As If High School Isn't Tough Enough Already Without a Chainsaw for an Arm?

Ninja bloodbath

As the third season of Venture Bros. helps those who don Aquaman-themed pajamas pass the time ‘til Comic-Con, nerdom’s cinephiles – busily anticipating this year’s Fantastic Fest – can find an additional arm for their support network from the June 3 release of The Machine Girl. Media Blasters purchased the film, which was initially set to screen at Fantastic Fest this fall. The Alamo Drafthouse held a sneak screening of it last Monday at the South Lamar location (no word yet on an Austin theatrical run). Directed by Noboru Iguchi, this Japanese gore-fest follows the revenge quest of a high school girl name Ami (Minase Yashiro) as she rains destruction upon a yakuza ninja family for the murder of her little brother, Yu, and his schoolmates.

Upon her first run in with the family, Ami loses an arm. A machinist couple (also wronged by the family) saves her, and subsequently fashion her two, Bruce Campbell-approved prosthetics: a machine gun and a chainsaw. With the help of her new, mechanically inclined friend, Maki, Ami employs a variety of deadly techniques. With a Crock Pot of human head soup and a knife, she murders a thug’s misguided mother. She uses a special spike attachment for her machine gun to kill the portable guillotine-wielding, yakuza patriarch. And with a puddle of human urine, she electrocutes the yakuza family’s matriarch. (Makes sense to me.) This low-budget’s bloodbaths often rely on a technique not much more advanced than Saturday Night Live’s vomit hose. But this makes its ability to maintain a respectable level of sincerity even more impressive. It also houses a nice balance between unique death sequences and the need to engage genre fans with always-fun, “wait-for-it” scenes. For example, in one sequence, several throwing stars slice up a man who then remains standing for a few seconds before he breaks up into a pile of human puzzle pieces. This is predictably fun as even mainstream movies like The Cube and Resident Evil use similar techniques. But unlike many of its bloody brethren, The Machine Girl doesn’t stop there. In the next scene Noboru Iguchi provides a new twist with a humorous shot of the man’s wife, as she mourns over an arm and what appears to be a piece of leg… or maybe neck? Either way, this balance keeps the film from falling into the potentially over-done category of “homage.” Besides, it found an appropriate use for the drill bra. That invention belongs up there with soap. Or at least Donnie Darko’s bunny suit.

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The Machine Girl, Fantastic Fest

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