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!