Monday, October 2, 2017

Guinea Pig (1985)

Guinea Pig: Devil's Experiment (1985, dir. Satoru Ogura)

This "Guinea Pig" series reboot is a great idea!

Review by Goat Scrote

     Yes, this is the first one in the series that got Chas Balun in all that hot water with the FBI! 

     Although there are several repulsive scenes, “Guinea Pig” doesn’t even come close to living up to its reputation as an extreme shock classic. The entire thing is only 43 minutes long and there is no story to spend time on, yet it’s halfway through before actual blood flows. Since this movie seems to have no purpose for existing other than to showcase blood and guts, that means there is a whole lot of purposeless violent filler occupying screen time. With no context for the violence it just seems like a meaningless exercise in misogynistic torture fantasy. If that sounds like your thing, you may dig it. My personal reaction to "Guinea Pig" was boredom and distaste (not a good combination), except during the brutal finale which features artfully disturbing imagery and an outstandingly horrifying gore effect which is a must-watch for gorehounds and practical SFX nerds.

     Three men torture a woman, and she dies. There it is, the complete plot, in every detail. The abusers are anonymous and the victim never says anything. No one in the film is individualized or made into an actual character. There’s no explanation except that the project is claimed to be a series of experiments exploring the limits of suffering. Each “experiment” opens with a title card hinting at what kind of punishment they will inflict this time. This film is genuinely nothing but torture porn (and I use the term without malice), although they actually leave a lot of the worst of it out of view even during the gruesome and explicit final scene. They sacrifice quantity of gore for quality, which is usually the right trade-off.

     The movie presents itself as something which was obtained illicitly and redistributed, in a “Blair Witch” style marketing maneuver. Most of the time the perpetrators faces aren’t shown, which further lends to the feeling that we’re watching something we’re not supposed to be seeing. I suspect it was these facts combined with the plotless pseudo-porno presentation which confused certain drug-addled celebrities into mistaking “Guinea Pig” for a real snuff film.

Part 2: Flower of Flesh and blood was the tape that freaked Charlie Sheen out enough to alert the FBI. Here's what Dennis Daniel said about the embarrassing event after he lent out the tape. Well, when I finished with it, I sent it to my pal Chris Gore at FILM THREAT. He ended up lending it to a friend who watched it with Charlie Sheen, of all people!  Sheen thought the shit was REAL!!! He contacted a friend of his in the FBI and before you know it, I got a call from an FBI Agent saying that it was a federal offense to send snuff films through the mail! We’re talking 20 years in prison!!!!  I had remembered that Chas told me there was a tape called THE MAKING OF GUINEA PIG, so the FBI said I had to give him the contact info for the person who sent me the tape and they needed to send that “MAKING OF” tape as well. So, I had to call Chas and tell him all this. Needless to say, he was not pleased. I actually called him on his birthday and he was having a fucking grand old time till I called him with the info. Remember, Chas was a California hippie dude of epic proportions…the fact that I gave “the man” info about him was not too cool…but I had no choice. He was my only hope to prove it was fake. It all worked out in the end but it really sucked at the time.

     It begins with a woman handcuffed to a chair and several men dressed in black beating her. They rub salt in her eyes. They club her with a bag full of coins while one dude chills in the background casually enjoying a soda. Some time later, they throw her on the ground and kick her while verbally abusing her. Next they torture her with pliers pinching and twisting her skin. The most absurd torture arrives when they spin her around a whole lot on an office chair. After way too much time lingering on that, they force Jack Daniels down her gullet, and spin her around some more until she pukes.

     The second most absurd "experiment" is when they torture her with headphones roped to her head, playing something which sounds like a perfectly ordinary Merzbow recording. This goes on until she is a drooling wreck. Around 22 minutes into the runtime it starts to get gory as they pull out her fingernails. She is tied up and asleep when they start pouring boiling oil on her arm with a cringe-inducing sizzling sound. That’s one seriously fucked up alarm clock.

     Next up is the maggot torture. They pour maggots on the burns and sprinkle a few on her face just for the hell of it. She seems to be unconscious through it all. Maggots are pretty fucking gross, and the thought of them eating the dead flesh on her arm is unsettling. The entire maggot scene is about getting under our skin with psychological creepy crawlies.

     For their next amazing trick, the torturers throw raw meat and real animal guts on the woman. The guys, mostly off-camera, giggle and breath heavily like masturbating morons. She is unconscious, and the gut-throwing goes on and on for what feels like a really long time. Finally she wakes up and screams. Again, it’s pretty gross to have guts all over you, but mainly I am bored at this point in the movie. If you've cooked chicken or turkey in your kitchen, you've handled things just as gross as this. Like the maggots, it's something a quick shower can take care of..

     Things get drastic near the end. They move on to surgical incisions and smashing her hand with a sledgehammer. It does look pretty realistic. For the finale, they chain her head down and shove a long needled into her eye socket sideways. The eye socket floods with blood and the eye is skewered until it pops right out. Fulci and Bunuel would probably approve. It closes with what appears to be her corpse, dangling inside a net in the woods.

     After it was over I felt all the emotional involvement of having watched a practical f/x demo reel. It was very hard for me to connect with this movie, since I couldn't see any purpose beyond serial-killer stroke material or showing off their gore effects prowess. I would've liked it better as a five-minute short, and I don't think anything significant would be lost that way. I know that they were doing their very best to present something deeply disturbing, but other than a handful of short sequences, I had to fight to avoid letting my attention wander.

Recommendation: Only watch the ending, unless you are a huge fan of torture porn and fake snuff.

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