Vampire Clay (2018) starring Ryo Shinoda, Yuyu Makihara and Ena Fujita (who you’ll recognise as MC Bikini!!!!). Directed by Soichi Umezawa.Vampire Clay– 2018. Starring Ryo Shinoda, Yuyu Makihara and Ena Fujita (who you’ll recognise as MC Bikini!!!!). Directed by Soichi Umezawa.
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely fricken love me some Japanese horror. I mean, 80’s American horror will always take the number one spot, but goddamn I love how the Japanese are content to just do their own thing, existing in their own little horror bubble, with zero shits given for what the rest of the horror world is doing. Occasionally they manage to infiltrate the western horror conscious, with movies like Akira, Battle Royale, Audition, The Ring and The Grudge, but by and large the movies are ignored, which is a shame because every horror freak should see classics like Rape Zombie, Hair Extensions, Uzumaki, Kaidan, Unholy Women and Nightmare Detective.
So it comes as no surprise that I went into Vampire Clay completely biased. I already knew I was going to love this before I hit Play. The original title is Chi o su nendo and although I don’t speak Japanese, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t translate as Vampire Clay. For a start there are no vampires in the movie, although there is a ton of clay, so who the fuck knows?
Anyways, the movie starts out with an art teacher finding her studio wrecked after an earthquake so she rents an abandoned studio out in the country. This was a bad move because one of her students digs up a mysterious box that contains a bag of clay!
As classes begin, one of the students (MC Bikini) uses the mysterious clay and begins to make sculptures that are head and shoulders above anything produced by her peers. This causes jealousy among the students as they prepare for an entry exam to Tokyo’s top art school and also causes the art teacher to start shouting, ‘You’ll all fail! You’re hopeless at the moment!’ Gotta hand it to the Japanese, there’s none of this, ‘taking part is winning!’ bullshit, they’re Keeping It Real.
So, out of spite, one of the girls decides to vandalise MC Bikini’s art and gets eaten by the sculpture in a scene that’s reminiscent of Ash in The Evil Dead when his hand got possessed.
Next day the students get attacked and consumed one by one by the, er, vampire clay, each time becoming absorbed and having their appearance duplicated. It’s like a cross between The Blob and The Thing. Except clay. There’s no CGI in this movie, and the special effects are of the same quality as the stop motion effects in Basket Case with prosthetics that reminded me of classic Japanese cyberpunk movie, Tetsuo. In short, fucking awesome.
Well no surprise, MC Bikini is the final girl and she and the art teacher manage to thwart the creature in an epic showdown of bizarre clay motion monsters, girls and phallic tentacles.
As with most Japanese horror, they really don’t give a shit about explaining too much. We get a backstory of a failed artist who finds out he’s dying. What disease he has is literally explained away with, ‘It was probably because of illegal chemical waste products,’ before we get a scene of the dying artist pouring his blood into his final humanoid sculpture called Kakame while screaming, ‘I’m going to die but you’ll live! You’ll live forever!’ Why exactly? Guess we’ll never know.
Of course it wouldn’t be a horror movie without setting it up for a sequel and we get the unearthed (for the second time, you think the characters would be more careful) demonic clay mutating into a gigantic worm like creature and setting off to demolish Tokyo, so I’m guessing the sequel will be Giant Worm Made From Vampire Clay Destroys Tokyo or something.
Either way, I’ll be watching it.
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.