Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #418
Number of Views: One
Release Date: September 24, 2011 (Austin Fantastic Fest), February 25, 2012 (Japan)
Country of Origin: Japan
Running Time: 85 minutes
Director: Noboru Iguchi
Producers: Yasuhiko Higashi, Ken Ikehara, Masahiro Miyata, Naoya Narita
Screenplay: Tadayoshi Kubo, Noboru Iguchi, Ao Murata, Jun Tsugita
Special Effects: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Cinematography: Yasutaka Nagano
Score: Yasuhiko Fukuda
Editing: Takeshi Wada
Studios: Arcimboldo Y.K., Gambit
Distributors: Nikkatsu, Media Blasters
Stars: Arisa Nakamura, Asana Mamoru, Mayu Sugano, Asami Sugiura, Yûki, Danny, Kentaro Kishi, Demo Tanaka, Sayuri Yajima, Haru Shiina, Yûya Ishikawa, Hideki Kurauchi, Takeo Gozu
Suggested Audio Laxative
 Vangelis “Chariots of Fire”
 Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell Williams “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
Every now and then a film drops into my lap which is borderline uncategorizable. I have been watching movies for many years now and it’s rare for me to be left utterly gobsmacked although I do admittedly live in hope. Recently, I have been working on the Z-List and, for those of you who remain uninitiated, the Z-List celebrates the most shockingly bizarre and often appalling pieces of cinematic trash the horror industry has to offer and lumps them together for your personal amusement. Many of the works that populate this inventory are of the “so bad they’re good” category, whereas others are just plain bad…period.
Yesterday, after releasing the eighth volume, I received a recommendation from one of the loyal Grueheads and I try my level best to accommodate requests wherever possible. I say recommendation where, to be honest, I’m unsure if this suggestion would have classified as such or whether it was simply one of the worst movies he had ever had the ill-fortune of sitting through. The title alone sounded somewhat dubious and Zombie Ass: Toilet of The Dead appeared to speak volumes for the overall quality. I managed to track it down and, with a little more foraging, located an English language version and promptly sat down to take this nugget of diabolical in. I’m not 100% sure what I was expecting to be fair but, 85 minutes later, I can state with assurance that I have rarely watched a film quite so utterly demented.
Zombie Ass is the work of a certain Noboru Iguchi, who may be familiar to you as the Tokyo-born director of Machine Girl, RoboGeisha, and, most relevantly, one of the more outré segments of The ABCs of Death named F is For Fart. Of all 26 slices of the macabre, Iguchi’s “F” entry is one of the more fondly remembered by many although it paled into insignificance against other stronger entries for Keeper if truth be known. That didn’t bode particularly well, given that this is effectively a feature-length extension of that parable. This actually arrived a year previous and tackled the same bodily function, whilst pushing the envelope far further than he did in his limited five-minute slot for the ABCs. What the hell was I letting myself in for?
Having now had the exclusive experience of Zombie Ass, I can safely say that it did something of a number on me, that numeral being two. Somehow, heaven knows exactly how, I found myself gleaning rather a lot of fun from Iguchi’s wacky horror/comedy and, even more bizarrely, it suits a full-length movie far more than it does a brief and fairly disposable interlude. Attempting to label it is difficult although those of you familiar with Ryûhei Kitamura’s glorious Versus or treasured Japanese TV series Monkey should have some idea what to expect here. Having said that, neither will have prepared you for your first outing with Megumi and friends. If you’re easily appalled or object to toilet humor then I would suggest you leave us here.
Rarely has synopsis been so totally unnecessary as with Zombie Ass but I shall attempt at giving you the rundown for what it’s worth. Martial artist Megumi is still reeling from the premature demise of her sister and decides that the best course of action is to embark on a vacation into the deepest woods with her friends in an attempt at relieving herself of the overbearing guilt that she feels. One of the party finds a parasite and promptly guzzles it down as you do but swiftly regrets her decision as the worm lays eggs inside her belly which promptly hatch, forcing her to make a quick dash for the nearest conveniently placed outhouse and drop the kids off at the pool so to speak. One bout of messy diarrhea later and the hapless Maki releases an ancient evil so horrendous that she rues her bowel movement, placing the whole group in mortal peril. That’s right; the shit hits the fan and I have never before used that term quite so literally as I do here.
Before long we are introduced to all manner of bronzed zombies fashioned from excrement with the ability to spew up feces at will and sporting anal tapeworms with gnashing teeth and rotating drill bit tips, complete with gaping sphincters. I kid you not; at one point we are even treated to a tapeworm duel and that is something I never thought I would witness as long as I lived. Thanks to Zombie Ass; I can now strike it off my wish-list. In addition, we have poison gas cloud emissions courtesy of flatulence and, once Megumi learns to harness the power caused by the gastrointestinal side effects of defecation, she even learns how to jet-propel herself from the ground and use her farts to take flight and engage in climactic battle with the rectal overlord. I swear I’m not even making this shit up.
If this film was ever translated Stateside, and I’m fairly assured that will not be on the cards any time soon, then it would likely be a mess of catastrophic proportions. Toilet humor is something of a hit-and-miss affair at the best of times and often seen as the lowest common denominator. However, our Eastern friends somehow manage to pull it off as only they can. Will you learn something from watching giving Zombie Ass a run out? Nope, you will likely drop IQ points at an alarming rate. Is it a one-joke affair? Largely yes, it’s one long 85 minute running fart gag and often far too infantile to do anything other than provoke a cringe. However, here comes the million dollop question. Is it enjoyable? I regret to inform you that it is massively fun, so long as you lend yourself to its poop-encrusted charms. Bang goes my reputation. Thanks a bunch Iguchi. Never again will I sit on my porcelain throne the same way although, thanks to you, I will always double flush.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 6/10
Grue Factor: 4/5
For the Shit-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: Plenty of incident here, with exploding heads, parasitic penetration, diarhittic damage, and ample dismemberment, albeit with a brown tinge as opposed to deep red. Over use of questionable CGI takes the sheen off somewhat but Iguchi knows only too well how to fling the fecal matter about with gay abandon. Asana Mamoru was actually suffering from stomach cramps the day of filming the outhouse scene and many of her farts were entirely authentic. Only in Zombie Ass would that be beneficial to filming although I feel for the poor poop zombie rising squarely beneath her anal crosshairs as he may well have gotten more than he bargained for. Now that really is shit in your eye. As for the pleasures of the flesh, Iguchi caters for our carnal yearnings by shoehorning in a protracted girl-on-girl shower scene which is, of course, utterly shameless. Alas, by that point, the nectarinal buttocks on exhibit will have taken on a far more ominous glow.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™