Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Guinea Pig 6: Devil Woman Doctor (Ginī Piggu 6: Pītā no Akuma no Joi-san)

Well, finally I have managed to make it to the 6th film in the controversial "Guinea Pig" series, "Devil Woman Doctor". So far in the series I've seen varying degrees of graphic violence, such as torture and graphic mutilation, and even more degrees of insanity. A man who can't die pulling his internal organs out, a mermaid coughing out pus and worms, midget scientists conducting human experiments, and many more bizarre incidents. But this film has to be the most bizarre film in the series!

"Devil Woman Doctor" was made in 1986 by Hajime Tabe. Strangely enough, this film was produced as the 4th film in the series, but ended up coming out  being the 6th to be released.

It stars a Japanese transvestite called Shinnosuke Ikehata (AKA Peter) in the lead role as the Devil Woman Doctor, an unlicensed doctor who's job is examining "heretical sicknesses where the common sense of medicine cannot be applied".

Basically the film is a series of silly sketches, where the Doctor introduces patients with very ridiculous ailments, and the outcomes of each sketch are usually just as ridiculous. For example, a man with a human face shaped malignant tumour which called a "human face whitlow" in medical terms (insane). The patient is a loud mouth yakuza gang member whereas the tumour (which can talk) is very polite and well spoken. The Doctor persuades the gang member to leave behind his life of crime and try to become a celebrity.

Another random sketch (which I thought was quite funny) is about a relationship between a woman and a walking corpse. He isn't exactly a zombie as he can still act like a normal person, he is just decomposing. They manage to pull a few gags with that sketch. A scene where they pinky promise to love each forever, only for the corpse's pinky to be pulled off. Also another scene where the corpse is given car air fresheners to keep him smelling nice! Very bizarre but I had to laugh.

Finally another sketch where the Doctor has to remove a tattoo using a Freddy Krueger type glove with scalpels on it. the only problem is, the tattoo can move around the body and change shape. We are shown a stop motion scene of a tattoo moving around a man's body changing shape and disappearing then reappearing out the guy's anus! The Doctor tries to cut the tattoo out, but it keeps getting away until the patient ends up running out of skin.

Even for a series as crazy as "Guinea Pig", this is very out of character. It takes a very light hearted approach to things and is very slapstick in nature (the credits come up to a montage of the cast hitting each other, custard pie style in the face with what looks like a board with spikes on it, with blood splatting out of it!). It is quite an oddity even for Japanese cinema. It surely is the worst film in the series, but I had to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

There's not much else I can say about this film. It's bad but you'll find a couple of stupid laughs in it. I've had a good time revisiting the "Guinea Pig" series, from it's dark pseudo snuff beginnings, to it's high concept storyline's and then it's fall from grace with a slapstick comedy ending.

I hope you all enjoyed my post's on the "Guinea Pig" films, even if you hadn't heard of them before. Please leave a comment below and get a conversation going. If you want to hear any more of my ramblings, there are links to my Twitter and Facebook pages to the right. I have also just been given the position of film reviewer at Horror Film Asylum Reviews, a brand new site where I'll be reviewing more mainstream horror films every Wednesday. Check it out!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Dredd 3D

Hey everyone. Taking a brief break from doing the "Guinea Pig" series to talk about "Dredd 3D". I usually avoid recent movies of this nature because you generally find that most other sites have already talked about them, I like to keep it a bit more obscure! But Judge Dredd has always been one of my favourite comic characters and I felt compelled to do a post on the film.

"Dredd 3D" (2012) was directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point), and has a script written by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine). Judge Dredd creator John Wagner also had a close collaboration with the film.

In the future, America has become a radioactive wasteland. Throughout the wasteland there are Mega Cities surrounded by a vast desert called the Cursed Earth. Mega City One runs from Boston to Washington DC and the city is enforced by Judges from the Hall Of Justice. The Judges are judge, jury and execution who dish out instant sentences on the cities undesirables.

Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the most famous and feared Judges in the city. During a routine day on the job, Dredd is asked to evaluate a rookie called Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), who failed the tests to become a Judge but has a talent which is very special. She happens to be one of the best psychics the Hall Of Justice has ever seen.

At the beginning of the evaluation, Dredd asks Anderson to choose an incident to investigate. Anderson chooses to investigate a triple homicide at a 200 storey tower block slum called Peach Trees, where they find out the murders were probably related to a drug called SLO-MO: a highly addictive drug which slows time down to 1% normal speed for the user. Peach Trees is controlled by a ruthless drug lord called Ma-Ma, who manufactures and supplies all the SLO-MO in Mega City One. Dredd and Anderson locate an apartment in the complex which is alleged to distribute the drug, and after a shootout, apprehend a drug dealer whom Anderson has sensed was involved in the murder.

Ma-Ma is worried the drug dealer is going to tell the Judges everything about the drug operation going on in Peach Trees, so puts the entire tower block into lock down and orders the Judges to be killed. Dredd and Anderson are forced to fight their way up 200 storeys in order to survive. I wont spoil any more of the film for you than I already have!

People have commented on the film's story, which is very nearly identical to Gareth Evans "The Raid: Redemption". I agree that it is very similar, but I think it has all been an unfortunate coincidence. "Dredd 3D" is an independent film made with a 45 million budget, meaning that the film had to avoid a lot of expensive exterior shots of a futuristic town with flying cars and robots and all that other expensive stuff. This is one of the reasons the film had to be mostly filmed indoors.

