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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Helldriver [Blu-ray]


(Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2010)



Also available in the US:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Nikkatsu

Video: Bounty Films



Region: B (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: DC: 1:57:07.020 / TC: 1:45:56.350

Disc Size: 49,343,912,586 bytes

Feature Size: 22,600,249,344 bytes / 20,459,132,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.96 Mbps

Chapters: 14

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 31st, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG2 Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 2383 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2383 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, none



• Theatrical and Director's Cut

Making of Featurette (43:15 in MPEG-4 AVC 1080P)

• Trailer (1:55 in 1080P)





Description: The absolutely insane Yoshihiro Nishimura, director of Tokyo Gore Police and the amazing Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl, is back with another foray into disturbing wonder with the Japanese zombie movie Helldriver. An alien-spawned, mysterious mist blankets the northern half of Japan, transforming those who inhale it into ravenous, flesh-eating zombies. Plunged into chaos, Japan is torn in two: the southern half of the country, where the populace remains untouched by the deadly gas, lives behind a heavily-fortified wall, while the northern half is a lawless, zombie-infected wasteland.  Hope arrives in the form of Kika (Yumiko Hara), a beautiful high school girl armed with a chainsaw sword powered by an artificial heart. Recruited by the government, Kika leads a ragtag group of desperados on a secret mission into the zombie-infected wilds to exterminate zombie queen Rikka (Eihi Shiina from Audition, Tokyo Gore Police) and put an end to the plague of the living dead. But the road is fraught with a thriving zombie population that refuses to lay down and die!



The Film:

Guess what, everyone. Yoshihiro Nishimura is still obsessed with spraying gallons of blood from people’s necks and shoving body parts where they absolutely don’t belong. There’s nothing wrong with that, but after Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, and Mutant Girl Squad, the act is wearing thin enough to rip in half and release a tsunami of the red stuff spraying into the theater.

Kika (Yumiko Hara) has her heart ripped out of her chest by her mother – a vicious woman who gives birth to a massive horde of zombies given power by the horns sticking out of their foreheads. The horde is mostly relegated behind a partition wall that separates Human Japan from Zombie Japan, but Kika teams up to go get her heart back and destroy all the zombies so that the country can be united again.

Excerpt from Cole Abaius at FilmSchoolRejects located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

I don't know if anyone really cares here but this slap-dash zombie flic was transferred in MPEG2 - still at 1080P - but an inferior encode. The UK Blu-ray offers both the Theatrical and 12-minute longer Director's Cut of Helldriver NOT seamlessly branched but sharing the same disc. So you get two single-layered transfers with middling bitrates. The image holds together more from the absence of good effects. Hey, it's not all that bad - and despite the weaknesses - wouldn't surprise me as a reasonable representation of the way it was meant to appear. The presentation is not for the picky as there are limitations with noise prevalent - a flatter image than you might expect - but colors shine exuberantly. Detail is strong and has the waxy gloss of an HDV-shot production. This Blu-ray doesn't have any manipulations but would have certainly benefited from a more robust transfer. It actually gives a decent visual presentation though - keep your expectations in check.









Audio :

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 at 2383 kbps is superior to DVD and has some potent aggression but lacks any subtle crispness in the separations. It has some bass your system has to recon with and the dialogue can occasionally be drowned out. The Kou Nakagawa score wasn't too bad although exported with obnoxious intent. There is some definite noise pollution here. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-ocked.


Extras :

Here is one for the books - the 45-minute Making of Featurette is actually transferred at the superior AVC - 1080P - encode. This is superior to the feature! Again - as expected a less-detailed production with behind-the-scenes material - holding interest for those keen on the film. There is also an HD trailer.



If you are into this kind of thing (see RoboGeisha) then, sure, I can see some amusement here. This new genre is cheesy and cheap and that appears to be two of its attributes. Personally, I rarely find these things funny but the excesses do bring a smile to my face. So there are some positives to counter the Blu-ray limitations - but you pretty much know what you are going to get here. So, warnings are self-inflicted. Beware. 

Gary Tooze

November 30th, 2011


Also available in the US:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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