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.
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".
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