The title says it all with “Gothic & Lolita Psycho”, another blood-drenched slice of mad, low budget Japanese gore. The film was directed by Ohara Go, a man with plenty of experience in the cult genre, having worked previously on the cheap but cheerful “Chanbara Beauty” series and “Geisha Assassin”, backed up by Nishimura Yoshihiro, the special effects master responsible for “Tokyo Gore Police”, “Helldriver” and others, with a script from Kuroki Hisakatsu of the “Nightmare Detective” franchise.
The plot, such as it is, sees gravure model and winner of the 2007 “Best Buttocks” award Akiyama Rina as Yuki, a young girl seeking revenge for the murder and crucifixion of her mother during a family birthday party by a gang of unknown killers. Aided by her priest father and kitted out in full gothic lolita regalia, Yuki sets out working her way through the assassins, cutting them down with her deadly parasol and trying to find out the reason for her mother’s death.
Although it does build towards a twist ending of sorts, calling this a story would be somewhat remiss, as “Gothic & Lolita Psycho” is basically a vaguely connected series of random, bizarre and violent set pieces as Yuki takes revenge on her mother’s killers one by one. This is of course exactly as expected, and it’d be more of a surprise if the film had shown any level of depth or substance, Ohara Go sticking close to the usual genre template of putting chaos and carnage first and foremost.
The film certainly scores highly on the whack-o-meter, with the lace and leather-clad Yuki facing off against a strange collection of foes, including an extreme S&M yakuza moll (Tsukui Minami, “Geisha Assassin”), a one-eyed psychotic over-aged high school girl called Lady Elle (Momose Misaki, “I’m Coming to Get You”), and best of all, a levitating teacher. This all combines to give the film the vague feel of a deranged “Kill Bill” tribute, though one which feels like a more authentic take on the eccentricity of certain aspects of Japanese pop culture – or at least a cheerfully exploitative take on them for an international cult film audience.
Though there isn’t quite as much blood and gore thrown at the screen as in other Nishimura Yoshihiro films, there’s still plenty here to get the jaw dropping, with many a decapitation and disembowelling along the way to the wild finale. While the film was obviously a low budget affair, the effects are very enjoyable, Nishimura doing some great work as ever. Although to be fair this isn’t quite up to the standard of some of his other outings, moments where things do look blatantly fake or rubbery only serve to add to the overall gonzo entertainment value. Perhaps due to Ohara’s previous work as a stuntman, the fight scenes themselves enjoy some above average choreography for this kind of film, and though too over the top to be taken seriously, Yuki wielding a parasol weapon, complete with vicious blade and occasional machine gun attachment, they’re all a great deal of fun and include some decent martial arts and sword flurries.
This all helps to make sure that the film rattles along at a fast pace, with almost no filler material included whatsoever, and for anyone who enjoys outrageous Japanese splatter there’s really very little not to like with “Gothic & Lolita Psycho”. Despite not being quite as gruesome or over the top as other genre favourites, the film has better direction and action than most, Ohara Go showing some genuine talent behind the camera. Akiyama Rina is also very effective in the lead role, and though it’d be going (way) too far to suggest that she adds any real pathos to Yuki’s revenge quest, she certainly makes for an enthusiastic and convincingly angry heroine – no mean feat, given her ridiculous, and ridiculously cute costume.
Gô Ohara (director) / Hisakatsu Kuroki (screenplay)
CAST: Rina Akiyama … Yuki
Ruito Aoyagi … Masato
Asami … Shimada’s Girlfriend
Yukihide Benny … Shimada (Gambler)
Jonny Caines … Kamikaze Member #5
Eric Daniel … Kamikaze Member #4
Carl Fortin … Kamikaze Member #6