I haven’t written a film review for a long time so I’ve punished myself by watching all six Guinea Pig films. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, much like a ‘gonzo’ porn film that gets rid of all the narrative and focuses solely on sex, The Guinea Pig films do just that with gore and torture.
The Devil’s Experiment (1985) is the most serious of the six and makes use of the found footage style we have all got used to over the years. The camera first focuses on a woman dangling from a tree in a bag. We cut to the woman in a room getting slapped around by a group of men. It only gets worse for her as the men grow tired and move on to more painful and degrading things. Pouring maggots all over her, forcing her to listen to unbearable high pitched screeching sounds and getting a bucket of organs in her face. Even with the short running time it outstays it’s welcome but the ‘money shot’ at the end involving a metal spike and an eye made me cringe so the film did what it was set out to do.
Flowers of Flesh and Blood (1985) follows a man in a samurai warrior hat as he stalks a woman on the streets then captures her and ties her to his bed. This installment goes way beyond the first in terms of gore, he chops off all of her limbs while quoting poetry. Full time killer, part time poet. You’ll also notice the strategically placed bed sheet that covers her naked torso. I find it astonishing the Japanese can show this much torture and gore but draw the line on vagina. This installment didn’t outstay its welcome but wasn’t as visceral as the first.
He Never Dies (1986) scraps the torture aspect and indulges in the humorous side of suicide. I didn’t have subtitles for this installment which is a shame because it was one of the more (I say this lightly) plot heavy of the six. From what I can make out a man is having a terrible time at the office and decides to kill himself. To his own amazement he can’t feel any pain as he hacks into his wrist and finds out he can’t die. Inviting the two people that drove him to suicide to his home he scares them by disemboweling himself and cutting his limbs off leaving the two terrified workers to clean up all the mess while his severed head mocks them. This is obviously a step in the opposite direction for the series but it is a welcomed one. There’s only so much you can do with torture before it gets boring.
Mermaid in a Manhole (1988) tells the story of an artist who is finding it hard to cope without his wife who passed on. He finds a mermaid to replace his loss while walking around in a manhole and brings her home to paint her. As he paints his new found love she begins to grow ill and develop boils all over her body. They slowly start to burst showering the room with multicoloured pusswhich the painter uses to finish his masterpiece just in time for the mermaid to die. The man is alone once again but not before we get a twist ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan happy.
Android of Notre Dame (1988) is the worst of the lot. At this point my marathon Guinea Pig watching was taking it’s toll and I was struggling to keep it going. This story went back to the ‘woman on a bed’ scenario but this time a scientist is experimenting on women to find a cure for his ill sister.
Devil Woman Doctor (1986) was filmed as the fourth but became the sixth and final film. Thankfully this took the same approach as the third film and played it for amusement rather than try and disgust it’s audience. We are introduced to our host; a transvestite underground doctor with no license called ‘Devil Woman Doctor’. The doctor shows us seven cases of deadly diseases and how to cure the helpless victims. The diseases are beyond ridiculous but it’s fun watching the patients demise. A family (baby included) has a disease that can’t allow them to get upset otherwise their heads will blow up. It leaves the doctor no option but to yell abuse at them through a megaphone and watch the aftermath. Other cases include ‘Doggy Dog Frog’ disease (a man with a grotesque face on his stomach) and ‘Bloody Face’ disease (a man who sweats blood) among other deranged sketches.
Watching all six films wasn’t easy going but luckily enough each film is around the 50 minute mark. That being said a lot of them could have been shorter. If this was the 80’s it would have made for a more intense viewing for sure but 25 years on and the shock value has almost evaporated. Flowers of Flesh and Blood might be too much for an average film viewer but we’ve seen much worse in films like Hostel. I would recommend He Never Dies and Devil Woman Doctor, as entertaining and at times funny but the others in the series have very little substance or replay value. Only a hardcore gore-hound could seek enjoyment out of the others.
Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men
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