Friday, 14 October 2016

Lust of the Dead 2 - review

2013 (Japan)

Contains spoilers.
If I wasn't already on a list, after importing and watching part 2 of director and co-writer Naoyuki Tomomatsu's sleazy  and horrendously b-movie soft-porn zombie nonsense I almost certainly am now. Excessive, misogynist and exploitative Lust of the Dead 2, or Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead 2 is everything that's wrong and shady with this odd little particular porn niche. It's a cheap one trick pony relying on the fun and games of horny rather than hungry and the willingness of actresses to show some flesh whatever the reason; and yet for such nonsensical zombie bunkum, it has to be said, the original origin narrative is surprisingly fleshed out and almost coherent, there is a semi-legit story being told and some of the audacious and stupidly bad set pieces and gore is surprisingly entertaining.

Following the events of Lust of the Dead, Tokyo really is now the post-apocalyptic wet-dream; a smouldering ruined city-scape with desperate isolated survivors hiding from the now grotesque, charred and mutated men that survived the nuclear blast. Two such figures are Shinji and Maki who hungry and scared are at least safe in their apartment and able to celebrate their anniversary, with love, candles and wine. That is, of course, until zombie-penis-boy bursts in, rips off her top and panties, fondles her breasts then gets himself ready for a good ol' rape. Any hope this wouldn't just be succeeding the first in premise and setting alone is immediately quashed. Tomomatsu's Lust of the Dead 2 is the story of desperate women rallying together, of scientists scrambling to find answers, of a world torn asunder, but it's still a silly little one with otaku virgins forming a cult to take revenge on all the women who humiliated them, daft American robots with laser eyes, flamethrower mouths and perfect breasts, and an opportunity to screen a lot of half naked women and indulge an obvious public groping fetish.

If you don't remember, I'll refresh. For some reason; a meteor, the ozone hole, or even some evolutionary Gaia reason all men have become infected with a bacteria that removes any and all imperative other than to have sex with any and all women. I say all men; it's really only dokyun aka successful, sporty, normal that turn, with otaku aka manga, idol, anime, loners and virgins that while infected can somehow keep their urges dormant. Lust of the Dead 2 elaborates, explaining otaku are safe because in many ways they're the modern samurai; their years of abstinence and screen watching, actually a zen like philosophical conditioning akin to Bodhidharma's nine years of wall gazing. They're actually the enlightened ones. They're also quite a terrifying nonsensical bunch of losers and though I believe their ignorance, justified violence and deplorable objectification of 3D women (as in not on screen, ala real) is by design and a deliberate parody, like the first, there's always a line of dialogue or a particular sequence that makes you think you really ought to stop laughing along.

Gone are the randy little Japanese business men, instead in the aftermath of the blast, they're replaced with giant penis wielding monstrosities that appear more comical than frightening. Though it's never been a film anyone involved ever intended to be considered horror, for a film about rape and death it's incredibly light and frivolous. With the otaku now the main threat there is less rape; but what there is perhaps more graphic, though maybe my memories of the first have been deliberately purged (or repressed). The soft-porn has definitely upped a notch and titillation has now upped a base and it's no longer just jiggly boobs, but hands in pants, touching and obvious stimulation. I should also mention the obligatory and utterly incongruous lesbian and masturbation scenes, which as obviously uncomfortable and strained the actresses look, are equally awkward to watch.

Both men and women do a good job with what's obviously a mediocre b-movie script that's entirely driven by the porn scenes, and even the painfully drawn and staged backdrop they're forced to work with for all outdoor shots. In fact the two long sequences where there actually isn't any 'action' are painfully paced and entirely tedious. Half way through, there's an attempted philosophical diatribe, with added aesthetic twinkle, that tries to explain all the otaku bull, but more criminal is a brilliantly staged conversation, ala The Return of the Living Dead, with a genuinely good and graphic prosthetic zombie carcass with semi-detached head, but impressive erection, and a primal insight into the caveman brain, yet ends with appalling cognisant justification with nonsense about gender ratios and the relatively recent judicial outlawing of mans natural right to take any woman he wants, whenever he wants.

And then it was all over. You see Lust of the Dead 2 was shot with Lust of the Dead 3. I say shot with; I think the actual phrasing would be Lust of the Dead 2 was filmed then cut in half with some bright spark thinking two sixty odd minute films with nothing cut would be better, financially, than a single well edited entry, thus explaining the poor pacing and the overly drawn out exposition we're subjected to throughout. A soft-porn monster movie no one thought we'd ever want or need, Lust of the Dead 2 is brazen with its desires and painfully honest with its execution. Now with parts 4 and 5 finished it's obviously a niche somebody wants to see and though I did have moments of fun I do rather find the whole rape fetish, as trivially, and justifiably played with as it is, uncomfortable and unsettling. Still, it's not a film I can honestly say is possible to take too seriously and I'm not going to end the review with a moral lecture. It is what it is and I do actually now want to see how the story ends, so it must have done something right - 4/10


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