Thursday, 26 July 2012

Guinea Pig 2: Flower Of Flesh And Blood (Ginī Piggu 2: Chiniku no Hana)

Hey there! In the last post I talked about the first film in the controversial "Guinea Pig" series called "The Devil's Experiment", which is quite disturbing in it's own right. Now it's onto the 2nd film in the series "Flower Of Flesh And Blood", which is the most infamous, notorious, and extreme out of the collection.

It was made in 1985 (the same year as "The Devil's Experiment") by a Japanese manga artist called Hideshi Hino, with the story being based on one of his comic books.

The film opens with a brief description of what the film is about.

 "It was in April 1985, the time of full cherry blossoms in Tokyo, bizarre cartoonist Hideshi Hino recieved one horrible parcel from an unidentified person who calls himself an enthusiastic fan, of 54 still pictures and a 19 page letter. The letter told the cartoonist that a horrible and bizarre crime seemed to have been performed by the person of aesthetic paranoia in some secret place.The 8mm film was considered to be a vivid and authentic film showing an unidentified man chop the body of a woman into pieces and put her into his collection. Therefore, this film should not be shown to other people. Hideshi Hino newly created this video as a restructured Semi-Documentary based on the 8mm film, pictures and letter."

A woman leaves a station and is followed, sedated, and kidnapped. She wakes to find herself tied to a bed in a room with blood spattered walls. She see's a man dressed as a samurai sharpening blades in the corner. The samurai goes to another corner of the room where there is a chicken in a cage, takes it out, and standing over the woman says "Look! This is your fate!". He then proceeds to chop the chickens head off.

The samurai then makes up a syringe and drugs the woman. "The woman is at present in a state of ecstasy from an injection of drugs. She feels no pain at all, as you see. Not only does she feel no pain but the feeling is rather pleasurable. When her bright red blood starts to creep voluptuously and creature-like on her white skin, like blossoms of blood and flesh blooming in a sea of red, truly a dazzling, intoxicating rapture. There is absolutely nothing more beautiful in life than this. I am going to show you the ideal of beauty. First of all, red blossoms of blood blooming from her wrist." At this point the samurai is talking to the camera and to the people watching.

What follows is a truly graphic depiction of the woman's hand being severed by the wrist. The rest of the 40-odd minute film is a step by step dissection of the woman in graphic detail. Before each part of the body is removed the samurai turns to the camera and give a short description of his intentions in his usual poetic way. After all the dissecting he goes on to disembowel, behead, and take out one of the woman's eyes (which he also decides to have a nice little nibble on!).

After all this is done you'd be safe in assuming that you've pretty much seen all the film has to offer but then the samurai adds one more thing. "Now, I am going to present my collection to you." He pulls back a curtain to show his collection of body parts he has amassed over time. This is the most unsettling part of the film for me. While showing close up shots of body parts decomposing with worms and maggots crawling about them, the samurai sings quite a disturbing song over it which really nails the tone of this film.

A funny story about this film is that the actor Charlie Sheen saw it in the early 90's and thought it was real so he contacted the FBI. To be honest he probably saw it on an old tape with no subtitles, and the special effects are pretty good so must've looked all the more real on VHS. Before that the movie was only really known in Japan where it was a top 10 hit in the VHS charts! Somehow a copy had managed to get to Charlie Sheen who then made a big deal about it, got it into the news, and gave the film a lot of publicity. If it weren't for that incident, the film would probably be forgotten now and wouldn't be out on DVD.

The makers of the film were also ordered by Japanese authorities to prove that the film wasn't real and that the woman was still alive. They made a making of feature to this effect and it has been a companion piece to the film ever since.

What are my thoughts? The film is very basic story wise and running at about 42 minutes means there is very little filler. It has slightly more of a story behind it than the first one where a plot is non existant, but the real point of the film is to deliver shocking scenes of violence that are supposed to offend the viewer, and it really does deliver on the violence. It doesn't shy away from showing you everything in gruesome detail, down to the samurai chiseling away at the bones in the arms to remove them. To the samurai, the dismemberment of the woman's body and the blood that flows is like a seed blooming into a flower. To everyone else, it's pretty insane (though it would make a great character study if fleshed out a bit more).

Kudos has to be given to the special effects team. The effects are quite realistic and are the reason this film is so disturbing, and some of the close up's look shockingly real, and to the untrained eye I can imagine people could see this as real (some scenes also give the game away that they are obviously fake too though, so I don't think anyone else would be doing a Charlie Sheen haha). Extreme horror and a resurgence of splatter films have made this film more relevant than ever, as it one of the originators of ultra violent extreme cinema. Even today it runs circles around modern films!

I wouldn't recommend this to everyone but if you're a real special effects fan or gore hound, this is a must see. Also the film is very cruel and straight to the point for people who like their films disturbing. I found the end of the film when the samurai shows off his collection th most disturbing aspect of the movie. For anyone else, you might as well steer clear and forget the film even exists.

For those that want to see the film, it is on YouTube in it's entirety. Though be warned it is graphic!

The next post will be a bit more light hearted. It will be on "Guinea Pig 3: Shudder! The Man Who Doesn't Die".

As always please feel free to post comments below. I also have twitter and facebook pages that can be linked to on the right hand side of the page if you want to join in!


Friday, 20 July 2012

Guinea Pig: The Devil's Experiment (Ginī Piggu: Akuma no Jikken, a.k.a. "Unabridged Agony")

Hi there! The next few posts are going to be concentrating on the infamous "Guinea Pig" series of films. As you can see from the image on the left, these films are nice and romantic!

