Guinea Pig (Za Ginipiggu)

The Guinea Pig Series - Extreme Japanese Horror.
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The Guinea Pig Series

The Guinea Pig movies have created their fair share of controversy for a series of short movies including allegedly inspiring serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki to re-enact a scene, allegedly convincing Charlie Sheen that he was viewing a genuine snuff film and numerous genuine federal investigations against claims of authenticity in the crimes portrayed. The first two were genuinely nasty movies and, although far from convincing, they portrayed an element of sadism probably not often seen in the eighties and it was probably the motivation behind making such entertainment that caused the public's concern. The series became more and more fantastical as it progressed but when "Mermaid in a Manhole" was found among Tsutomu Miyazaki's collection the series went out of print and became a rare collectible until it's re-release in the US. Here's what they are about...

Guinea Pig: The Devil's Experiment (1985)

Guinea Pig - The Devil's Experiment

AKA: Akumano Jikken, Unabridged Agony
Directed By: Satoru Ogura

The first instalment of the series is by far the most sadistic and unnecessary of the bunch and is a prime example of horror reduced to the essentials. The movie doesn't try and justify it's nastiness with a motive or a retributional ending; it is just a showcase for torture and a bit of gore. The premise is simple; three men kidnap an innocent and homely looking female and test her tolerance to various tortures over a number of days, keeping her hung in a tree between "experiments". The experiments increase in viciousness until the final goregasm money-shot then it ends. This is pure atrocity for the sake of disturbing the viewer; there is no point to the movie except pushing the boundaries of decency committed to film... which is quite a brave and daring move for a director to take. You have to admire his commitment to not conforming to the industry standard and a stroke of marketing genius to propel a movie short to cult status.

Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood (1985)

Guinea Pig 2 - Flowers of Flesh and Blood

AKA: Chiniku no hana
Directed By: Hideshi Hino

Flowers of Flesh and Blood is probably the most infamous of the Guinea Pig movies probably due to the fact that it was supposedly reported to the FBI by Charlie Sheen as being a genuine snuff flick. This movie really ups the gore levels and is already starting to show the fantastical properties more prevalent in the later chapters but maintains the gratuitous sadism. Once again this is a "kidnap an innocent female" story but this there is only one kidnapper... and he is a lipstick wearing samurai! His guinea pig undergoes just the one experiment and that is bloody dismemberment of the drugged victim. There is a much more of a sexual undertone to this episode with the antagonist showing a perverse pleasure in his work and even settling down for an after sex cigarette after his misdeeds. Considering the low budget and the limited technology back in 1985 the effects are very good and show some convincing close up gore although how anyone can believe that an individual could survive quad-dismemberment and gutting is quite astounding.

Guinea Pig 3: He Never Dies (1986)

Guinea Pig 3 - He Never Dies

AKA: Senritsu! Shinanai otoko, Shudder! The Man Who Doesn't Die
Directed By: Masayuki Kusumi

The full launch into fantasy land starts with He Never Dies, at this point in the franchise a much more light-hearted and comical approach is taken to flaunting gore. This movie is a huge step away from the first two and as well as trying to be comical in its own special way it also tries to add an element of storyline and create an emotional attachment with the minimal cast. Trying to maintain a back to basics feel in order to show off the gore means that the story and the emotional attachments mostly fail and the movie achieves nothing especially disturbing or innovative. He Never Dies revolves around a depressed individual deciding to commit suicide as the loss of his lover has sent his life into a downward spiral, when he discovers that he can't die and after a bit of self-mutilation fun he decides to use his amazing new abilities to get revenge on his deceitful love interest. I expect they will end up seeing the funny side of self harming though!

Guinea Pig 4: Mermaid in a Manhole (1988)

Guinea Pig 4 - Mermaid in a Manhole

AKA: Manhoru no naka no ningyo
Directed By: Hideshi Hino

Guinea Pig 4 sees the return of Hideshi Hino to the directorial zabuton and, as with Flowers of Flesh and Blood, takes one of his Manga stories and strips it down to all that is necessary to make a Guinea Piggy short. The comedy element from He Never Dies has disappeared and Hino tries to revert to the detestation of his previous entry while using the new found freedom that Kusumi introduced with his fantasy element. After the death of his wife an artistically inclined individual goes into the sewers to look for inspiration and finds the mermaid of his dreams, he rescues her from her life of shit and debris and puts her in his bathtub so he can paint her. Contaminated by the after-effects of Japanese diets and various sewer dwelling critters the mermaid starts to deteriorate in a pool of multi-coloured pus, and not wanting to miss an opportunity the artist uses these to paint. Once again the movie is very gore focussed and intimately examines the deterioration of our fishy friend while trying to invoke an emotional response. The emotional response fails but the gore is spectacularly revolting!

Guinea Pig 5: Android of Notre Dame (1988)

Guinea Pig 5 - Android of Notre Dame

AKA: Nôtoru Damu no Andoroido
Directed By: Kazuhito Kuramoto

Android of Notre Dame loses its potential by being crow barred into the Guinea Pig template and timeframe. What could be quite a cool horror story is not given enough time to evolve into a disturbing experience and too much story in a short space of time doesn't allow unnecessary violence and gore. The rawness of the initial episodes is gone and the humour injection isn't enough to be outrageous and the result is quite a forgettable experience. The cameo by the bespectacled younger brother of Pinhead is possibly the most memorable moment but this isn't enough to save the movie. The Guinea Pig concept is gone by now and this seems like an attempt to take a valiant concept and introduce it to the mainstream. The story focuses on a scientist trying to find the cure for his sister's severe illness, failing to have any success on animals he looks to the underworld for a human guinea pig, faced with failure again he takes more extreme measures to find the perfect test subject. Not enough gore to shock and not enough story to conjure up any other emotions.

Guinea Pig 6: Devil Doctor Woman (1990)

Guinea Pig 6 - Devil Doctor Woman

AKA: Devil Woman Doctor, Peter no akuma no joi-san
Directed By: Hajime Tabe

The most outrageous addition to the chain of experiment based torture and suffering Japanese craziness is without a doubt Devil Doctor Woman. The story goes back to the basics and is just an excuse to splatter the viewer's senses with gore, guts and gagworthy scenarios of cruelty and licentiousness but then throws in a transvestite, some Troma stereotype influences and some Henenlotter style creatures. Guinea Pig 6 is a complete assault on the senses but in a way so far from the first that it seems like a spoof. Peter the transvestite is an evil and unhelpful doctor who investigates the most absurd diseases to afflict the people of Japan and likes to demonstrate the extremes that these sicknesses can result in, usually ending up in the splattery death of the afflicted ones. He/she also likes to investigate some of the more bizarre fetishes of society and find a way for these deviants to fit in with the rest of society. Guinea Pig 6 goes out of its way to offend and make frivolity out of taboos... expect dead babies, living excrement and vagina dining.

Guinea Pig 7: Slaughter Special (1991)

Guinea Pig 7 Slaughter Special

AKA: Greatest Cuts, Zansatsu supeshyaru
Directed By: See Above

It's a clip show trying to milk any last remnants of revenue from a controversial and media hyped series. It was inevitable.
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