered with dead things, a few jokes, and some solid gore.
Fido – zombies = pets!
Dawn of the Dead (2004) – because really, gore FX just keep getting better! And I loved Sarah Polly.
Zombie Strippers – I really thought it was going to be terrible. It was actually fucking awesome. Plus the world’s deadliest “ping pong ball trick”.
We’re Alive – a zombie podcast the just finished its third season. It follows a group of survivors originally from LA as they fight with some seriously scary zombies (and people). High-quality podcast with good actors and sound effects. Features smart zombies and mutated ones!
Zombies and Shit – my favourite Carlton Mellick III book. “Battle Royale meets Return of the Living Dead in a post-apocalyptic action adventure.”