Cult Corner: Tokyo Gore Police

If you are a gorehound, yearning for the visceral wet works and creativity of old-school horror films, your wait is over. Japan has heard your cry and answered with bloody gusto. Tokyo Gore Police is a tour-de-force of crimson fountains, bizarre creatures and crazy action. This same team made Machine Girl, a wild film in its own right, but have honed their skills in the special-effects department, and ultimately come away with a much more cohesive movie.  Japan has been in the gore business awhile, releasing infamous pinku films (Japanese for “pink” as in flesh) and exploitation films from the mid-1960s until today. 

For whatever reason, horror movies in the US have become tamer as of late; what was once mainstream has now be relegated mostly to direct-to-DVD releases and film festival circuits. Tokyo Gore Police is a fun throwback to the golden age of splatter films, where anything goes and decorum is left at the door.

The movie starts with balls-to-the-wall action and never lets up. Eihi Shiina, famous for her role in Audition, plays the main heroine. She does an excellent job portraying the beautiful and deadly Ruka, a samurai blade-wielding fighter with a personal vendetta.   She is actually somewhat subdued when compared to the rest of the wacky cast; this unfortunately makes the story drag when it is focused solely on her. The fight scenes are frenetic and spastic, filled with anime-style moves and buckets of blood. Physics sometimes do not apply but everything is so over-the-top that you won’t care. The story is typical Japanese fare; it’s sometimes overly complicated and has too many side stories that end up being unresolved.  There is, however, quite a bit of gallows humor which was unexpected and a breath of fresh air.  The soundtrack is especially fitting, filled with synth-heavy techno to accompany the action.

Tokyo Gore Police will probably only appeal to a certain type of horror fan. It’s not high art but it hits all the right notes as an example of the splatter-film genre. You have to have the right frame of mind to fully enjoy it (some open-minded friends and a couple of beers wouldn’t hurt) but the inventive makeup and character design more than make up for the film’s narrative shortcomings. It’s a hell of a lot of fun and really that’s what B-movies are all about.

-Review by Michelle Kisner