Saturday, August 8, 2020

Dorimu hanta Remu II: Seibishinjo Gakuen no Yomu (1986)

... aka: Dream Hunter Rem II
... aka: Dream Hunter Rem II: Dream Demon at Seibishinjo High School 
... aka: Dream Hunter Rem II: Seibishinjo Gakuen no Yomu

Directed by:
Seiji Okuda

This is a follow-up to the previous year's DREAM HUNTER REM, which began as a 20-some-odd-minute OVA horror with more graphic hentai scenes before having the more explicit shots removed and a second tale added to the works (this release was known as "Special Version") to push to run time up. Instead of containing two tales, this follow-up is just one story that runs 58 minutes.

Young Yumi is fast asleep when her mirror starts glowing and shooting off kaleidoscopic light. A female voice calls to her; encouraging her to come over. While still asleep, Yumi enters into her mirror. She finds herself on a giant chess board with giant chess pieces, then makes her way to a glowing door and enters. Now in a large clock tower with a long spiral staircase to the top, she ascends the stairs. An old, ugly, red-eyed female demon sitting atop a big, clawed monster with a mouth full of razor teeth awaits her at the top and she ends up being decapitated. Thus far, Yumi is the third schoolgirl killed at Seibishinjo High; an all-girls boarding school. Because the school is trying to cover the mutilation killings up, the police have hit a dead end and have no other alternative than to write the deaths off as suicides and something supernatural is clearly at play, Detective Sakaki calls teenager paranormal detective Rem Ayanokōji to help solve the case. Rem has the ability to enter into others' dream though she herself hasn't been able to have her own dreams since she was young. Part of her obsession with helping others comes from her desire to one day be able to dream again herself.

Because she's the same age as the three schoolgirl victims (which puts scenes of her being graphically tentacle-raped and shooting lasers out of her vag in the original into an even more tasteless light, no?), Rem slaps on a pair of glasses and decides to go undercover at the school as a student. She brings along her loyal sidekicks Alpha (cat) and Beta (dog) to assist her. The amazingly shallow and bizarre school principal is obsessed with beauty and thinks that the only way a girl can get the upper hand on a man is through her looks. That perhaps makes her even less qualified to be in charge of anyone else's education than Betsy DeVos. The principal claims that both her and the school's motto is "Ugliness is the devil!" Because no pets are allowed in the dorms, she confiscates Alpha and Beta, puts them in a cage, locks them in a room and informs them that "Ugly things must be erased from this world!"

Because they're suspicious of her presence at the school, Rem becomes the target of a girl gang called The Black Roses led by queen bee Saeko and becomes even more of a target when she shows Saeko up on the tennis court. Rem does manage to make a friend in the sweet Yoko, who's a shy loner who mostly sits in her room reading books and listening to music. The bullies have been teasing Yoko for being flat-chested but Rem assures her that having small boobs is A-OK cause she's got 'em too! Right after Yoko has her first period in the locker room shower ("I'm sure your breasts will start growing soon!"), the bullies attempt to scald them by cranking up the hot water in the shower. The Black Roses again try to attack Rem in the library but she assures Saeko, "I know that you're not the killer. You're just a regular human, although you might be a little messed up in the mind." Ha!

Dark secrets about the school, staff and girls eventually come to light which involve torture, whipping with a rose vine lash and a corpse locked up behind a red door in the clock tower. There's death by being burned alive, a face melting to mush (and the eyeball popping right out), a cleaver to the face and a head getting crushed, plus a perverted male gym coach who spies on the girls in the shower, a schoolgirl zombie army, snake-like ghost monsters, a "spirit barrier" forcefield, the giant dragon creature getting bisected from the inside out, our heroine (who we actually learn something about this time) getting trapped in a giant hourglass and almost getting crushed between gears and the clock tower turning into a giant robot! Rem's monk protector Enkou returns from the previous Dr. Death Resurrected episode, there's a brief "intermission" to plug the upcoming third video, a bunch of direct references to Carrie thrown in and a melancholy ending. This is entertaining, quite funny at times and an improvement over the previous video.

This has been issued on VHS numerous times and is now included in several different Rem box sets. A soundtrack album and comic books were also released. This was followed by DREAM HUNTER REM III: HIDDEN DREAM - LEGEND OF THE HEADLESS WARRIOR (1987) and then the New Dream Hunter Rem series starting in 1990.


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