Horror film screening aids disaster relief in Japan

The Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident may have been pushed off of the front pages, but a group of Philadelphia event producers wants to remind everyone that Japan still needs relief.

They are using horror movies to do it.


“Helldriver” is a blood-soaked farce featuring zombies, an armored car made of corpses, and a chainsaw in the shape of a samurai sword powered by an artificial heart. Heads fly off necks like golf balls off tees.

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It may seem a strange way to raise funds for disaster relief, but horror movies from Japan and other Asian countries are a huge draw. The Japanese film distributor Sushi Typhoon is waiving fees to screen its more gory titles, such as “Helldriver,” if ticket sales go toward Japanese relief.

The event at the Prince Theater Friday night will include performances by Japanese punk banks Uzuhi and High Teen Boogie, both based in New York and both performing gratis.

“We are invested in the continued recovery effort in Japan. We all have family and friends in Japan,” said event co-producer Rob Buscher, whose grandmother is safe in southern Japan. “It is a very personal tragedy for many of us involved in the project. Unfortunately, this is the soonest we could pull things together, as it does take a lot of planning.”

A full Japanese pop culture festival is being planned for July. Buscher quickly put together the “Helldriver” screening to take advantage of the date: Friday the 13th.

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