Director Yoshihiro Nishimura
began working on the script to Helldriver
in 2009. Nishimura took influence from George A. Romero
's film Night of the Living Dead
which dealt with current events. Nishimura stated that there was "quite a lot of satire and social criticism in this film...I describe what ensues after the nation splits in two, with humans controlling one half and zombies the other, and the kind of discrimination that would occur within Japan were something severe like this to happen."
On May 15, 2010 Helldriver
began filming in an abandoned warehouse in Choshi
, Japan.Other scenes involving hordes of zombies were filmed outside Mt.Fuji
had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest
in Austin, Texas
on September 28, 2010.
It was also an Official Selection at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival
in 2010, the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival
in 2011, the Calgary International Film Festival
in 2011 and Montreal
's Fantasia International Festival
The film had its theatrical release in Japan on July 23, 2011.
The screening of Helldriver
at the New York Japan Society
in April 2011 was a benefit in aid for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
Film Business Asia gave the film a six out of ten rating, calling it a "average-to-occasionally-inspired effort" that was not as strong as Nishimura's Tokyo Gore Police
but better than Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl
. The review went on to say that the film "suffers from the perennial problem with all zombie movies: the creatures have only one way of attacking and the heroes have only one way of killing — which soon becomes repetitive unless there's an interesting story or characters."
The Hollywood Reporter
gave the film a negative review, stating that "Even for a genre film, the storyline is negligible" and the "action choreography is run-of-the-mill."
The review went on to praise the make-up in the film, stating that "Nishimura put tender loving care into image and costume design...Even "walk-ons" have distinct facial features and expressions -wikipedia.org