Not Your Average Gore Porn: The Guinea Pig Films

Japan can be a gnarly place. Not only for the sheer intensity of their examples of the macabre, but for how culturally disparate their horror can be for the western audience. Most are familiar with the usual suspects that demonstrate this phenomena like Ringu, Battle Royale, or Tetsuo: the Iron Man. However, there is a notorious series of movies from 1985-1988 known as the Guinea Pig films, or as the Japanese call them, Za Ginipiggu, directed and produced by manga artist Hideshi Hino. Often overlooked for some reason, this series puts forth some of the strangest and grossest gore porn horror out there that you’ll ever see.

 

Guinea Pig 3: Shudder! The Man Who Doesn’t Die (ギニーピッグ3 戦慄! 死なない男)

The films are surrounded by quite an infamous reputation due to Tsutomu Miyazaki, the Japanese “little girl killer,” apparently owning the sixth film, Devil Woman Doctor, as part of his massive collection of 5763 videos ranging from child pornography to footage of his murders.

Tsutomu Miyazaki via: Murderpedia

It is believed that Tsutomu even went as far as reenacting scenes from the film though these claims have never been confirmed. This unfortunately knocked the series out of production due to the negative affiliation with the blood-drinking necrophiliac. Rumor is that it’s now illegal to make a movie in Japan with “Guinea Pig” as a title – which is doubtful, although I’m sure most Japanese filmmakers wouldn’t want to put it to the test.

The films were already pretty notorious to begin with, since the first two pretty much convinced people that they were essentially snuff films. This is definitely not the case today with all the progress we’ve made in horror over the years, but back then, this stuff was way ahead of its time in terms of convincing folks. The film series’ freakishly believable gore even got the FBI involved via an unexpected source. Believe it or not, in 1991, Charlie Sheen was given a tape of the second film in the series from a friend, and upon viewing it actually believed he had just seen a snuff film. So some lucky person in the FBI had the pleasure of dealing with Charlie Sheen scared shitless over the fact that he had seen a snuff movie where a Japanese girl was hacked to pieces. Luckily, the creators of the movies were let off the hook upon making a behind-the-scenes film demonstrating how they achieved the effects in the film, and showing how the effects were made when they were summoned to court. Still, the thought of Charlie Sheen ranting over the phone about seeing a woman cut to pieces – or better yet, in person at an FBI office – is priceless.

 

Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh & Blood (ギニーピッグ2 血肉の華)

 

The series consists of six films and a behind the scenes special. It’s really only the first two films, The Devil’s Experiment and Flower of Flesh & Blood, that are worth watching for their purely appalling torture-porn factor. The other four – He Never Dies, Devil Woman Doctor, Android of Notre Dame, and Mermaid in a Manhole – take on a more zany flavor and attempt strange narratives that, while weak, have a certain vintage creepy factor to them.

So why bother with the Guinea Pig films? Well, if you’re a hardcore gore fiend, then the first two flicks are worth the time. The first film consists of a group of three men torturing a woman in ways going from auditory torture to maggot emulsion. Also, there’s an excellent eyeball-gouging bit that puts Lucio Fulci to shame. As for Flower of Flesh and Blood, It’s something special. A crazy Japanese man dismembering a woman while wearing a samurai helmet is a great meeting of that Japanese weird factor and some truly disturbing images that are almost poetic. There’s a bit where he saws off the woman’s hand, and while it’s detached, the hand still grips his so tightly that he has to pry the fingers off one at a time. It’s an excellent detail that shows that Hino, who also plays the samurai helmet wearing maniac, really thought beyond just hacking up a girl.

Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (ギニーピッグ 悪魔の実験)

 

As for the other films, what they lack in shocking gore they make up for in weird that is only really worth watching while under the influence of certain substances, and even then, they’re pretty awful fodder better suited for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Mermaid in a Manhole is about a guy that finds a mermaid with a disgusting infection, who he brings to his apartment to paint her portrait with her own blood and pus. He Never Dies features a man that discovers he is immortal and proceeds to mutilate himself. Devil Woman Doctor is probably the strangest, and features a doctor showcasing a series of odd diseases that she then treats in an expectedly gory fashion. Then there’s Android of Notre Dame, with a dwarf scientist who cuts up his experiment’s body out of frustration.

 

The Guinea Pig 6: Mermaid in a Manhole (ザ・ギニーピッグ マンホールの中の人魚)

So, if you’re in the mood for something a little different from your run-of-the-mill dissection, then give the Guinea Pig films a go. What you really want to watch is the first two films, but have at the rest if you have a bottle of something strong and some friends with a good sense of humor.

 

Flowers of Flesh & Blood
Flowers of Flesh & Blood

 

Sources:

“Guinea Pig.”Guinea Pig. Mondo Horror, n.d. Web.

“J-Horror: An Alternative Guide.”Japanzine RSS. Japanzine, n.d. Web.

Mayo, Chris. “Severed Cinema – Horror Movie Reviews, Cult, Obscure Movie Reviews, News, Interviews, Screenshots, DVD, VHS, Blu-ray and More – MAD World: A Closer Look at the Guinea Pig Films on VHS.”Severed Cinema – Horror Movie Reviews, Cult, Obscure Movie Reviews, News, Interviews, Screenshots, DVD, VHS, Blu-ray and More – MAD World: A Closer Look at the Guinea Pig Films on VHS. Severed Cinema, n.d. Web.

 

 

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Matthew Hutchison

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