Yeah, I was going to choose Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, but I suspect many who are doing the challenge would go for that one as well. Why not be different?
The French have a term that we need to adopt in English: nanar. Essentially it describes a film that is so bad it’s good. It’s a fine line to walk, difficult to accomplish. Some films striving to be nanar just turn out to be bad. Take, for example, every Sharknado after the first, which, to be fair, is perfectly nanar. Some nanar flicks are unintentional, taking themselves seriously only to be deliciously ridiculous. In most cases, however, that doesn’t work. Generally to be nanar, there needs to be a self-awareness that one is making a genuinely laughable product and revel in it.
Even then, it’s a hard feat to pull off, but it can be done.
I give you exhibit A: Attack Girls’ Swim Team vs. the Undead.
I’ll spare you the plot summary. Why would you even need it? Suffice to say, through a lab mishap, a virus is unwittingly delivered to a high school. It’s unleashed making the students population as well as administrators flesh-eating monsters. Enter transfer student Aki, the newest member of the swim team, all of whom inexplicably appear to be immune to the effects of the virus.
And apparently trained in kung fu.
When a zombie film is done right, it’s a sight to behold. George Romero gave us three “of the Dead” films that are masterpieces. With the exception of perhaps Return of the Living Dead, bolstered solely on its nanar status, we underwent a long drought of decent zombie flicks. 28 Days Later revolutionized the genre, but its cheap imitators lacked any real interest. Aside from the comedic horror Shaun of the Dead, it’s hard to point to any others that are really worthwhile.
(I’m talking strictly movies here, so you Walking Dead fans, don’t @ me.)
Attack Girls takes the tropes of a zombie flick and combines them with elements of the old chopsocky films of the 70s.
Word of warning for those willing to seek this gem out: it is rightfully billed as “erotic horror.” The film certainly plays up the prurient element of the school girl, and there is copious nudity and obligatory group showers.
That doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
The fight scenes are physical poetry, and one need not only expect typical martial arts choreography. Being in a school, the girls make use of atypical items to defend themselves. Hence, the great parody of a sword fight using only rulers. Or, my personal favorite, the beheading of a zombie using a protractor.
And there is one over-the-top instance of a laser beam being fired from a woman’s … well, I think you can make an educated guess.
It was never going to be up for a “Best Foreign Language Film” nod from the Academy, and it knows it. It’s not interested in that.
It’s a film that is frantic, foolish, sophomoric. It’s narar AF.