Unofficially & fondly known as The Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies, the highly imaginative Japanese zombie film Stacy (2001) depicts a worldwide epidemic is causing all teenage girls to die by age seventeen.
Before they die, they firstirst succumb to "near death happiness." They shortly after rise from the dead as zombies. In the popular vernacular these schoolgirl zombies are referred to as Stacies.
The film has several references to the director's inspirations, one of the more obvious being the Romero Repeat Kill Troops, named for George "Night of the Living Dead" Romero. The Romero Troops are professional police brigades that specialize in the "repeat kills" of Stacies.
We're also treated to pretty much the whole advertising campaign for the new Bruce Campbell Right Hand 2 model of a "fashionable" chainsaw glove, recommended for families who will soon have to hack up their daughters.
I sure hope Bruce saw this film as it's quite an honor to his performance as Ash in Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness (1992).
It is illegal to kill Stacies unless you're an official Romero trooper, or a member of the given Stacy's family. Because these schoolgirls become deliriously happy before dying, they face their fate without fear or distress. Their girlish dreams include being repeat-killed by someone who loves them, rather than by strangers.
Because some family members cannot emotionally bare up to their repeat-kill responsibilities, & the Romero repeat killers have such enormous backlogs, there have arisen illegal underground groups who can be hired to dispatch a resurged beloved daughter.
One of these underground groups is a gang of teenage girls called the Drew Barrymore Repeat Kill Squad.
All the members of this squad are themselvesl facing the inevitability of becoming Stacies.
In the interim, these sweet young things arm themselves with swords & guns & collect fees from grieving parents to hunt down & slaughter those who've already died & returned. Their goal is to raise enough money to pay for their own personally chosen repeat-killers.
In one storyline, a young girl entering her Near Death Happiness stage seduces an artist so that there will be someone who loves her who will repeat-kill her.
In another storyline, a Nobel Prize mad scientist is collecting & imprisoning Stacies to study & experiment upon, & the Drew Barrymore Repeat Kill Squad is hired to kill one of the Stacys that has been captured & imprisoned.
Storylines & events are numerous & varied & as an exploitation flick it scores very highly.
Obviously there is a market for "girls with guns" films as well as for "pretty young things getting bloodily murdered." This film does both, but in a satirical over the top manner that acknowledges itself.
The film even manages somehow to be a sorrowful, emotional film even in the midst of its own kitschy self-aware misogyny.
For instance, a Romero troop of middle aged men are nostalgic for days when young girls did not become Stacies. As they pursue their kills, they think of their own lost daughters, & break down into tearful depression.
On top of which, these unhappy Stacy-killers find themselves lectured by a beautiful girl presently suffering joyfully from Near Death Happiness.
She chastises the troopers as to how much she loves them & hopes when she is repeat-killed they will kill her with feelings of love.
The troopers end up all on their knees wailing in paroxisms of sadness. There is throughout the film a sense that the epidemic that has given rise to the necessity of repeat-killing of Stacies has robbed the world of that which is most beautiful.
The exaggerations of mass slaughter, twitchy body parts, & deep sadness are intelligently satiric.
The humor of the television ads & other cultural changes that have occured due to the existence of Stacies are sometimes hysterically funny though uncomfortably credible.
It is in the final analysis an oddly philosophical comedy that treats its exploitation subject matter in a true science fictional "what if" manner & finds a believable social context for the type of absurdies other zombie movies overlook.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl