Boasting one of the more candid exploitation film titles of recent years, this micro-budget Japanese horror spoof arrives in eye-poking 3-D, no less. Once you’ve wrapped your brain around the opening quote attributed to Sergio Leone (“Where life has no value, death sometimes has its price”), Big Tits Zombie dives straight into a pitched battle between chainsaw wielding, cowgirl-attired exotic dancer Lena Jodo (Sora Aoi) and the ravenous, flesh-eating undead. Lena cheerily narrates how she came to be in this apocalyptic predicament. Lured by a seedy promoter into a dancing gig at a rundown hot-springs resort in a deserted suburban town, Lena and her fellow dancers: ex-jailbird Ginko (Risa Kasumi), Goth-Lolita minx Maria (Mari Sakurai), the aging Nene (Tamayo) and Thai immigrant Dana (Io Aikawa) wearily grind through the motions, shaking their stuff for the few elderly punters that turn up.
To stave off boredom, the girls sneak into the club’s basement where occult enthusiast Maria discovers a rare 16th century copy of “the Book of the Dead.” Reading aloud from the mystical tome, Maria inadvertently summons the dead back to life. Soon Japan is overrun by rampaging zombies. While Maria grows crazed from her newfound occult powers, the remaining dancers band together, arm themselves with chainsaws and samurai swords and set out to battle the undead. And hopefully collect a pay cheque for this lousy gig.
Back in the Nineties Takao Nakano carved a small niche for himself by producing a slew of no-budget porno-horror-action-spoofs aimed largely at fan-boys like himself. Notably his Exorcister (1994) films wherein cult manga artist-turned-actress Ippongi Ban plays a cigar-chomping ghost buster wielding a razor-edged crucifix in cowboy-hat and fishnet tights. Nakano began his eccentric career as a promoter of female sumo wrestling, or joshi-puro. Fusing elements from this unique form of entertainment with his enthusiasm for manga, retro-filmmaking fashions, sex (obviously) and especially the girl gang movies of the 1970s (Big Tits Zombies’ blood on breasts sequences hark back to the seedy glamour of Toei “Pinky Violence” classics such as Sex & Fury (1973)), Nakano established a style cult film writer Pete Tombs likened to “a unique combination of The Avengers, Monty Python and Deep Throat.”
Since then Nakano’s style has more or less gone mainstream in Japan to the point where bigger, slicker, more accomplished movies like Robo-Geisha (2009), The Machine Girl (2008) and Tokyo Gore Police (2008) have left his output looking even shoddier than it used to. Which might be why he has dipped into the 3-D well (in an amusing gag, a zombie slaps on his 3-D glasses before diving into battle). Shot with plenty of fan service leering at bosoms and buttocks, this is conceptually similar to the risible American indie horror spoofs Zombie Strippers (2008) and Zombies, Zombies, Zombies (2008) but proves rather wittier (“Cheap movies about girls with swords fighting zombies are popular now” observes one character). Nakano’s cracked creativity and obvious enthusiasm elevate this slightly higher than most of its ilk, but the film proves inevitably crass when compared to recent stylishly perverse sex-horror outings like Chanbara Beauty (2008).
Nakano does bring a mildly poignant undertone to proceedings as the dancers struggle to retain what dignity they have amidst the tacky milieu. The girls resolutely insist they are dancers not hookers, even though (in a reoccurring gag) a drunken Lena keeps waking up beside ugly old men. Thai immigrant Dana expires worrying how her brothers and sisters will live without her money to support them. Ginko is haunted by the kid sister unwittingly left in the clutches of a serial killer. Former porn actress Sora Aoi and popular pinup idol Mari Sakurai give likeable comic turns.
There are a handful of effective CGI and prosthetic effects but entrails are largely sausage links and strawberry jam and the zombie makeup is on par with a kids Halloween party. The film is basically silly and disposable, but nowhere as misogynistic as other indie efforts and goofily endearing. Those curious would likely do best to purchase this online, otherwise good luck asking for it at your local video store without sounding like a pervert.