Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Guinea Pig: Devil's Experiment

The Swarthmore College Library was recently asked to order a series of Japanese gore movies (do we call them slasher movies? gore porn? what’s the buzzword these days?) for an upcoming film class. All are part of the “Guinea Pig” collection, supposedly banned in Japan and occasionally mistaken for snuff. Anna gets to catalogue movies for the library and was not psyched to see these reach her desk. She really didn’t want to even open the box for them, let alone watch enough of them to get the cataloguing information. Being the awesome wife that she is, she brought them home along with instructions on how to take down the cataloguing information. Woohoo! Japanese horror extravaganza for this nerdy teacher on summer break! I can’t wait to tell this story next year in the faculty lounge!

Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (Za ginipiggu: Akuma no jikken) 1985
Director: Satoru Ogura
Unearthed Films (DVD credits)
JHV (DVD credits)
No production credits or notes given. No acting credits listed. An unidentified person supposedly found a video tape with this on it.

The first out of the box was The Devil’s Experiment. The rolling credits at the beginning and end set up the story of the video being made anonymously, found randomly, and then investigated by the police. This is the only narrative aspect of the movie. The rest is a 40-odd minute torture film interspersed with simple title screens that describe the next torture segment in one word. “Hit”, “Kick”, “Burn”, “Worm” (my personal favorite), and “Needle” (the climax) to name a few. I’m honestly not all that in to torture films. For me gore needs at least a cursory plot. Torture films that go for realism end up just disappointing me. I want to know why, damn it!

So I watched this video of these three dudes pretending to torture a woman who doesn’t seem to notice all that often (she’s sleeping through most of it) while eating my healthy soup and tasty sandwich lunch. Some of the makeup in Devil’s Experiment is decent. The hot-oil-on-inside-of-arm bit came with some pretty neat blistering and was followed up by a great meal-worm-dumped-onto-face-and-into-burns bit that was actually pretty gross. I was bummed when they forgot to put the burn makeup back on for later segments.

The final segment contains a few notable gore effects. Whatever they used for fake skin actually looks like skin (albeit skin stretched over a pillow, but still skin), and some of the blood-welling-up-from-wounds is pretty tight. The film’s last few minutes contain a few edits clearly made to cover up things that they couldn’t simulate (no shots of stabbing and thrashing at the same time, only stabbing up close, followed by thrashing from across the room), but that’s understandable for a homebrew movie. Sadly, the cover of the freakin’ DVD box shows what they do with the needle and then the movie ends. That’s it? I knew that was coming! Way to spoil the ending, fake snuff film marketers! Jeez!!!

I need music, editing, and blood geysers in my gore. Also, would it hurt to get actors who actually scream and thrash around a bit? Hasn’t anyone seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Screaming actors make movies scary. Especially when you have to make do on the gore. Devil’s Experiment gets a “meh” and nothing else (though it could use an article before “devil’s”. We have this word “the” in English. It’s a useful word).

Tomorrow’s lunch hour movie: Android of Notre Dame. At least the title sounds more promising!

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