Mike Favata is another person that I’ve been friends with for a number of years. Mike is easily one of the funniest (as well as one of the nicest guys) I know, so it’s a great personal pleasure to welcome him to this year’s proceedings.
Mike runs Morbid Movies, a news and review site, as well as the host of the Palm Beach County Grindhouse Series. Each month, Morbid Movies screens horror classics at Movies of Lake Worth in Lake Worth, FL. If you are in the area, please consider joining them for their screening of Halloween 3 this October 14th.
Mike chose 1999’s Wild Zero for his Halloween Horrors debut. Besides having arguably the most tonally different film in this year’s list, Mike may also have the most interactive entry of the year. Just don’t watch and drive.
I’m beyond psyched to have the pleasure to write about and hopefully introduce some of you who haven’t seen it to one of my guiltiest of Halloween horror picks. As a long time fan of both punk rock music and cheesy b-horror movies, there wasn’t that many crossover films for me to celebrate Halloween with besides the first Return of the Living Dead (which is still of course one of my all-time favorites). All the way back in 2003, right before Halloween, I was luckily given a very poor quality bootleg Video CD (It’s a real format. Look it up) of a Japanese movie called ‘Wild Zero’.
Originally released in 1999, ‘Wild Zero‘ is a very gory rock’n’roll tale of zombies, loud punk rock music, alien invasion, true love, and finding acceptance for who you really are. The film features Japanese garage rock heroes ‘Guitar Wolf’, who also of course did the soundtrack. Think something along the lines of the Ramones’ Rock ‘N’ Roll High School movie if there was no school and instead you had zombies and pure adrenaline fueled insanity.
I’m going to make an attempt to explain the plot of this movie without readers thinking I made this up… It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll give it a shot. It all begins when a giant meteor crashes from space into Asahi, Japan. The meteor crash reanimates the dead, which of course means there’s zombie havoc spreading throughout the country. This zombie outbreak goes completely unnoticed by our accidental hero, “Ace”, because he’s too busy getting ready to go to a club and see his favorite band in the world, Guitar Wolf. After Guitar Wolf’s fiery set, Ace decides to confront the club owner and demand a shot at being a “rock star”. Needless to say, none of this goes well and there’s a shootout involving the owner and Guitar Wolf where a few body parts are lost in the process. This also gives the movie a villain in the evil club owner.
To escape the fallout of the club incident, Ace hits the road on his motorcycle and ends up meeting his love interest, Tobio, on the side of the road. I won’t ruin it for you, but let’s just say that Tobio has a very “big” secret. An M. Night Shamalayan-esque twist type secret. Ace also ends up foiling an attempted robbery by a trio of hilarious side characters. We’re also introduced to a sexy, ass-kicking, weapons dealing mercenary, as well as a lot more explosions, zombies, and all-around chaos. Most of this is way out of Ace’s league, so he ends up needing help from his heroes Guitar Wolf to save the day! Did I mention aliens? Oh, I did? Yeah, there are aliens too.
I will tell you that the film has also a hilarious drinking game. You drink whenever anyone drinks, anyone combs their hair, a head explodes, fire shoots out of anything, or anyone says ROCK AND ROLL. While all of these things will happen multiple times throughout the course of the movie, there’s a scene where 4 of these will happen at once!
While this may not be a conventional Halloween movie choice, it’s one I’m pretty proud of. If you’re a fan of B-movies, Japanese horror, zombies, and/or loud rock ‘n’ roll, pick up ‘Wild Zero‘. And remember what your friends in Guitar Wolf tell you, “love has no borders, nationalities, or genders!”
Wild Zero is still in print and available in the states on DVD from distributor Synapse films. Unfortunately it has yet to be released on Blu-ray.