Wild Zero (1999) is a delightfully outrageous Japanese zombie film starring the extremely loud Japanese noise/punk trio Guitar Wolf. Wild Zero, directed by video auteur Tetsuro Takeuchi, is like Japan’s answer to Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) with the Ramones, except with flying saucers and zombies!
Wild Zero is my second favorite Japanese zombie movie. My first favorite is Ryuhei Kitamura‘s awesome Versus (2000), and, my third favorite is OneChanbara (2008), followed by Atsushi Muroga‘s Junk (2000), Yoshihiro Nishimura‘s Helldriver (2010), and Big Tits Zombie (2010). I am, however, not a big fan of the acclaimed Tokyo Zombie (2005). Anyway …
In Wild Zero, rocker Ace (Masashi Endo) is Guitar Wolf‘s biggest fan. After a show, Ace wanders backstage, and, inadvertently, interrupts an armed confrontation between Guitar Wolf and the club’s manager Captain (Makoto Inamiya), who prefers to wear short shorts and a pageboy haircut! But, thanks to Ace‘s entrance, Guitar Wolf, the band, prevails, shooting Captain‘s finger off. So, Guitar Wolf, the musician, makes Ace his blood brother, gives him a whistle, and tells him: “Whistle when you’re in danger.” Then, Guitar Wolf, the band, rides off into the night, with flames shooting from Guitar Wolf‘s motorcycle exhaust pipes. Meanwhile, flying saucers are converging upon Japan causing the dead to become flesh-eating zombies …
Ace, on his way to the next Guitar Wolf show, stops at a gas station, and, inadvertently, interrupts a robbery, where he meets an adorably cute girl, Tobio (Shitichai Kwancharu), and, they fall instantly in love. He saves her from a zombie attack, and, they find refuge in an abandoned factory, where Tobio reveals her horrifying secret: she’s actually a boy! Ace freaks, leaving Tobio to fend for herself, and, faced with dire circumstances, he uses his whistle to call for Guitar Wolf. Guitar Wolf and his bandmates, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf, set out to find Ace, and run unto hippie lovers Hanako (Taneko) and Toshi (Yoshiyuki Morishita), whose stoner friend tried to rob the gas station, and sexy arms dealer Yamazaki (Haruka Nakajo), who was attacked by zombies while taking a shower.
Awesome Guitar Wolf Scene #1: Guitar Wolf, Hanako and Toshi watch as Yamazaki‘s vehicle stops before them, and is engulfed by zombies. Guitar Wolf casually draws his handgun, shouts “Rock ‘n’ roll!!” as he pulls the trigger, only to realize that he didn’t pull the hammer back. He chuckles, pulls the hammer back, and drops a zombie. Then, he begins to deal out dozens of guitar picks from the palm of his hand, that act like ninja shuriken, killing the rest of the zombies, saving Yamazaki. “What the Hell are you?” she asks. “Guitar Wolf,” they reply.
Eventually, Guitar Wolf finds Ace. He tells him that he has to go save Tobio. “Love has no borders, nationalities or gender,” he says. Ace listens. But, soon, Captain finds Guitar Wolf, wanting retribution for his finger.
Awesome Guitar Wolf Scene #2: Captain launches a grenade at Guitar Wolf in the second floor of a building, and, as it explodes into flames, Guitar Wolf, his guitar strapped across his back, jumps from the window, landing on the street below, on one bended knee, amidst ambling zombies. But, first, he makes sure that his guitar is still tuned, then, he draws his handgun!
Captain is electrocuted after a fight with Guitar Wolf, but, he returns with the ability to shoot powerful lasers from his eyes. And, when all hope seems lost, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf show up with a bazooka, firing a rocket through Captain‘s belly, into his car, which explodes into flames, incinerating him.
Awesome Guitar Wolf Scene #3: Guitar Wolf stands atop a building as the gigantic mothership descends. He draws a katana from the neck of his guitar, holds it up, and slices the ship down the center, as it flies over him. The ship explodes, and, all the zombies drop dead. Guitar Wolf has saved Japan!
Wild Zero is absolutely stunning over-the-top Japanese brilliance!
Guitar Wolf, the band, formed in Nagasaki in 1987. They were Seiji (aka Guitar Wolf), Billy (aka Bass Wolf) and Toru (aka Drum Wolf). However, Billy died of a heart attack in 2005, and, was replaced by U.G. The band has released more than 10 albums since 1993. Guitar Wolf‘s sound is best described as an extremely loud and noisy mix of Link Wray and the Ramones. They even covered Link Wray‘s instrumental classic “Rumble” on their 1997 album Planet of the Wolves.
“Jet Generation” and “Fujiyama Attack”, from Jet Generation (1999), are two of my favorite Guitar Wolf songs, and, both can be heard in Wild Zero. Jet Generation has been called “the loudest CD in history.” It’s true. Listen to any one of your favorite songs, on your iPod, at a comfortable level, then, skip to “Fujiyama Attack”. Let me know how that works out for your ears. Awesome album, but …
Loverock (2004) is, overall, my favorite Guitar Wolf album. It’s raw, loud, and noisy, but, also insanely melodic! But, if you like your Japanese noise/punk a little less noisy, try UFO Romantics (2003). That one’s sound is much cleaner than the rest of their albums.
Watch the trailer for Wild Zero here: