Saturday, October 8, 2016

who ya gonna call?

Remember that movie with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis where they went around fighting ghosts?

Remember when they remade it with a female cast and nobody complained?


Well then you mustn't have seen....

High School Ghosthustlers (AKA Haisukûru gôsutobasutâzu,1995).
Dir: Yoshinori Nishikioro.
Cast: Yuko Kitamura, Senna Matsuda, Yuka Nakamori, Daikichi Sugawara and  Minami Kurihara.

It's just an ordinary day in downtown Japan and students at the seemingly ordinary Ronresrie high school in Japan are busying themselves with serious study type stuff and the like.

All that is except for three oddball friends; Kyoko (the button-nosed Matsuda best known for Aoi hanabi and posing in a swimsuit), Mayu (big-faced beauty Kitamura best known as the voice of Sofia in Kaitei Daisensou: Ai no 20.000 Miles) and Emi (pant flashing photostar Nakamori), who are spending every waking minute - much to their teachers chagrin - setting up the school's very first Supernatural Phenomenon Research Club.

Which is kinda lucky really seeing as within minutes of then sticking the club sign of a noticeboard the school is suddenly being plagued by a string of bizarre suicides and spooky piano music after dark.

Nothing like getting straight into the action.

Especially when the films running time is just shy of 70 minutes.

Who you gonna call? Childline possibly.

So could the school really be haunted?

The club's faculty adviser, the terrifyingly eyebrowed Mr. Terry Shimada (TeeVee stalwart Sugawara) seems to think so and asks the girls to investigate.

Which seems a wee bit odd and even a little foolhardy until you think about it, it's probably a wee bit easier and a hell of a lot less embarrassing getting the kids to look into it than trying to persuade the police that there are ghosts involved (from my numerous run ins with the police in Tokyo they'd most likely pat him on the head and tell him it was rats) plus lets be honest, if any of the girls die during the investigation Shimada can always say it was just another suicide.

You have to hand it to him, the guys smart.

Our cute trio jump at the chance and immediately offer to mount (snigger) a midnight 'vigil' at the school and later that night, armed only with their home-made ghost hunting backpacks and a Hello Kitty torch sneak away from home and into the school gym.

Cue 10 minutes of short-skirted, pant flashing japes as our tween trio stumble around in the dark jumping occasionally when the mistake a shadow for a monster.

Comedy gold I'm sure you'll agree.

Realizing by this point that the audience may be losing the will to live waiting for some bona fide ghost action the 'spooky' music mentioned earlier suddenly begins to play, causing the girls to shiver and shake in their barely fitting (and fairly flimsy) school shirts.

Which is nice.

Not to worry tho' as it's just grounds-keeper Shimada, the schools Scottish  janitor practicing his Chopin after dark so as not to disturb anyone.


No ghosts, ghouls, kestrels or hockey clad maniacs here then.

Or are there?

Inside Stuart Hall's mind.

Just as the disappointed darlings are about to leave the school, the janitor - now clad in a pound shop hockey mask no less - comes searching for the trio.

It appears he's been a very bad lad, forcing himself on the girls at the school before using his hypnotic powers to persuade them to commit suicide in order to cover his tracks.

You never got this in Grange Hill.

Which is a shame because as a kid I actually wrote a storyline where the lovely Georgina Hayes (Samantha Lewis - like you needed reminding) was haunted by the spirit of Danny 'Deadpool' Kendall that culminated in an ectoplasmic undead orgy during sports day.

The production team never answered my letter.*

Do you remember the first time?

Apart from the mask, any resemblance to a certain Mr Voorhees is soon laid to rest when the girls easily beat the jailbait jiggling jannie into submission before calling the relevant authorities.

Which is kinda worrying that Japan has an entire police department dedicated to catching hypno-eyed pedo janitors.

Tho' it does kinda explain why my Uncle Rob turned down a job there.

After a nice cup of hot chocolate and a few hours sleep the girls return to school the next day to a heroes welcome from the very grateful Mr. Shimada who, it transpires has another job for them.

Yikes, it's turned into a teenage Charlie's Angels but with starchier underwear and slightly more believable plots.

