Ginger Nuts of Horror
Come on in, the water's cruel...
Guinea Pig 3: Shudder! The Man Who Doesn't Die
Dir. Masayaku Kusumi, Japan, 1986
Welcome back to Film Gutter, where every week we are getting further away from the safe island of mainstream cinema and deeper and deeper into murky and dangerous waters. And today we're reaching halfway in our review series looking at the Guinea Pig series, and a moment where there's a definite shift in tone for the movies. Whereas both The Devil's Experiment and Flower of Flesh and Blood busied themselves with presenting terrible violence and torture in an unremitting way, with Shudder! The Man Who Doesn't Die we are served up a distinctly different dish. It's the first to offer any kind of humour, and it's a kind of humour that strangely comes off.
Come on in, the water's bloody...
Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood
Dir. Satoru Ogura, Japan, 1985
Welcome back to Film Gutter, where today we continue our dive back in time to the mid-80s, a time when the slasher and the video nasty were truly blooming and starting to show their dark beauty. And the Japanese wave of extreme cinema at this time was led by the notorious Guinea Pig series, taking in six parts over four years. We've already taken a visit to the 'laboratory' for The Devil's Experiment, so now it's time for a stroll in the garden to see what the Flower of Flesh and Blood has to offer. As an interesting piece of urban folklore about this movie: Charlie Sheen was apparently given a copy of this movie in 1991 and when he watched it he immediately called the FBI, believing the depictions of torture and violence to be real. The filmmakers were investigated by US and Japanese officials and had to give a demonstration of the special effects used in the film before the investigation was dropped.
Oh to live in such simple pre-CGI times eh?
Come on in, the water's dubious...
Guinea Pig: The Devil's Experiment
Dir. Satoru Ogura, Japan, 1985
Welcome back to Film Gutter, where today we are wading our way back to the waters of Japanese fringe cinema. It's a nation with a fine reputation for film-making, and also an enviable reputation for producing some of the most controversial and disgusting films ever made. So throughout August we'll be spending some time in The Land of the Rising Sun to see just what the fuss is all about. Last week we studied the infamous Niku Daruma, but today we come to one of the most well-known series of extreme films ever made – The Guinea Pig series.
Come on in, the water's crazy...
Dir. Jacques Vendome, France
Welcome back to Film Gutter, and today we're taking the plunge and making our first swim across the Channel to wash up on French shores. It actually surprised to me to see this is the first French movie we've covered in the series – after all, it's a nation probably only second to Germany when it comes to extreme European cinema. Indeed, there's a host of films we'll be coming to in due course – including Martyrs, Irreversible and Inside – that give France an enviable reputation for some of the best and most brutal horror and thrillers of recent years.