The Guinea Pig series are highly controversial Japanese gore films made in the 1980's through to the 90's. The first two films (this is the first) are known to be the most notorious due to strong scenes of torture and mutilation, and no storyline so to speak. The films after the first two became a lot more comedic with proper stories driving them probably due in part to such high controversy.

This will probably be short. "the Devil's Experiment" was made in 1985 by director Satoru Oguya (who went on to produce several of the other films). The plot is pretty non existant, it's just scene after scene of terrible things happening to a woman.

Each torture scene begins with a black screen with a word describing what tortures are going to happen. These tortures are kicking, claw, unconscious, a sound, skin, burn, worms, guts, and needle. So basically you have scenes with the woman being kicked, repeatedly slapped, spun round in a chair and forced to drink whisky, having to endure a constant high pitched sound with headphones strapped to her head, burned, have meat thrown on her, and finally a needle put through her eye!

This all sounds pretty horrific and you may be wondering why I would watch this? In the 80's, watching this film on a bad quality tape would have probably made this film seem a lot more brutal than it actually is. Watching it on DVD, you can see how bad the so called acting is, and you can see that the slaps and kicks aren't really connecting. Though the eyeball scene is still quite well done. 

Another reason I watch this stuff is because I'm interested in the history of horror in all it's aspects, and the history of censorship throughout the years. Though before you judge me, think of the masses of people who flock to the cinema to watch the latest "Saw" or "Hostel", this is really no different. Hollywood is basically ripping off and slightly watering down the same style of violence for it's horror movie franchises (and I'm sure Eli Roth was watching films like this in his youth and taking down notes!). Though the Japanese really took some of their violence to the extreme in the 80s and 90's splatter films.

"The Devil's Experiment" runs at just over 40 mins long as do the rest of the films in the series. This films sole purpose is to offend and sicken the viewer with its unnecessary violence, and for it's time was an experiment in how far the boundaries of acceptance where in film. Watching it nowadays, it's quite tame compared to some of the newer gore films. Though the Japanese have always excelled in the art of suffering, currently reclaiming their throne with "Grotesque" (which is also banned in the UK), which almost seems like a spiritual successor to the "Guinea Pig" films. I also feel that film stuck it's middle finger up at Hollywood, and reminded them that Japan were making films like this a long time before the States!

This film series is still pretty underground, it is banned outright in the UK and even in it's native Japan (who have even banned the words guinea pig from being in a film title). If you really want to see it, check online for a copy though be prepared to pay a bit more than a normal boxset, or you may be able to download it!

My own thought on the film is that I like it. To me sometimes horror has to be challenging and uncomfortable. A horror film should actually horrify and leave you feeling a bit numb. People should try and continue to push boundaries instead of making the same stuff over and over. That's what the Guinea Pig series done in the 80's and it's effect is felt to this day, even if you haven't heard of these films. Fortunately there are still a handful of people making interesting horror but 9 out of 10 horror films these days are really bad! Rant over.

Thanks for reading! The next post will deal with the second, even more controversial "Guinea Pig 2: Flower Of Flesh And Blood).

If you have any thoughts, please feel free to comment below!


Warning! This trailer has a scene of violence some may not find suitable. You have been warned!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I Got A Blog Award!

Hey everybody! A nice blogger named Grimm over at Grimm Reviewz was so kind as to nominate me for a Liebster Award! Thanks Grimm, it's good to know that people are reading and hopefully enjoying the blog!

The Liebster Award is really more of a hypothetical pat on the back and a nice bit of encouragement for bloggers than a real award, and it's great that someone kept me in mind!

These are the rules:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the question the tagger has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you have tagged to answer.
  4. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them.
  6. No tag backs.
Here's 11 things about myself:

  1. I'm 30 years old (going on 15 haha!)
  2. I live in Glasgow, Scotland.
  3. I'm left handed.
  4. During the day I work as an engineer.
  5. I love videogames (I have all the current consoles)
  6. I play guitar.
  7. I have a massive music and film collection.
  8. I don't write enough on my blog.
  9. I have a large 3D TV to watch my films on.
  10. I love gadgets.
  11. I'm addicted to Irn Bru (Scottish fizzy drink)
These are the the answers to the questions I've been asked

What's your favourite horror movie moment?
One of my all time favourite scenes is in "Friday The 13th: Part 2", When the disabled guy gets a machete to the face and pushed down the stairs. It's also a great horror film!

What's your favourite horror movie?
Probably the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". The art direction by Bob Burns and just the idea of Leatherface are so imaginative.

What celebrity would you pay to see naked?
Mila Kunis.

What's the funniest thing to happen to you in the last week?
I broke my key and was locked out my flat and I had left my phone in said flat!

What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
Probably "The Exorcist".

What horror movie poster art do you think is the best?
Again, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

How many DVD's do you have?
I'm not sure as most of them are stored in boxes, but 500+ easily (excluding blu rays)

What size shoe do you wear?

How old were you when you saw your first horror film?
5 and the film was "Halloween".

What is your favourite food?
Pasta (probably spaghetti)

What is your favourite drink?
Irn Bru.

Create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer,
  1. Freddy or Jason?
  2. What is your favourite film?
  3. What's your best movie quote?
  4. What made you start blogging?
  5. What's your favourite book?
  6. Who's your favourite actor?
  7. After horror, what's your favourite genre?
  8. Favourite director?
  9. What's your earliest memory?
  10. What's your most expensive purchase?
  11. What film are you seeing in the cinema next?
Here are the bloggers I have chosen:

Once again, thanks to Grimm for the award!