Talking of plots let's get back to this one where it seems that he kids over at the rival Onin high school have been playing about with Ouija boards causing the sailor suited female students to suddenly drift into deep trances and shed their uniforms.

Mr. Shimada has an ulterior motive for wanting the girls help tho', he is madly in love with the bookish Miss Yuki (the glass-eyed Kurihara in her only film role), a teacher at the school.

Shimada hopes that if the team can stop the supernatural stripping that it will impress her enough to allow him to take her to dinner.

See? It's not all saucy spectral shenanigans - there's a human interest story too.

The girls eagerly agree to help and, after watching a few of the (more attractive) students spookily undress - whilst writhing around and shouting "mwaaaaaaaah" obviously - for a while announce that the school is suffering from 'bad feng shui', which Emi decides to rectify with a quick exorcism.

Cased closed.

 or is it?

Well there is half an hour left and none of the main cast had shed any clothes yet so what do you think?

On closer inspection Emi discovers that whatever demons possesses the school - and it's nearly naked pupils - is refusing to leave without a (very sticky and tentacle based) fight and is already hatching a diabolical plan to stop the girls.

Or at least come up with a scenario that will have them stripped to their undies and covered in KY jelly whilst wriggling about clutching some hastily painted hose pipes in a vain attempt to suggest that they're being molested by monsters.

If nothing else you have to admire their dedication.

I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my arse....then again...

As the girls attempt to head back to their school in order to formulate a defense, poor Yuki (remember her?), overcome with fear rushes to the toilet for a big wee where she is unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you feel about - PG friendly -  hentai) attacked by scary mind controlling slugs.

Tho' how they manage to take over her brain by crawling up her leg and under her skirt rather than in her ear is a mystery I still can't fathom.

Must be a teacher thing.

Approaching the school gates our haunting-hating heroines alongside the lovelorn Shimada are accosted by a decidedly much less librarian-like Yuki (now looking like a bad Belinda Carlisle drag act) who, with only a flutter of her eyelashes and a tease of ankle manages to convince Shimada that there are no ghosts in the school and the stripping/tripping girls thing was just rehearsals for the Christmas panto.

Sounds legit.

"Aye Shimada I forgot to say, it's the weans nude day today!"

She then seductively whispers that she needs to talk to him in private.

Ding dong.

Rather than wait around for him to come back the girls decide that seeing as they've got a free couple of hours plus all their hi-tech ghostbusting gear with them that'd it'd probably be in their best interests if they had a wee poke around anyway and to this end Mayu breaks out the patented 'annoyingly high-pitched, no really if it doesn't stop I'm putting my foot thru' the screen' ghost detector, a device that appears to serve no purpose other than keep the viewer awake long enough to see the next slimy thing crawls into a ladies secret garden scene.

Which, don't worry, will be along shortly.

But first Kyoko and Emi have a toilet full of horny horror slugs to deal with.

With Mayu keeping watch (well she does have the biggest face and by default the largest eyes) the dynamic duo get down to kicking some slug arse - tho' to be honest I'm not too sure if slugs have arses).

Everything is going swimmingly (sluggily?) until one of the wee blighters sneakily makes its way into Mayu's undies transforming her from a studious student of the supernatural to a raving lesbian saucepot in a matter of seconds.

But that's not all as now our baw-faced beauty is intent on having 'the sex' with Kyoko and Emi.

Whether they like it or not.

Luckily Emi has hitherto unmentioned psychic powers and is able to see the sex starved spirit possessing her friend and therefore exorcise it before Emi sheds  too many clothes.


"Is it in yet?"

Regrouping (and redressing) the girls are startled by a strange moaning noise that appear to be coming from the gymnasium and rush to investigate, finding, to their horror  - and possibly disgust -  a naked Mr. Shimada being violently ridden by the possessed Yuki.

But worse than that, Emi can see that the once mousy teacher is actually possessed by the ghost of a hugely obese sweaty old man.

Just go with it, it's much easier trust me.

Emi attempts another exorcism but the fat man is too strong, turning her spooky powers against her before possessing both Kyoko and Mayu.

Don't worry too much tho' as before he can psychically debase our delectable duo who should turn up but Emi's dad.

And guess what?

He just happens to be a professional exorcist.

Lucky eh?

