Action / Adventure, Comedy, Films, Gore, Horror, Japan, Recommended posts, Revenge, Reviews

Gothic & Lolita Psycho

Madcap splatter ensues as when a young costumed girl goes on the revenge trail in this off the wall gore thriller…

The title says it all with Gothic & Lolita Psycho, another blood-drenched slice of mad, low budget Japanese gore. The film was directed by Go Ohara, a man with plenty of experience in the cult genre, having worked previously on the cheap but cheerful Chanbara Beauty series and Geisha Assassin, here backed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, the special effects master responsible for Tokyo Gore Police, Helldriver and others, with a script from Kuroki Hisakatsu of the Nightmare Detective franchise.

The plot, such as it is, sees gravure model and winner of the 2007 ‘Best Buttocks” award Akiyama Rina as Yuki, a young girl seeking revenge for the murder and crucifixion of her mother during a family birthday party by a gang of unknown killers. Aided by her priest father and kitted out in full gothic lolita regalia, Yuki sets out working her way through the assassins, cutting them down with her deadly parasol and trying to find out the reason for her mother’s death.

Although it does build towards a twist ending of sorts, calling this a story would be somewhat remiss, as Gothic & Lolita Psycho is basically a vaguely connected series of random, whacky and violent set pieces as Yuki takes revenge on her mother’s killers one by one. This is of course exactly as expected, and it’d be more of a surprise if the film had shown any level of depth or substance, Go Ohara sticking close to the usual genre template of putting chaos and carnage first and foremost. The film certainly scores highly on the bizarrometer, with the lace and leather-clad Yuki facing off against a strange collection of foes, including an extreme S&M yakuza moll (Tsukui Minami, Geisha Assassin), a one-eyed psychotic over-aged high school girl called Lady Elle (Momose Misaki, I’m Coming to Get You), and best of all, a levitating teacher. This all combines to give the film the vague feel of a deranged Kill Bill tribute, though one which comes across as a more authentic take on the eccentricity of certain aspects of Japanese pop culture – or at least a cheerfully exploitative take on them for an international cult film audience.

Though there isn’t quite as much blood and gore thrown at the screen as in other Yoshihiro Nishimura films, there’s still plenty here to get the jaw-dropping, with many a decapitation and disembowelling along the way to the wild finale. While the film was obviously a low budget affair, the effects are very enjoyable, Nishimura doing some great work as ever, and although to be fair this isn’t quite up to the standard of some of his other outings, moments where things do look blatantly fake or rubbery only serve to add to the overall gonzo entertainment value. Perhaps due to Ohara’s previous work as a stuntman, the fight scenes themselves enjoy some above average choreography for this kind of film, and though too over the top to be taken seriously, Yuki wielding a parasol weapon, complete with vicious blade and occasional machine gun attachment, they’re all a great deal of fun and include some decent martial arts and sword flurries.

This all helps to make sure that the film rattles along at a fast pace, with almost no filler material included whatsoever, and for anyone who enjoys outrageous Japanese splatter, there’s really very little not to like with Gothic & Lolita Psycho. Despite not being quite as gruesome or over the top as other genre favourites, the film has better direction and action than most, Go Ohara showing some genuine talent behind the camera. Akiyama Rina is also very effective in the lead role, and though it’d be going (way) too far to suggest that she adds any real pathos to Yuki’s revenge quest, she certainly makes for an enthusiastic and convincingly angry heroine – no mean feat, given her ridiculous, and ridiculously cute costume.

Join us every Thursday for the latest in James’ #cineXtremes series.

About the author

James MudgeJames Mudge James Mudge
From Glasgow but based in London, James has been writing for a variety of websites over the last decade, including BeyondHollywood in the US and YesAsia in Hong Kong. As well as running film consultancy The Next Day Agency, James is also the Festival Director of the Chinese Visual Festival in London, an annual event which showcases Chinese language cinema... More »
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