Sunday, 12 August 2012

Guinea Pig 4: Mermaid In A Manhole (Ginī Piggu: Manhōru no naka no Ningyo)

The fourth entry in the "Guinea Pig" series, "Mermaid In A Manhole" (1988) is the second film in the series (after "Flower Of Flesh And Blood") to be directed by manga artist Hideshi Hino.

Based on a manga made by the director, "Mermaid In A Manhole" is like a sick fairy tale. The film is about a painter whose wife has left him. He spends most of his time going into the sewers to paint the things he finds there. "This is my secret place. All my lost treasures are here. All the beautiful things I have ever lost, they are here. All the time I have lost is here. Everything is hidden in the darkness."

While in the sewer, he stumbles across a mermaid. He recognises the mermaid from when he played in the area as a child, and the sewer used to be a river. He realises that he always came down into the sewer to paint because he hoped to see the mermaid again. From now on, he will only paint her.

While painting in the sewer, he notices the mermaid has a bad infection. He takes her to his home to try and heal her and to continue to paint. The mermaid's condition rapidly deteriorates, until her full chest is covered in cysts, yet she insists on being painted. The painter struggles to find the right paint to properly depict the infection on canvas, so the mermaid asks him to slice the cysts on her chest and collect the pus to use as paint.

As the infection progresses, it takes over much of her body. In one truly disgusting scene, her boils burst and worms and other insects come out of the wounds along with pus and blood. In the end, when the painting is done and the mermaid is dying, she asks the painter to finally kill her. The painter then dismembers the body.

While all this has been happening throughout the film, his neighbours have been wondering what he is up to. When the painter kills the mermaid, the blood seeps into the neighbours flat. When they go over to see what's happening, they find the painter chopping up the body. The police are called, and come to the conclusion that he killed his ex wife, believing she was a mermaid. 

Out of all the "Guinea Pig" films, I found "Mermaid In A Manhole" the toughest to watch. It was quite sad to see this beautiful mermaid dying in the most horrible fashion. The scenes where she is in pain from infection, with sores spraying blood and pus is truly disgusting, especially the scenes with worms coming out of the wounds and coming out the mermaids mouth. But I really like the story, which is quite profound. 

Out of all of the "Guinea Pig" films, Hideshi Hino's contributions stand out the most. The mood of his films are the darkest, and really do have the power to affect you. He definitely put the "Guinea Pig" films on the radar and is really the man to blame for the controversy surrounding the series. I would've loved for him to continue a career in film as I think he would have made his mark in Asian cinema. I would say that this is my favourite from the whole series. I'll need to seek out some of his manga to read!

As always, I'd love for you to leave a comment. It helps me know people are reading! Also like my Facebook page or Twitter (links are on the right hand side of the page), as I'malways ranting on either one of them!

Thanks for checking the page out!



Hello! As I'm not the most prolific of bloggers due to constantly being busy recently, I thought I'd ask some of my followers on Facebook if they would like to submit a post on the page for people to read.

James Bell sent me a post for the film "Dumpling" (2004) directed by Fruit Chan. Thanks James!

Here's what he has to say about this great film!

"In my later teenage years I started a love affair with oriental cuisine, and out-sourced foodtypes from different Asian regions to try and quench my hunger, even though I can't handle spice. I remember becoming mildly obsessed with dumplings, the dough or flour wrapped bundles that could contain meat, vegetables and in some cultures sweets. I loved the variety of flavours, and how you could boil them, fry them or steam them, to create a multitude of differing offerings. Around the same time I got into Tartan Asian cinema, and the 'Extreme' sub-genre of this, and came across a film aptly entitled 'Dumplings' (2004); later I found out there are two versions of this film, the full-cinematic release (which I prefer) to the smaller original short, part of the Three...Extremes (2002) compilation.