The uniform that the Judges wear has changed a bit from the comics. Alex Garland thought that since Dredd was out on the frontline fighting a war on criminals, it makes sense to be wearing a suit of body armour to withstand any knocks he might take. I don't think the uniform looks that radically different that it makes the character look bad, it makes a bit more sense on realistic terms for me.

The city also looks quite different. The comic book version of Mega City One is quite dense with a lot of buildings of all different shapes and sizes packed in close to each other. In the film the city is still bustling, but it seems more barren. Alex Garland also says that when all the tall buildings were all close together, you lose the sense of scale of how tall the buildings really are. So spacing out the high buildings were people live, shows you how massive the buildings are in comparison to the rest of the city.

Judge Dredd isn't the most talkative or emotional of characters, so the film is shown more from Anderson's point of view. For Dredd, everything is quite black and white and he is very fast at delivering judgement on people. Anderson is more emotional, and has more of a moral compass. She was raised in a slum like Peach Trees and understands the plight and desperation that most of the people in that environment have. Throughout the film, she even manages to make Dredd change slightly.

Even though there are some slight changes from the comic, this is a very faithful adaptation. The film is totally uncompromising when it comes to violence just like the comic is. There are some nice SLO-MO scenes where people are being shot in gruesome detail, and because it's so slow it seems very comic book like and even very beautiful. It's good to see a film these days that is so respectful to the source material, even in taking the risk of losing out on money by keeping the film an 18 rating. For a film like this that probably has a large audience that are under 18, it's good that the makers kept their integrity and I feel it really benefited the film.

If you haven't figured it out already, I really liked this film. Sure I may be biased since I'm such a fan boy, but I really did feel it was very close to the comic. I'll admit that the story isn't very original and is very similar to "The Raid", but if they decide to make a sequel it's a nice introduction to the characters and a good starting point to giving people an idea of the world that Dredd lives in.

Karl Urban a already a fan of Judge Dredd and had a lot of say in how the character is played, and I think he nailed it. Olivia Thirlby is great as Anderson and really does bear an uncanny resemblance to the comic version. She is as much a part of "Dredd 3D" as Urban is.

I love the dream like slow motion scenes when people are taking the drug SLO-MO. I like how the stylistic slow motion scenes are actually part of the storyline and not put in pointlessly like a Michael Bay film!

Also I like my film's violent, and on that note I'm glad they retained that tone and never pussied out.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your opinions on the film or even your opinions on the comic, so please leave a comment below! I also have Facebook and Twitter pages which you can follow. The links are on the right of the page.

My next post will be on the final "Guinea Pig" film "Devil Woman Doctor".


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Guinea Pig 5: Android Of Notre Dame (Ginī Piggu 5: Nōtorudamu no Andoroido)

Hi there! Sorry I've been away for about a month but now I'll get back on track. "Android Of Notre Dame" is the 5th film in the "Guinea Pig" series. It was made in 1989 and was directed by Kazuhito Kuramoto.

The series started out with no real purpose but to sicken with it's graphic violence and it was quite successful at doing so. Then the series went into gross out comedy territory and then fantastical fairy tale horror. This 5th installment goes into the realms of violent science fiction.

Like the last two films, this title also has a bizarre story. A midget scientist called Karazawa has a sister who is dying. He is experimenting on animals to see if it is possible to revive her when she inevitably dies The experimentation with animals is unsuccessful and he feels that to get the proper results, he must use a fresh cadaver.

Out of the blue, he receives a phone call from a man called Kato (Tomorowo Taguchi of "Tetsuo I & II" amongst other great films), who offers him the body of a 21 year old female for the bargain price of ten million yen.

Karazawa accepts the offer and before he knows it, he has the body in his laboratory. He is a bit unhappy at the freshness of the corpse (5 days old), but he proceeds with his experiments. They don't go to plan and he basically fries the cadaver with electricity! Frustrated he stabs away at the body. He comes to the conclusion that he needs something fresher.

Later on, Kato arrives unexpectedly at Karazawa's door. He says he has the final answer to successfully finish the experiments. Also he blackmails Karazawa by saying if he doesn't accept his offer, he will put a virus into his computer. Kato asks to see the secret laboratory, and when Karazawa leads him to it, he chops off Kato's legs with a random buzz saw blade he throws at him, then he kills him.

Kato is now the latest guinea pig for Karazawa's experiments, though he turns out looking like Pinhead's long lost cousin. He is basically a reanimated severed head with a robotic arm from this point on. Kato is then programmed to call his partner. She comes over to the laboratory and is then killed by Kato and his robot hand. Karazawa then takes the woman's heart and gives it to his dead sister, who then says, "Why did you bring me back to life? Finally I found peace." Then dies again. Bizarre.

As with the rest of the films in the series this film is quite short, running at just over 50mins. The film is played quite seriously, but the acting is terrible. The over the top violence which is the main trait of the series, is almost non existent in this film. Also whatever special effects are in the film are done quite badly compared to  the other films. This is definitely when the series went into decline (some would say the series was in decline from the beginning), and the wooden acting and sub par special effects ruin the film. Though the film has an interesting premise and some pretty cool imagery it is largely forgettable. The only reason it is probably remembered is because the "Guinea Pig" name has been tacked on. Definitely a curiosity though! I couldn't find the trailer, so I've posted the whole film below.

Also if you're wondering where Notre Dame comes into all of this, Karazawa mentions at some point in the film that Quasimodo was an android!?

Thanks for reading. The next post will be on the final film of the series, "Devil Woman Doctor".