Director’s Cut of Helldriver with Yoshihiro Nishimura and Eihi Shiina

Right to Left: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Eihi Shiina, & Marc Walkow

NEW YORK, April 28 – As the kick-off event for a North American fundraiser called Splatter Matters, the New York screening of Helldriver was a huge success with special guests: director Yoshihiro Nishimura (西村喜廣) and actress Eihi Shiina (椎名英姫). The benefit is a multi-city film festival organized by Sushi Typhoon and Rue Morgue magazine. Screening exclusively Sushi Typhoon’s titles, the festival plans to donate all of the proceeds to various Tohoku earthquake relief charities.

The never-before-seen director’s cut of Helldriver was introduced by director Nishimura. He talked about the thematic focus of the film, and the charity aspect of the event. Although one can easily make an analogy between the film and the current disaster in Japan, he said that it was not his intention and cautioned against such inferences. After all the project was conceived and filmed before the earthquake.

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Helldriver is the story of an abused teenaged girl named Kika (played by Yumiko Hara) whose mother (played by Shiina) turns into a zombie queen. Shiina’s character proceeds to release a mysterious black mist turning most of northern Japan into flesh-eating zombies. This causes a zombie apocalypse forcing the government to erect a wall bisecting the island nation. In true cheezy action hero form, Kika is the only person who can stop her mother from destroying the rest of Japan. She is eventually joined by a group of other “volunteers”, and they embark on a mission to stop the zombie plague.

After the screening, the nearly nude Nishimura returned to the theater making his way through the middle of the crowd. Armed with his baby zombie prop and wearing only a fundoshi (sumo loincloth), he introduced his zombie love child to some of the audience members. He slowly made his way down the middle row letting people touch the disfigured humanoid baby. After his impromptu meet and greet, the director finally joined Shiina on stage for questions and answers (Q&A).

After answering a few questions about Helldriver, the focus of discussion quickly shifted to Shiina’s memorable role as the sadistic Asami in Audition (オーディション). Waving DVD copies of the film in the air, the crowd even convinced her to do a re-enactment of the horrific needle torture scene. The audience went wild over it.

An interview with director Yoshihiro Nishimura and actress Eihi Shiina will be posted soon.

Special thanks to the Japan Society and Sushi Typhoon.


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