It follows the story of a middle-aged woman, who is in a loveless and (not by her doing) open marriage. Feeling isolated from her husband she turns to a local chef who – it is believed – can help restore beauty, and although what she offers works, the side-effects are not just physical, but also morally repugnant. What lines would you cross to get the image you desire, and what are you prepared to have to eat to get it? Apart from the lead storyline, a second, more human one, grounds you to the inhuman events unfolding elsewhere, and tie together nicely – but I tell you now, because of this film, I can now only bring myself to eat fried dumplings, at a push."

Thanks, James Bell for taking the time to submit this post! If you haven't seen this film you should definitely give it a shot. You'll never look at a dumpling the same way again!

Check out the full movie in the video here.

Until next time,


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Guinea Pig 3: Shudder! The Man Who Doesn't Die (Ginī Piggu 3: Senritsu! Shinanai Otoko, a.k.a. "He Never Dies")

I've talked about the worst two parts of the controversial "Guinea Pig" series, but that is pretty much where most of the controversy ends. "The Devil's Experiment" and "Flower Of Flesh And Blood" were pseudo-snuff movies with very little to no plot, and pretty much made to disgust the audience and leave a bad taste in their mouth.

"He Never Dies" (may as well use the short title) is a more silly and bizarre title. After the controversy of the first two films, made to feel real and were quite serious and mean spirited in nature, the series took a very surprising turn. It had a script, a full cast, opening and closing credits, and was made as a horror comedy!

"He Never Dies" is a 1986 film directed by Masayuki Kusumi, who doesn't seem to have directed anything since. The film is about a man who lives alone in a small apartment. He is experiencing problems with his life and with his work. Not only has he lost his girlfriend, but he is bored and always in trouble with his boss at work, who wants nothing to do with him. He attempts to cut his wrist at home, but the pain makes him reconsider his attempt at suicide.

Instead of suicide, he decides not to go back to work. After 4 days of sitting about bored, and with not a single phone call from anyone to see if he's OK, including his boss, he assumes he has just been forgotten. He finally gets the courage to cut his wrist and does it properly this time. He panics and sits on the floor, waiting for death, when he realises that the pain is gone and the blood has stopped.

He then stabs through his arm with a pen, which also does nothing to him. Frustrated, he chops his hand off which also doesn't have the desired effect of killing him! He comes to the conclusion that he can't die and even tries calling the emergency services to tell them this fact, but even they don't care. After some more attempts at killing himself to no avail, he decides to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend and a co-worker who is going out with her.

He calls his co-worker (who is also in the company of his ex-firlfriend) and asks him to come over under the pretence that he needs gardening utensils for some reason, and also a hatchet! When the co-worker comes to his house (also with the ex-girlfriend who waits in the car) he proceeds to terrify him by cutting open his stomach with a knife and throwing his internal organs over the co-worker.

The ex-girlfriend comes up to see what's taking so long with her boyfriend. When she goes into the apartment she finds her boyfriend unconscious on the floor and the man's severed head (which is still alive) on the table. Instead of being scared, she berates the man for making such a mess of his apartment, and starts to clean up all the blood.

All very bizarre. The end credits are of gory scenes from the movie played backwards and of an outtake of everyone goofing around and laughing. Also there's an American guy who presents the film at the start, and also closes the film saying there could be more immortal people in the world like the man in the film who don't realise it yet!

Besides the extreme violence, this is a very lighthearted and fun film. The main character is very likeable and quite funny, and at just over 40 minutes in length, it doesn't outstay it's welcome. It's also one of the strangest films in the "Guinea Pig" series, especially when placed beside the previous two films in the series. I bet no one was expecting a sequel like this after a film like "Flower Of Flesh And Blood". That's probably why I like it so much!

After the realism of the first two films and the way they were probably taken so seriously by the press at the time, I think this is the series way of telling people to lighten up a bit. You can tell they had a lot of fun making this film. As unsettling as "Flower And Flesh And Blood" was (which is a credit to the director Hideshi Hino for making an effective film), when you see the making of the film, all you see is the makers of the film and the actors having a good laugh and goofing around. It's weird to see the contrast between the making of a film, and the film itself!

I couldn't find a trailer for this film but I found a best of video. Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone for reading!