Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Android of Notre Dame

Day two of the Guinea Pig movie series came with the strangely named Android of Notre Dame (check out the 7/8 entry to see how I ended up in this mess). Listed by IMDB as the fifth Guinea Pig film and as the second in the opening credits. I’m going to try to resist spending hours seeking the reason for the two different numberings. It's not like we're dealing with Final Fantasy here.

Android of Notre Dame (Notorudamu no andoroido) 1988
Japanese with English Subtitles
Director: Kazuhito Kuramoto
Producer: Satoru Ogura
Screenplay: Kazuhito Kuramoto
Mitsuo Mutsuki
Yoshikazu Iwanami
Story: Kenji Tani
Satoru Ogura
Starring: Toshihiko Hino
Mio Takagi

This one has a plot! Or at least a premise. But, hey, it’s an improvement over yesterday’s offering.

Once upon a time there lived a little person. He was a doctor. The little person doctor had a sister who was dying because her white blood cells were killing her. The doctor needed to figure out the mystery of the missing link between humans and animals to help his sister out of her mess. To figure out this mystery he had to attach dead bodies to electrodes, bring those bodies back to life, and then get real pissed and hack the bodies into even bloodier pulps. Eventually he realizes that hearts are important organs. Then the doctor ends up in a church being kept alive by a computer. Wow.

Throughout the film we see a repetition of people dying, being brought back to life and then dying again after they or someone else realizes that their regeneration serves no real purpose. The first random dead body doesn’t work properly, the friendly neighborhood extortionist’s body (or at least his head) is only needed to lure his partner to the laboratory but he can never love her again (don’t ask), and the final dead body declares that the afterlife was more peaceful and promptly re-expires. I’m not exactly sure whether the message here is that humans shouldn’t play God (thank you Mary Shelly) or whether reanimated corpses are even grosser when you stab them to death all over again and that is cooler. Whichever it is, the twisted little doctor’s still living reanimated corpse narrates the story and is still going strong. Perhaps he is still performing his function? Maybe he’s the only one who likes to take scissors to reanimated corpses.

These Guinea Pig folks love to show us eyes being pulled out, ears getting cut off, and body cavities being ransacked. Android of Notre Dame includes some really nice slow segments of the camera exploring these crazy circuitry knots covered in blood and grossness. Most of the movie is made up of showing us every angle of various dead bodies hooked up to computers. There is very little talking, even less explanation of what the hell is going on, and the movie is better for it. We get the vague sense that the sister doesn’t actually want to be saved and a little back-story for the dead bodies. Just enough plot to excuse the gore.

Other than one weird little bit where the doctor explains to his sister that the hunchback of Notre Dame was actually an android (she nods, and seems interested out of politeness) I have no clue what the name is all about. We do hear bells at the end. Notre Dame is supposed to have bells. One time this dude wrote a book about a hunchback living in Notre Dame. Then some other dudes made movies based on the book. This is another example of a movie. Androids are cooler than hunchbacks. Never mind, it makes total sense now.

This one is good. Watch it (unless watching little people poke at dead naked women and then rip their sense organs out of their heads while cackling gleefully bothers you). We still need a “the” in the title, here. I think I see the connection between these movies.

Next up: Flower of Flesh and Blood. Any relation to that Poison song?

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