WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Filmed by special effects maven Yoshihiro Nishimura in 2007 as an extra for the Meatball Machine DVD, Reject of Death was made without a net, and without a sense of accountability to anyone who might censor it for content, or for sense. Done in the style of a music video, it displays all the narrative rigor one expects from the form—which actually serves this material well. Add politically incorrect stereotypes to the fast-moving mix of absurdist gore, heavy metal music, and killer boobs, and you have one weird little extra.
COMMENTS: I can only imagine that the correct way to see Reject of Death is to view it before seeing Meatball Machine; not knowing the “rules” of the MM universe likely to boost the already pretty “WTF?” level into the stratosphere. The scene is set by a schoolgirl causally hacking at her arm with a razor, only to find a glowing button encased beneath her flesh. She presses the button, and heavy metal power chords assault our ears. Cut to a scene of a wigged prostitute whose trick turning is interrupted by the whir of tentacles and spray of blood that indicates infection by alien parasites. Intercut those scenes with three ethnic stereotypes—a Native America, and African, and an Asian—wandering bemused around the streets of a Japanese city. Bring all three groups together on a rooftop for a bloody battle royale which sprinkles in kung fu posturing, hermaphrodism, and a nipple that shoots barbed chains into eyeballs, and you have yourself an out-of-control featurette that will score with fans of pop-surrealism and exploitation-extremism alike. Rejects of Death utilizes the thin mythology set up in Meatball Machine, and very well may be an attempt to explain one character’s back story, but it stands apart stylistically from the feature that inspired it. Unabashedly (and gloriously) offensive, the short isn’t special enough by itself to justify a DVD purchase, but packaged together with the feature film, it may be enough to inspire fence-sitters to take a chance on a rental.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY: