Art school kids in rural Japan fall victim to demonic sculpting material—film at 11.
Pack your plausibility away for Vampire Clay, an energized lump of J-Horror with decent practical effects that make for scenes of memorable chaos.
Nutshell: A handful of art students in a Japanese village attempt to escape poverty by demonstrating sufficient talent to attend a real school in Tokyo. Kaori (Ena Fujita), has already studied in Tokyo and her sculptures put her at the top of the class.
Things take a turn for the weird when Kaori finds a mysterious bag of clay that almost seems to come alive at her touch. Using it in her figurines releases the spirit of an evil sculptor whose blood has tainted the art supplies.
The newly sentient substance wreaks havoc on Kaori’s rivals, swallowing other students whole, and eventually coalescing into a creepy golem that looks like it was drawn by Paul Frank.
Orchestrated by writer-director Soichi Umezawa, Vampire Clay reveals subtler layers beyond the gross and gruesome, as the economic necessity of abandoning village life looms as a grim specter haunting every frame.
Apparently, competition for getting into multi-discipline programs at a decent Japanese college is extreme.
Seeing artists consumed by their work isn’t the freshest metaphor around, but it makes for first-rate spectacle.