Search - Stacy on DVD

Actors: Norman England, Tomoka Hayashi, Yukijirô Hotaru, Natsuki Kato, Shirô Misawa
Director: Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror
UR     2003     1hr 20min

In the early 21st century, teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 17 begin dying all over the world. Shortly before they die, the girls succumb to NDH (Near Death Happiness), a "pre-death" state of absolute bliss and joy...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Norman England, Tomoka Hayashi, Yukijirô Hotaru, Natsuki Kato, Shirô Misawa
Director: Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror
Studio: Synapse Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

You always kill the ones you love.
bonsai chicken | United States | 10/28/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"STACY takes place in a world where teenaged girls everywhere are succumbing to a mysterious condition known as "near death happiness." These girls fall into a dreamlike, ecstatic state before suddenly expiring - and shortly thereafter, rising again as cannibalistic zombies. There is no cure, so parents are urged to kill their own daughters. If they can't do the job themselves, special troops can be called in to do it for them.An insert included with the DVD package talks about a Japanese concept that describes the obsession many people have with innocence and beauty and things they can't have, and also the notion that by destroying something, you set it free. Even though this is touched on near the end of the film, it is a bit difficult to ascribe such depth to a film in which girls in bunny suits hawk chainsaws dubbed "Bruce Campbell's right hand" on TV for the purpose of using it on NDH victims, and in which a young man embraces an undead girl (who is gagged for his protection, of course) and claims she is his lover. Had the film been more serious than silly, I'd be more inclined to find meaning in it. (I can't help but think such a film could have been quite good.) In any case, you can take it or leave the critical analysis as you please; whatever works for you.As it stands, STACY is an often funny, gory, moderately entertaining movie. It is also - strangely - occasionally sweet, although again it is hard to take it too seriously. If you are into zombies or schoolgirls or both, and you enjoy the zany Asian attitude toward horror, you will probably enjoy this movie on some level.DVD notes: This release from Synapse is pretty basic. English subtitles are optional, and default to on which is appreciated. There is also a trailer. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen."
A movie about Love
William D. Colburn | Socorro, NM USA | 01/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sometimes I think other reviewers turn their brains off when they watch a movie. I thought I was buying a gore movie about zombies. When I watched my new purchase, I learned that I had actually bought a deeply intense and emotional story about Love. Girls need love, and they crave it badly.This movie does have a lot of gore. Pretty good gore, too. But it is all just background. The Bruce Campbell brand chain saw might seem a little cheesy, but it just adds to the nice atmosphere of the movie.There is a lot to learn from this movie, and it warrants several watchings to truely grasp the deepness of its message."
An interesting new twist on the Zombie horror subgenre
R. Grubb | Minneapolis, MN USA | 11/13/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Stacy" is a movie that few people who watch it seem to really "get," and I can hardly hold that against them. It does hold a very interesting concept underneath its mindless gore and bizarre characters.

A strange phenomenon is causing girls age 15-17 all over the world to die and come back as flesh eating zombies. Before they die, they are overcome by something called NDH (Near Death Happiness) which causes them to run around acting giddy and lovestruck, and giggling with delight at everything they see. After they die, their friends and family members are asked to chop them up into little pieces before they are brought back to life as something called a "Stacy."

I'm not a great fan of Zombie horror. However, I can appreciate this as a new take on the whole thing. The zombie gore is fun, if you're into that sort of thing. But what made this movie so interesting to me was the whole reason why the teen girls became zombies, and that's that part that's easy to miss. Near the end, the mad doctor studying the "Stacies" says, "I finally know what brings you to life. It's love." If it sounds like I ruined the ending for you, I haven't. This seems like a big explanatory scene near the end of a horror film, except that it makes no sense whatsoever. But as you may know (and you probably do, if you looked up this title), Asian horror doesn't usually have an explanation for everything the way American horror does. And Stacy is no exception. There's much more to it than just that.

The image of a young woman in a school uniform represents an idealized image of female sexuality that doesn't exist. The disease these girls suffer from is caused by (male) society's obsession with a feminine ideal. When the girls first become infected, they act like mindless bimbos, giggling and professing their love for any man who walks toward them. This goes on for a while, until this cultural stereotype kills them, and they are reborn, transformed from nearly mindless bimbos into literally mindless zombies. As it is stated over and over again in the film, the girls have a natural desire to be loved. As if forced by evolution, the girls move toward the mindless state that will allow them to be loved. In short, this film is a metaphor for idealized images of submissive women, and how dangerous those images can be to girls.

Having said all that, this movie is incredibly goofy. I wouldn't blame you if you watched this and failed to see the depth I just described. But that's what I came away with. There are some fun zombie scenes, and the unusual premise makes for some wacky characters. By far my favorite were the three teenage girls who formed an illegal "repeat kill" agency they named after their idol, Drew Barrymore. They contact families who can't bring themselves to chop up their dead daughters, and do it themselves, for a fee. Their goal is to save enough money to pay their favorite star to "repeat kill" them after they die. The girls want to die by the hand of someone they love. When one of them giggles, someone makes a remark to her about "NDH," and she gets very defensive and belligerent. I interpret this, not so much as a fear of dying, but a defiance of what is happening to her. Despite the fact that this comes from a desire to be "loved," she does not want to become what a male dominated society wants her to be. NDH may be a certain "happiness," but she would rather live as a real person with real feelings and ideas. And since she can't, she wishes to be repeat killed, instead of living in a mindless state.

