An Interview with TOKYO GORE POLICE Director Yoshihiro Nishimura
In September 2008, Yoshihiro Nishimura visited Austin, Texas where his film Tokyo Gore Police (Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu) won the first place prize in the AMD Next Wave competition at Fantastic Fest. The following interview was conducted while Nishimura was in Austin. Those who recall Todd Brown's report about new Nishimura projects, including Drill Bra Sisters, and Ju-On will notice that he mentions entirely different projects here. The assistance of Yoko Hayama of Media Blasters, Mike Rosalies (translation), and Chiho Mori of the Asian Film Festival of Dallas (transcription) was essential in completing this interview.
How did you develop the idea for Tokyo Gore Police?
Tokyo Gore Police is actually a re-make of an independent film I made about ten years ago called Anatomia Extinction. After I finished Machine Girl [Nishimura did the effects work on this film] with Media Blasters, I was asked if I wanted to do another film. I intended to re-make Anatomia Extinction. So in that sense, this film is not an entirely original idea.
What were some of the influences?
I’ve been a big fan of movies since I was a kid, but when I was in elementary school, I was inspired by a painting by Salvador Dali. In middle school, there were films like The Thing and Videodrome that were influential. But my core influence comes from distorted human bodies depicted in some of Dali’s paintings I saw when I was an elementary school student.
Do you view Tokyo Gore Police as social and political commentary?
I majored in law in college, and perhaps because of that, I now only watch news on TV. I watch news and movies and read horror magazines like Fangoria. So, I think the film contains mixture of all those three elements. When I watch news, I question how come the society is not a certain way. I addressed my frustrations with the society in Tokyo Gore Police.
Taku Sakaguchi was fight choreographer for Tokyo Gore Police. How did he come to work on the film?
I worked with Tak for the first time on Meatball Machine which was directed by Yudai Yamaguchi who directed TV commercial scenes for Tokyo Gore Police. Yudai also directed Battlefield Baseball which stars Tak. So, Yudai is our mutual friend. That’s how I came to ask him to be involved in Tokyo Gore Police. But whenever I see Tak in Japan, he always complains to me how come I didn’t show his face more clearly on camera (laughs).
Noboru Iguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi directed the fake commercials in Tokyo Gore Police. How did this come about?
Noboru (Machine Girl) and Yudai are really good friends. When I told them that I was going to make Tokyo Gore Police, I was just writing the TV commercial scenes. Yudai suggested that it might bring a different flavor to the film if that portion of the film was directed by someone else, and they offered to do it. So, in those scenes, I was just a special make-up artist. Having those pop commercials inserted actually balanced out the film which essentially has a dark tone.
You started an effects company (Nishimura Motion Picture Model Makers Group). When did you start it? How many people do you have working with you?
We established the company only 3 years ago. Until then, I was working as a freelance special make-up artist. Right now since we have so many projects going on, so I have about ten staff members.
Do you work with computer graphics as well?
My expertise is special make-up. I have a VFX supervisor and I work with him a lot. But in Japan, basically, everyone has their own company. We are all friends and we have similar visions, so we collaborate. Each artist brings his/her own expertise to the table, and we discuss what would be the best way to create what we want to create.
What new projects are you working on?
There are a few projects I’m working on, but one I can tell you here is a zombie movie and another one is an adaptation of [Go Nagai's] comic book called Violence Jack. I really want to make Violence Jack but I probably won’t know if I can do it until next year.