Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

The phrase “critic-proof” gets bandied about during blockbuster season, often as a pejorative to classify cerebrally-challenged but crowd-pleasing movies (though I doubt studios and producers find the term negative). And while it’s true that audiences will line up for TRANSFORMERS or PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels regardless of thumbs-downs, you could also argue that “critic-proof” also applies to movies like 2009’s VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL, a splat-happy rom-com so unapologetically over-the-top that it defies critical analysis.

This Japanese production from Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu is at its heart a love triangle between a spoiled high school student (Eri Otoguru), a transfer student who also happens to be a vampire (Yukie Kawamura) and the boy whose affections they both vie for (Takumi Saito, who seems rather uninterested in the pair of lovely girls after him). Yet the filmmakers stay true to the story’s manga origins by taking just about every element to the illogical, inappropriate extreme–be it the throughline that finds Otoguru transformed by her mad-scientist father into a patchwork zombie in search of revenge, the irrepressable tide of spilled blood (much of it rendered in horrible-looking but charming CGI), or the cartoonishly broad secondary characters (which include a jaw-dropping display of African-American caricatures that I’m surprised didn’t incite more anger stateside; it just might be the worst depiction of a culture since SCRUB ME MOMMA WITH A BOOGIE BEAT).

But for all its shortcomings VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL refuses to be boring, keeping up a steady stream of bizarre imagery, numbskull humor, and an unflagging, Troma-esque spirit of micro-budget anarchy that makes it hard to dislike. It’s the kind of film that makes you ask “What the fuck am I watching?” without the follow-up question “Why the fuck am I watching this?”

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