I quite liked this film, although I can't give it a very high rating, because sometimes it just gets way too silly. The "I think I'm at my prettiest" speech just makes you go, "huh?" All in all, this is much better than average cheap, gross out special effects zombie movies. If you're one of those zombie purists who hates zombie movies that don't stick to the arbitrary zombie movie rules, stay away. But if you want a low budget movie with something different, I'd recommend it, because horror movies don't get much more different than this."
Expect the unexpected
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 12/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"On a purely gut level, "Stacy" sounds like a great movie. An extremely low budget film that looks like director Naoyuki Tomomatsu shot on video, the movie consists of a bunch of young Japanese schoolgirls turned into ravenous zombies running around tearing people to shreds. That one line alone ought to inspire the avid horror fan to run, not walk, to the nearest DVD dispersal point for a copy. Another selling point for the film, in my eyes, is the fact that Synapse films performed the transfer to DVD. This company is a true hero for the horror fan, releasing obscure film after obscure film from around the world for our viewing pleasure. I recently read an article concerning the DVD release of "The Deadly Spawn" that claimed Synapse spent more money on the restoration than the filmmakers did on the entire movie! And we're not talking pocket change, either. That's what I call dedication. A final reason to pick up this film, if the above two reasons don't do the trick, is the superiority of this shot on video production compared to the dreck spooned out over here by companies like Sub Rosa. It is obvious Tomomatsu has enough talent to move on to film, something I can't say for the directors of "Shatter Dead" and "Peter Rottentail."

Something sinister on a global scale is occurring in the film "Stacy." Some malady--whether biological, chemical, or psychological no one knows as of yet--is causing pre-teen girls everywhere to perish suddenly. As bad as that sounds, what happens afterwards is a real nightmare: the girls emerge from their tombs as mindless flesheating zombies willing to prey on family members, friends, and total strangers. At some point, a talking head attached the moniker "Stacy" to these hapless victims, a name that stuck and now applies to zombies in every country. The implications of such a catastrophe should be very clear: without these girls growing up to bear children, the human population will move rapidly towards extinction in the coming years. In the meantime, the authorities take all manner of precautions to stem the tide of Stacy related disasters. Governments urge parents to look for the warning signs, including bouts of giggling immediately preceding demise called NDH (Near Death Happiness), and prepare to do the unthinkable. Armed with "Bruce Campbell" chainsaws purchased through companies advertising on television along with a ready supply of government provided trash bags, mother and father must be willing to dispose of their out of control daughters before the child hurts anyone else. Just in case a few milquetoasts can't fire up the old chainsaw when the moment arrives, Romero Repeat Kill soldiers move in too clean up the mess.

None of the above takes center stage in "Stacy," however. We do get to see a few of the messier scenes involving Romero troops and a rampaging Stacy, and we do see a few of the advertisements on television for the Campbell chainsaws (you can wear them on one hand!), but other issues move to the forefront. Specifically, the movie follows the relationship between a puppet designer and a soon to be Stacy. Director Tomomatsu spends a huge amount of time following this budding relationship between an older man and a younger girl. They go out for walks in a garden, engage in long, meaningful talks, and the puppeteer even stages a show for his new girlfriend. It's disconcerting in the extreme for American horror film fans to watch what is essentially a romance movie taking place in the middle of gory carnage. It's all apparently related to the overarching theme Tomomatsu is trying to get across to his audience, about the social position of young girls in Japan in relation to male domination and expectations. Or something along those lines. Whatever it is, "Stacy" sure is a strange, schizophrenic film. Imagine "The Professional" fused with a George Romero gutmuncher.

The horror fan in me wants to reject the social messages of this film--messages I had to read about in the liner notes because I haven't a clue as to how Japanese society works--and focus instead on the extreme gore. And there is a lot of gluey stuff going on, especially during the final scenes when a doctor working on the causes of the Stacy phenomenon loses control of his test subjects. For such a low budget production the gore effects look quite remarkable. Regrettably, the bloody effects work will only take you so far. The rest of the trip consists of the romance angle and cornball antics so inane that will take your breath away. What was up with the girls that formed the underground Romero type group? That they offer to help squeamish parents kill their Stacies is all fine and dandy, since a law requires parents to dispatch their own troublesome female offspring leaves the faint of heart in a quandary, but to name their group after Drew Barrymore? What's next, the Christina Aguilera Attack Squad? The Britney Spears Revolutionary Army? Egad! Too, that constant NDH giggling is likely to work your last nerve to a frazzle long before the movie grinds to a halt.

I can't find it in myself to take "Stacy" out behind the woodshed because of its problems, however. The movie is such an inventive twist on an old horror idea that I generally enjoyed it despite the often impenetrable plot. As for the DVD itself, the picture quality looks fantastic for a shot on video project. Synapse throws in a trailer as an extra, but nothing else. I heard Tomomatsu is in Japan making another zombie film as I write, so perhaps we can expect another weird take on the zombie theme in the future. Give "Stacy" a watch if you like a movie that mystifies as much as it churns the stomach.