If something exists, then someone either has turned or will attempt to turn it into a horror film. This can be seen in examples like the 2005 film The Gingerbread Man, where an adorable-looking, but nonetheless evil, gingerbread man comes to life with a convicted killer’s soul. He then attempts to haunt a girl who he believes is responsible for the killer being sent to the chair. Another example is ThanksKilling; this 2009 film is about a turkey who goes around killing people during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Released initially in Japan in 2003, Battlefield Baseball is one of these films—a story about a group of people who must face off in a baseball game against a team of blue zombies. Aside from featuring a team of the undead, this baseball game contains some unusual quirks, like the fact that the game doesn’t end until all the players on the opposing side are dead.
By no means is the movie realistic—the film’s creators spent a long time making sure of that. You certainly won’t find a game of baseball played in MLB like those portrayed in Battlefield Baseball. It is safe to say that the Houston Astros, who are the favourites to win the World Series this November, won’t be playing against any zombies in any of their games on the way to the title. It is also difficult to classify the film; although most people seem to agree it should be a horror film, a case could be made for it being an action comedy film, too.
Photo by Jose Morales, License
A Good Bad Film
Battlefield Baseball is a film that fits into the category of being “so bad that it’s good.” It doesn’t try to hide the fact that it was produced on a shoestring budget. It also shouts loudly about its complete suspension of all logic, and it does so in a very comedic way. It pokes fun at the American love for baseball, as well as satirically commenting on movies that contain a lot of violence and gore. That said, you won’t find the type of blood or gore that makes you wince in this film, despite there being scenes where there are the severed limbs and heads of an entire baseball team strewn across a field.
Battlefield Baseball is certainly a candidate for “bad movie night”—it is intentionally silly and stupid, and in many parts, it makes no sense. Yet, it does this in a way that is endearing, winning favour amongst many fans.
A Film from Japan
Battlefield Baseball (or Battlefield Stadium as it is known natively) is certainly a product of Japan. The Japanese love baseball almost as much as Americans, so it makes perfect sense for them to make a film like this. The movie is a depiction of a popular manga story written by Gataro Man that was featured in the popular Monthly Shonen Jump magazine. Anyone who regularly reads manga will pick up on the attempt by the film’s creators to make Battlefield Baseball as a live-action manga cartoon. Anyone who enjoys manga (including films like Machine Girl or Neon Maniacs or cartoons like Bugs Bunny) will likely enjoy Battlefield Baseball, too.
Battlefield Baseball has it all: zombies, a revenge martial-arts plot, baseball, comedic levels of gore, robots, a talking dog, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek comedy. It is a low-budget film that has delivered a low-budget feel, but it has done so shamelessly. It doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t; instead it succeeds in being a logic-free, silly, satirical film about baseball that can be enjoyed by a broad audience. While many people categorise it as a horror film, it’s not a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat in fear. Instead, you’ll more likely fall off it as you die from laughter. Some of its comedy may not translate perfectly from Japanese, but that just adds to the film’s charm—it is weird, it is wacky, and it is proud.
Categorised in: Horror Movie Reviews
This post was written by Nadia Vella