Walker Pictures and Nishimura Eizo’s Dead Sushi, the latest horror/comedy from acclaimed Japanese director Noboru Iguchi, will World Premiere at Montreal’s prestigious Fantasia International Film Festival on July 22nd, followed shortly thereafter by its Asian Premiere at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan). Iguchi, best-known for his high-octane 2008 action/comedy The Machine Girl, has become an international sensation with jaw-dropping, boundary-pushing films such as RoboGeisha, Karate-Robo Zaborgar, and Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead.
I recently caught up with Iguchi over email and we talked about his inspiration for the film, its “brutal yet delicious” look and his segment in the upcoming ABC’s Of Death anthology.
The film, which stars 21-year-old martial arts prodigy Rina Takeda, “tells the tale of Keiko, the daughter of a legendary sushi chef, who runs away from home when his kung fu-like regimen becomes too severe. Finding work at a rural hot springs inn, she is ridiculed by the eccentric staff and guests, including the employees of a pharmaceutical firm there on a work vacation. But little do they know that a disgruntled former researcher has also come to the inn with a plan for revenge, using a serum he developed that can awaken the murderous instincts of ordinary sushi, turning it into bloodthirsty monsters! Keiko must use both her sushi training and her martial arts skills to save the others and defeat the flying killers.”
Where did you get the idea for Dead Sushi?
Last year, Piranha 3D was popular in Japan. I always wanted to make a film about people being attacked by animals, and was searching for the right theme, something high-impact. Since I also love Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, I decided I wanted to make a film about food that attacked human beings, and which was also set in Japan. Ultimately, I came upon the idea of a group of people who are attacked by sushi.
What’s the most challenging part of making Sushi or Sashimi seem threatening?
We wanted to create our sushi monsters primarily with molded latex and special makeup (as opposed to relying exclusively on CGI), and it was particularly difficult to figure out how to make the fangs. I wanted it to look really brutal, yet delicious. And since the molded sushi is so small — life-size, in fact — it was difficult to get it to move as smoothly as we’d have liked.
How would you describe the tone of the film?
It’s a sushi-monster-Japanese-taste movie! Or if you prefer, a movie that makes you unable to eat sushi.
The film seems to contain a lot of martial arts and fight sequences. How long did you work with your actors to prepare these pieces?
This time around, I wanted to make the action more comedic in feeling, like Jackie Chan’s work, and I thought about how to include more cute and “girly” movement within the film. Casting Rina Takeda in the film made it especially easy because of how cool she appears onscreen. Her action style — seen in her earlier films like High Kick Girl! — is kind of like a Bruce Lee style of fighting.
What’s the biggest difference between this and Zombie Ass?
When I made Zombie Ass, I thought a great deal about my own image of what eroticism is. It was a film made for real fanatics, like myself. But in the case of Dead Sushi I made it for family viewing! It’s actually very different.
What can you tell us about your ABC’s Of Death short?
My ABC’s Of Death short is about the current situation of Japan as a country, focusing on the beauty and death of girls living in the midst of earthquakes and radiation. You may think I’m joking, but I’m actually really serious about it!