Director - Tetsuro Takeuchi
Cast - Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, Drum Wolf
Country of Origin - Japan
Discs - 1
Distributor - Synapse
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
Date - 04/27/13
The Film (4.5/5)
Wild Zero has been out for a good many years at this point, but it's a film I find myself revisiting time and again for one simple reason. It is absolutely one of THEE most fun horror films of the 2000's. It is a film that wears it's absurdity on it's leather-jacketed sleeve, and is a film that could be described a pure extreme cinematic delight.
Wild Zero follows the exploits of Ace, the number one fan of the Japanese punk rock band (and Ramones Clone) Guitar Wolf. One night while trying to prove his coolness he stumbles into a dispute between Guitar Wolf (the band) and a club owner, and ends up saving the bands lives. In exchange for his good deed, he becomes blood brothers with Guitar Wolf (also the name of the Guitarist), who gives him a whistle to blow if he finds himself in an emergency situation.
Well it turns out that emergency situation is right around the corner, when an Ed Wood-esque turn of events occurs. In this case an alien invasion of Japan resurrects the dead from their graves creating a zombie epidemic. During the beginning of this outbreak Ace accidentally breaks up a gas station robbery, and meets Tobio who he believes to be the girl of his dreams. But first he and Guitar Wolf must help in the struggle to stop the zombie-alien invasion!
Wild Zero takes the premise right out of Plan 9 from Outer Space, injects it with modern (for the time) special FX, and pulse pounding Japanese punk rock, and pretty extreme violence to create something truly unique. The thing about Wild Zero is that it is a film that is pretty well outside the realm of true critical analysis. The film is a vehicle for the band to promote themselves, look awesome, and create something truly fun for their fans, and to hopefully lure non-fans into the Guitar Wolf fold. I can actually see this film doing this better than any rock band-starring film since A Hard Days Night or Head (seriously though what's the competition Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park?) . The film doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should the viewer.
Wild Zero is loaded up with zombies, UFO's, loud rock and roll, and transexual romance. If that last sentence has peaked your interest, and you haven't seen Wild Zero, now a good time to check it out.
The Synapse DVD of Wild Zero is from 2003, and looking back at from the perspective of a pre-HD era DVD release the transfer looks fine. The film definitely shows off it's low budget roots, and has some minor softness throughout the transfer. The big issue with the 1:66:1 transfer looking at it from a 2013 perspective is that it is not 16x9 enhanced, and so will appear with black bars along 4 sides on an HD screen. That being said detail for the most part is very nice, as are the colors. The black levels are also very solid here, and flesh tones appear accurate.
The film is in Dolby Digital Stereo in Japanese with Optional English subtitles. The music and sound effects come through nice and loud as they should be for a film like this, and the dialogue is crisp and clear. I did not detect any instances of pops, cracks, or hissing on this track.
Remember how I said the viewer shouldn't take the film very seriously? Well apparently Synapse Films agreed, and included a drinking game option on their release of Wild Zero. They give 6 or so stipulations (like take a shot when fire comes out of something, or when someone says Rock and Roll!) when any of these occur a beer mug will appear in the top right corner of the screen indicating it's time to drink. If you are doing shots you will be drunk before the end of the first act, if you can stay conscious, you might have alcohol poisoning by the time the film is over. We then have the films theatrical trailer, a 2 minute music video, and some text based bios of the band and cast. Also included is a 7 minute "Easter Egg" interview with Shatter Dead director Scooter McCrae and Guitar Wolf.
To fun to pass up, Wild Zero is probably one of the most fun horror films to come out of the 2000's. The Synapse DVD maybe dated by this point, but it is still the way to go for fans of the film to catch this amazing Rock and Roll Alien Zombie Fest. If I was going on film alone this would be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, for the disc Recommended.