Using his knowledge of the dark arts - alongside a feather on a stick - he rescues the trio and leads them to safety.

What a guy.

Just a pity he couldn't be a few minutes later tho'.

Can you tell me what it is yet?

It appears that Emi's dad has made an interesting discovery, Onin High is actually built on a former red light district famously frequented by  Mr. Bunbei "ten girls a day" Echigoya; a fat sweaty old man who famously died under a prostitute.

Unfortunately he died before 'his ship had set sail' so to speak and his frustrated ghost had become a magnet for every other sex-starved spirit in the afterlife.

And now these spirits are lose, accidentally released by Emi when she attempted to exorcise the school earlier.

With the evil power gaining strength thru' the possessed pupils orgasms (and the remaining slug transforming into a 6 ft tentacled cock creature) will the girls alongside Emi's dad  be able to defeat the horny horrors of Onin high and save the soul (not to mention the honour) of Ms. Yuki?

Well there's only about 12 minutes left so they better be quick about it.

Suited and booted for battle - in, I kid you not camouflage bikinis and some streamers on a stick -  and armed with ghost sucking vacuum cleaners the girls charge into the school and begin to attack the fat mans ghost army, battling their way to the roof in order to confront Mr. Bunbei and end his randy reign of rudeness.....

You really have to feel for writer/director Yoshinori Nishikioro now seen as a major player in Japanese cinema - his 2002 film The White Ship marked the highest national box-office revenue of all Japanese films screened at independent cinemas in Japan that year - his other movies, including Heart of the Sea (2003), Miracle Banana (2006) and RAILWAYS (2010) are celebrated for his warm and detailed depictions of everyday life whilst his heart-warming Aomori-set family drama WASAO (also 2010), the tale of a “busakawa-ken” and its relationship with the townsfolk around him saw him hailed as Japan's Steven Spielberg.

Mysteriously tho' if you check his official website it lists his directorial debut as the 1996 film Baguzu.

You remember Baguza don't you?

It starred Gô Awazu as a fisherman.

If not you really should search it out because it's actually very good.

But I digress.

"Fiona! Where's mah lunch?"

So why would he lie about his first film?

Is he not proud of the first - and best - gender swapping supernatural comedy?

Or did the evil empire that is Sony cruelly threaten him with legal action and/or violence if he didn't destroy every copy save it make their 2016 reboot look bad?

You decide.

Saying that I've read somewhere that he was frankly mortified to be associated with a straight to video paranormal perv-fest that objectifies girls in school uniforms as masturbation fodder whose only reason for being onscreen is to be defiled by poorly built tentacles and clockwork slugs?

Nah, that's ludicrous.

Dr. Jillian Holtzmann. Just because.

If there's anything for Nishikioro to be embarrassed by it's the fact that despite it being an excuse to indulge the (go on the mainly male) audiences schoolgirl fetishes whilst showcasing a good few pervy tentacle scenes for good measure, he somehow managed to make the film into a - fairly - family friendly comedy that is not only at times actually funny but also manages to be surprisingly not that offensive.

Plus it's lit well and looks nice  - Ye gads, i'm discussing the production/shooting values of a Japanese VOD movie - which is a pleasant change from the usual crap (sorry, undiscovered gems) I watch.

And let's be honest the ghosts on show here are actually a wee bit more impressive than those in Ghostbusters '16 plus the genuinely sinister Bunbei Echigoya pisses over Neil Casey's embarrassingly bland Rowan North.

If only Paul Feig had used this as the basis for his all-girl reboot we'd be here hailing it as a comedy classic rather than a so-so played safe reboot attempting to bask in audience awareness of a much-loved brand whilst attempting to alienate it's core fan group**.

Plus the thought of Kate McKinnon proton-packing a load of CGI monster cocks whilst dancing to DeBarge is something modern cinema needs.

Recommended to anyone who likes a good old fashioned Carry On/St. Trinians style British comedy.
Albeit one with added slimy cock monsters and tentacles.

Which if I'm honest is most of the folk reading.

*They did answer my submission to Eastenders tho' here's the proof alongside my storyline.


**And before anyone starts sending me death threats - it's not unusual - I actually really enjoyed the Ghostbusters reboot.

So there.

No comments: