PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.
Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks provide background details as the story unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last.
In fact, I’ll give you my personal guarantee: if you aren’t as blown away as I was by this movie’s climactic revelation … I don’t know what you can do about it. (Just a little something for my fellow Marx Brothers fans out there.)
At any rate lovers of J-Horror know the type of surreal, over-the-top bloodletting and gory violence that awaits in Psycho Gothic Lolita. Yuki’s weapons of choice are umbrellas that are souped-up like the guitars in Once Upon A Time In Mexico and in many Spaghetti Westerns. If you don’t see the logic of her using modified umbrellas just remember it goes with her “look.”
Umbrellas are essential to Goth women to block out the sun and keep their skin pale, so Yuki makes a virtue out of fashion necessity by wielding high-tech bumbershoots that have razor-sharp points, shoot bullets like a machine-gun, are bullet-proof themselves and are stronger than steel. Burgess Meredith, eat your heart out!
Our main character expertly employs these weapons to impale, disembowel and shred her opponents to bloody, fleshy ribbons. Yuki’s most blood-spattered move is to run a foe through with a closed umbrella, then open it while the victim is still clinging to life so they can feel the agony of their torso being torn apart by the opening of the umbrella. Look, you’re either committed to movies like this or you just aren’t.
Yuki’s quarries are three men and two women but naturally there are plenty of collateral victims to go around. Our protagonist’s first attack takes place at a Yakuza gambling den run by Sakie, a ruthless woman with supernatural powers who is Yuki’s initial target.
The Psycho Gothic Lolita has to slaughter plenty of Sakie’s Yakuza thugs to get to the Main Event, with the most memorable kill involving a hood whose spaghetti meal we viewers get to see going IN and then OUT when Yuki disembowels him. It’s the kind of scene Quentin Tarantino often rips-off from Asian movies and it stays with you.
Our main character’s next target amps up the perversity AND the incidental absurdity so crucial to J-Horror. He’s a super-powered Uri Geller pastiche – yes, only the Japanese would be ballsy enough to go with a Uri Geller joke in 2010.
Anyway, “Uri Gelleo” as he’s named has supernatural powers like his namesake pretended to. He’s even introduced trying to mentally bend a spoon to show off for some young female students in the school where he teaches. There are the expected strong hints that he preys on some of the girls in his charge.
Yuki’s battle with Uri Gelleo is the silliest action scene and overdoes the anime-style humor so much it almost ruins the terrific atmosphere the movie had maintained so far.
I much preferred the next comic relief bit in which our heroine kicked the butts of a posing, hyper-macho street gang called Kamikaze. They were equal parts Boy-Band and Martial Arts Fighters and were stylishly trashed by Yuki. The reason: they were trying to prey on her next target, a sympathetic man who has turned away from his previous life.
Psycho Gothic Lolita is at heart a horror film, not just a blood-soaked actioner and Yuki proves utterly ruthless even against this foe who has reformed from their previous life and gone straight. Our heroine’s coldly unforgiving nature is jarring.
Up next is Lady Elle, a second female among our protagonist’s targets. Lady Elle has weapons and powers that so thoroughly rival Yuki’s that it takes two separate battles to bring her down. The scenes with this foe provided the best balance between absurd comedy and gory violence.
Masato the Vicious Gentleman is the final adversary that Yuki faces, and in the type of coincidence that is crucial to good storytelling he is also the most powerful and dangerous foe of them all. He is the one who reveals the secrets surrounding Yuki and her father, a crippled priest who has been helping her in her revenge quest.
Psycho Gothic Lolita is not for all tastes. Many viewers are put off by J-Horror’s bizarre mix of cartoonish violence one moment and graphic gore and sexuality the next and back again. I loved it, especially the apocalyptic ending which put me in mind of Rabid Grannies at times.
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