Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Zombie Aliens” with a minor in “ROCK N’ ROLL!!!”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult downs a bottle of vodka, throws its TV out of the window, set its house on fire, and pogo’d naked on the roof screaming, “ROCK AND ROLL!!!!” after watching Wild Zero!
When Ace saves his favorite rock and roll band “Guitar Wolf” from a gun wielding sociopath, the band names him blood brother and gifts him a whistle to blow to call on them whenever he may need help. That time comes sooner than Ace might’ve hoped when the world is threatened by a zombie invasion! Only Ace and the power of love and rock and roll can save the world in Wild Zero!
Released in 1999, Wild Zero is a Japanese horror / comedy film directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi, a music video director. That being said, fellow supercultists…I have a confession to make: This movie is bananas.
It’s 2 parts Shaun of the Dead, 2 parts Scott-Pilgrim vs. The World, 1 part Miami Connection, and all of those parts combine into a Voltron-like Super Robot with laser eye beams (which this movie also has). Wild Zero aimed squarely at the schlocky B-movie target, but it didn’t just hit the target. Wild Zero smashed through the target, flew off tangential to the curvature of the earth into space, and blew up an unwitting planet in the Andromeda system with the power of its schlocky B-movie-ness. This is a movie where the main threat isn’t a zombie apocalypse. It’s a zombie apocalypse orchestrated by space aliens! This is a movie where the heroes aren’t just rock stars. It’s that the rock stars are actual goddam super heroes! This film has it all! Motorcycles! Bazookas! 3-way gun standoffs! Guitars with swords inside! Explosions! People’s heads exploding! Guys not looking at explosions! Guys on motorcycles Guys jumping out of exploding fourth floor windows while hitting a power-chord on their electric guitar while screaming, “ROCK AND ROLL!!!”
Guitar Wolf may not be as super-heroic as they are portrayed in the film, but Guitar Wolf IS an actual rock band and their albums are available in the US and one of their best albums “Planet of the Wolves” features the movie’s title track, “Wild Zero”. The band also exaggerated their on-stage antics to develop their on-screen personas, notably the constant hair combing and the front-man’s exaggerated beer-drinking style. Let it also be known that Guitar Wolf is a 3-man garage rock group composed of members Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, and Drum Wolf, which is totally boss. Guitar Wolf is basically a Japanese punk rock version of KISS and Wild Zero is Guitar Wolf’s version of Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, i.e. surreally and un-ironically awesome.
Beyond all the silliness and zombie gore, Wild Zero makes an incredibly subtle and often overlooked piece of social commentary. The heroine of the film, Tobio, is revealed to be transgender. Ace, the underplayed emotional hero of the film initially runs from the room screaming but after a brief meltdown he has a vision of Guitar Wolf who shouts, “Love has no borders, nationalities or genders! DO IT!” First off, it’s sort of awesome to compress the complexity of the issue to a single hilariously emphatic yell. Secondly, it isn’t long before the zombies return, Ace realizes Tobio is in danger, all uncertainty and hesitance is washed way, and he rushes to save her. Tobio’s gender is never brought back up. Conflict resolved. Let’s get back to cutting flying saucers in half with samurai swords. All this in 1999, a decade before LGBTQ issues became a legitimate part of the global conversation.
Ken Eisner of Variety says Wild Zero “has everything the midnight crowd could possibly want,” Michael W. Phillips, Jr. of Goatdog’s Movies says, “The film is silly, to be sure, but it’s done with such unbridled enthusiasm that it makes you want to go along unquestioningly,” and Ian Berriman of SFX Magazine says it’s “the sort of film that makes you want to down a bottle of vodka, throw your TV out of the window, set your house on fire, and pogo naked on the roof screaming, “ROCK AND ROLL!!!”
But here’s the kicker…Wild Zero has a 6.6 on IMDB but only 5 critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, all of them fresh, meaning that Wild Zero is one of the only Supercult films to have (at least at the moment) a 100% Rotten Tomatoes Score!
So kick back, relax, and enjoy a supercult film that, at least for now, has a better rotten tomatoes score than Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, Apocalypse Now, and The Godfather. The system works people…the system works.
The Supercult Show is proud to present, Wild Zero!