Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wild Zero (1999)

Wild Zero is has got to be one of my favorite movies of all time.  It's about an aspiring young rock 'n' roller named Ace, who's just finding his way in the world.  He wants to be the next big rock star, and he's got his rock 'n' roll look down pat, with his leather jacket, motorcycle, and greasy hair.  He's even met a cute young girl who might be his one true love.  Now he just needs to learn to, you know, play the guitar.  But just when things look like they are going his way, flying saucers invade the skies, triggering a "Plan 9 From Outer Space" style zombie outbreak!  Plus that girl he fell in love with?  Turns out she's got a penis.

The situation would be hopeless for anyone else, but Ace has an "ace" up his sleeve:  a magic whistle that calls his favorite rock 'n' roll band, Guitar Wolf!  With the help of Guitar Wolf and the power of rock 'n' roll, those zombies and flying saucers don't stand a chance!

Guitar Wolf Flings His Guitar Picks at a Horde of Zombies

This movie is just bonkers!  It's incredibly over-the-top wall-to wall fun.  It stars real life rock band Guitar Wolf.  Like the Alice Cooper band in the 1970s, Guitar Wolf is the name of the lead singer/guitar player as well as the name of the band. The other two members of the band are Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf.  The wolves look like the Ramones crossed with some 1950s greasers, and play their music loud, fast, and out of control.  These guys are an awesome band in real life, and they are great in the movie.  This is the kind of movie that "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" should have been.  Like Kiss in "Phantom," here the guys in the band appear to have some ill-defined super powers.  For instance, they can rock so hard in concert, that arcs of electricity start shooting out of there instruments. For the most part, though, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf just stay in the background combing their hair and let Guitar Wolf handle all the action scenes.  To be fair to those guys, Guitar Wolf has longer 1960s looking hair, but Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf have '50s pompadours, which require a lot of maintenance. 

Hideous Blue Zombies Want to Eat Your Flesh!
Band leader Guitar Wolf handles his action scenes well.  At one point he takes out a horde of zombies by tossing power-charged guitar picks at them like they were ninja throwing stars.  He also has has a sword hidden in the neck of his guitar, which he uses to cut a giant flying saucer in half with.  Another great thing?  He carries his guitar around with him wherever he goes, and strums out the opening chords to Link Wray's "Rumble" before he gets in to a fight.

While Guitar Wolf gets to strike rock poses and do all of the cool action scenes, it's up to Masashi Endô as Ace to do the bulk of the actual acting in the film.  He does a great job, his character is likeable and earnest, and not quite as cool as the rockers he looks up to, but still totally dedicated to rock 'n' roll.  Early in the film, Ace is about to enter the office of a local rock club owner, hoping to get a spot on the bill (despite the fact that he hasn't learned to play guitar yet).  He overhears the club owner (a small time crime lord known as The Captain) saying rock 'n' roll is dead, and he's just in it for the money.  Ace then bursts into the office infuriated, howling "Rock 'n' Roll never dies!"  He gets punched out for his trouble, but earns the respect of Guitar Wolf, who immediately cuts open his hand with a switchblade and makes the two of them "Rock 'n' Roll blood brothers!"

Not the reaction she was hoping for.
Ace Gets "Crying Gamed"
Ace's biggest conflict is with his own feelings, though, after he finds out that the girl he falls in love with has a little something extra in the trouser department.  He basically abandons her to the zombies after she reveals herself to him.  But then a Guitar Wolf appears to Ace in a vision, shouting "ACE!  Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders!  DO IT!!!"  At first Ace resists, but then realizes he can't leave her alone with the zombies no matter what, and soon realizes that he loves her anyway, despite her physical gender.

This movie is also packed with loud surf, punk, and garage rock from start to finish.  In addition to multiple tracks from the band Guitar Wolf, the soundtracks features Bikini Kill, The Oblivians, The Phantom Surfers & Dick Dale, The Zeros, Teengenerate, and more.

Flying Saucers Buzz the Pyramids

This is one of the best comedic zombie films, second in my mind only to Return of the Living Dead, and it's also one of the best rock "n' roll horror movies too.  If you're into rock music, horror, and outrageously ridiculous movies, then this is definitely one you should check out.

Zombie Victim


Here are some music videos of songs from Wild Zero!

Bikini Girl - Rebel Girl (1992)

The Phantom Surfers and Dick Dale - The Tell Tale Couch (1996)

The Zeros - Wild Weekend (1978)

Guitar Wolf - All Through The Night Buttobase! (1997)
(music video with behind the scenes footage from the movie!)

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