Wild Zero

Wild Zero (2000)
Synapse Films
Cast: Guitar Wolf, Masashi Endo, Shitichai Kwancharu, Haruka Nakajo
Extras: Music Video, Drinking Game, Trailer, Biography

The colorful, rich cover of this DVD release may be a bit misleading if you’re not familiar with Tetsuro Takeuchi’s ’Wild Zero.’ But flip it over and you will see what this films is about. Two masterfully picked screenshots explain the quintessence of the film perfectly and top the point. Rock & roll and zombies with explicitly graphic gore. Let’s face it. ’Wild Zero’ has been a fan favorite since its release in 2000 and is by many hailed as one of the best zombie films ever made – of not THE best zombiefest.

The movie tells the story of aliens invading the Earth turning everyone into flesh-eating zombies as they rise from the dead. In the center of it is ’Guitar Wolf, ’ a rock and roll band that suddenly finds itself on a mission to save the world. The way there is filled with everything you can possibly image, including, of course, a lot of rock music, naked women, cool jokes, muscle cars, and some almost supernatural effects.

Synapse is presenting ’Wild Zero’ in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD, though sadly the transfer is not enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The image is very clean and free of speckles for the most part, though a bit grainy at times as a result of the original film stock used. A high level of detail marks the transfer, giving it a nice richness. Colors are vivid and naturally rendered, making sure to bring out the best of the atmospheric cinematography. Black levels are well-balanced and firmly root the image with deep shadows that don’t break up. No edge-enhancement mars the experience and the compression has also been handled very well, ensuring that the transfer always maintains its definition and color faithfulness without any distracting artifacts.

The original Japanese language track is included on the DVD in Dolby Stereo and is supplemented by English subtitles. The track is of good quality. Frequency response is a bit narrow, making especially the dialogues sound a bit harsh, but overall it is a good track that brings across the film quite well. Especially the music is energetic and dynamic.

The DVD also contains a few supplements, such as a ’Guitar Wolf’ biography and discography. The movie’s theatrical trailer is also included, as is a music video using behind-the-scenes footage from the film.
The DVD is rounded out by the Wild Zero drinking game and an extensive ’’Guitar Wolf’ image gallery.

’Wild Zero’ is definitely more trashy than, say, Romero’s work and thus oozes a very different atmosphere. Where Romero’s films are almost clinical social studies, ’Wild Zero’ is a punky splatterfest. Both are cool, but in a very different way. Think of it as ’The Ramones don’t want to go to Hell’ or something down those lines…