This was the third long weekend I've spent in the company of Tokyo-based directors Yoshihiro Nishimura and Noboru Iguchi.
Nishimura, famous for his high-octane TOKYO GORE POLICE, is the type of guy who will quietly keep to himself, puffing on a cigarette and calmly discussing the cinematic benefits of a character's massive arterial spray. His face permanently framed within his trademark glasses, the man sips gingerly on a glass of shochu, editing his latest feature with the calm, steady-handed determination of a Renaissance artisan.
It almost doesn't matter that the scene in question features a zombie woman using her zombie baby (still attached to her via umbilical cord) as a projectile weapon. The man is clearly entertained.
The outlook of MACHINE GIRL and ROBO-GEISHA director Iguchi, on the other hand, hints at an upstart Peter Jackson; the type of genius filmmaker who can coat the screen with screaming, skinned bodies and still have you rolling with hysterical laughter as he works his demented magic. Toss in a prolific porn background and a very public infatuation with things entering or exiting butts, and it would be a fair assumption that Iguchi is, without a doubt, a truly one-of-a-kind action filmmaker.
After all, Robert Rodriguez's résumé never included BEAUTIFUL GIRL ON TOILET 2: SECRET EXCREMENT.
Their casts include everyone from model-turned-AUDITION star Ehi Shiina to burgeoning superstar Takumi Saito. Some, like adorable AV idol Asami and bartender Demo Tanaka, have been with them from the start - and as the directors' films have grown, so have their casts' onscreen talents.
Through sheer willpower (and a touch of Cronenberg-inspired body horror), Iguchi and Nishimura have shaped these everyday people into skilled character actors - now holding their own against some of Japan's finest.
Pole dancer-turned-actress Cai Izumi and Asami - with swords coming out of their asses.
But what makes Nihismura and Iguchi so special to me is that they're actually having fun. They're not making award-winning films about the history of their country or the struggles that they, as a people, have endured. They're making movies about girls with chainsaw legs and wristcutters who bleed fire.
But now, not only are sizable audiences now enjoying them - the big boys are finally paying attention. Nikkatsu, one of the oldest film studios in the world, recently created the Sushi Typhoon branch under the supervision of veteran producer Yoshinori Chiba, with the goal of financing even more low budget slapstick splatter. We're talking about the American equivalent of Universal Pictures giving Lloyd Kaufman $500K to make THE TOXIC AVENGER 5. It just doesn't happen - yet somehow, these men have found a way.
In a time when anyone with a camera can make a film, these movies - these wild, brilliant, and fun movies - are the future of cinema. Maybe not your cinema, but certainly mine. I've loved movies for as long as I can remember, and only a few times in my life have I actually stepped back from one and thought, "This is where I want film to go."
These are filmmakers who are bucking the industry, throwing caution to the wind, and finding a way to make the world embrace their perversions. Their passions, fetishes, and beautiful insanity are up there for the whole world to see - hopefully inspiring others to do the same.
My friends Yoshihiro Nishimura and Noboru Iguchi are gore-drenched deviants, and have done what I can only dream of. They've proven to major studios that the social dementia they have to offer is just as valuable as the social norm.
Martial arts robots, cars made out of human limbs, and sword-sprouting breasts aren't going to win these men Oscars... but try as I might, I can't think of anything else I'd rather watch, support, or be a part of.
Viva La Revolución, Japan.