‘Stacy’ is a Japanese comedy-horror film that is also sometimes known as ‘Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies’.
The film was directed by Naoyuki Tomomatsu in 2001 and it is based on a book by Kenji Ohtsuki (大槻 ケンヂ)/
Kenji Ohtsuki is a cult figure in the ‘Otaku’ (Japanese term for ‘obsessives’ usually reserved for Manga fans) underworld, and as well as writing books/manga, he has also been a member of various bands over the years.
He actually makes an appearance in the film, and also writes and performs on the soundtrack as Tokusatsu (the band that he’s a member of).
Anyway, let’s get back to the film. Filmed on digital video and opting for genuine special-effects and props, as opposed to computer-generated effects, Stacy is an action-packed and blood-soaked tongue-in-cheek experience.
Brace yourselves – this is a gore-filled crazy movie.
The plot centers around an epidemic that breaks out in Japan, and this epidemic isn’t like the moody pandemic type infections that you are probably used to seeing in zombie films – this outbreak is very specific in who it targets: Japanese schoolgirls.
In the not-too-distant future, the planet is plagued by an strange sickness that cause EVERY girl between the ages of 14 to 16 to go through a transformation: firstly the experience a period of lightness and happiness that the film calls ‘”Near Death Happiness” (“NDH” or 臨死遊戯状態)’ – shortly after experiencing ‘Near Death Happiness’ they drop dead.
Shortly after dying, the girls re-animate and come back as flesh-craving zombies who run around and cause mayhem.
In the film, this has become such a widespread epidemic that there is a name give to these zombies: Stacy, or Stacies.
Stacies can only be stopped by being sliced up and dismembered under an act known as the “Repeat-Kill” (再殺) act, and the government has decreed that a Stacy can only be killed by a family member, a loved one, or by a specially created government unit, called the “Romero Repeat-Kill Troops”. Yep, ‘Stacy’ is packed full of references to classic zombie films and willfully embraces its zombie heritage.
The film basically traces two separate storylines, one involves a young student who becomes a member of the “Romero Repeat-Kill Troops” in order to save their friend, and the other involves a romance between an older man who has fallen for a young Japanese girl who has started suffering from ‘Near Death Happiness’ and will soon become a zombie.
To be honest, the plot is way out there, and mostly serves as a springboard for the filmmakers to dive headfirst into gore, carnage, or black humor…which in no bad thing in this case.
Let’s get something straight from the start, ‘Stacy’ is a fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously at all, it is a melting pot of pop-culture, parody, homage, and hyper-violence….so a serious, chin-stroking look at this film is pointless. It is far better to look at the fun bits.
‘Stacy’ wears its influences for all to see as clearly as a massive blood-stain on a white school uniform and horror fans will have a lot of fun trainspotting all the references to other zombie films. The “Repeat-Kill” act and the “Romero Repeat-Kill Troops” provide the set-up for some of the best jokes in this film and aside from the obvious George A. Romero nods (“Romero Repeat-Kill Troops”), hardcore horror-hounds will be excited to spot an Evil Dead / Bruce Campbell reference – the film shows a scene with popular advert for a chainsaw accessory for killing the ‘Stacy’ in your life, called ‘Blues Campbell’s Right Hand 2″…made even more funny by the use of Engrish (mis-spelling/translation of ‘Bruce’).
The blood and gore are abundant, and as mentioned, ‘Stacy’ eschews CGI in favour of actual effects and lots of liquid blood. Some of the scenes are actually quite stomach-turning, whilst others fall down for looking a little too comedic or fake, but there is enough red-stuff here to keep the most bloodthirsty fan satisfied.
The humor is black as coal – and plenty of jokes revolve around the “Repeat-Kill”, with family members receiving chainsaws as gifts for the Stacy in their household. This is definitely not a ‘date film’…..unless you have an amazing date with a dark sense of humour. The pace of the film is fast, the violence is over the top, but it falls a bit flat for the ending….almost as if the director used up all his his most outrageous ideas and scenes in the final 30 minutes of the film….and trust me, it gets crazy.
So there you have it, hyper-violence, Japanese schoolgirls, zombies, blood and gore, twisted-humour, and a knowing wit – this films tries to encompass a lot and most of the time it manages it, with a few occasional misses of the target. You probably already know if you want to watch this or not, in fact you probably knew the instant you saw the screenshots or read about the plot. Enjoy!
Watch ‘Stacy’ trailer below:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|