Rie ShibataMasahiro SatoIvuShinnosuke Ikehata
Guinea Pig 4: Devil Woman Doctor
Medium: film
Year: 1986
Director: Hajime Tabe
Producer: Satoru Ogura
Keywords: horror, comedy, zombies
Actor: Shinnosuke Ikehata [Peter], Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Kobuhei Hayashiya, Masami Hisamoto, Nezumi Imamura, Ivu [Yumiko Kumashiro], Tamio Kageyama, Natsumi Ogawa, Oto, Masahiro Sato, Rie Shibata, Naoto Takenaka, Yoshiaki Umegaki
Series: << Guinea Pig >>
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 52 minutes
Url: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0161639/
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 8 August 2011
It's either the fourth or the sixth Guinea Pig film. It was made fourth, but released sixth. It's also even more comedic (although less funny) than Guinea Pig 3: Shudder! The Man Who Doesn't Die.
It's a sketch show, basically. It felt to me as if there might be a Monty Python influence, e.g. the sequence in which people's heads keep blowing up, or the surreal disease version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch. Their main problem is that the sketches tend not to have a punchline, but they're sufficiently pacey and good-humoured that I had fun with them anyway. They're occasionally gory, but still considerably lighter in tone than something like League of Gentlemen or Psychoville, for instance. Most of them are silly rather than funny. I wouldn't go so far as to call them good. However I've seen far, far worse and I found them entertaining enough to make this a mild recommendation.
There are nine sketches, plus silly opening and closing credits. That means about five minutes per sketch, although this includes a lot of variation. Going through them in order:
0. The opening, in which the show's host performs surgery on a small plastic doll and gets an explosion of gore. I don't think this is meant to be funny, but it's surreal. This host, incidentally, is a lady doctor in black rubber, elbow-length gloves, massive earrings and a beehive hairdo that probably impedes air traffic. Her patients call her "Devil Woman Doctor" and she'd be the world's worst doctor if we were meant to be taking seriously the ailments and injuries in the rest of the film. She's also attractive, but she's really male and played by a Japanese transvestite and actor called Shinnosuke Ikehata, aka. Peter. (He's acted for Akira Kurosawa, for instance.)
Incidentally the film's full Japanese title is "Peter's Devil Woman Doctor", but "Peter's" gets omitted from the Western title because we'd only get confused. He's only a well-known celebrity in Japan.
1. Peter treats a family with Head Blows Up When They Get Angry disease. This is where you'll realise that this isn't an ordinary Guinea Pig film, if only because there's no blood when these people's heads explode.
2. Peter's next patient has a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. This is the goriest sketch.
3. Human Face Whatlow is just weird. This reminded me of Frank Henenlotter.
4. The human flesh tasting party, which has no jokes. However, surprisingly, it's not gruesome either. This one's surreal too.
5. The zombie marriage, which was my favourite sketch. It's mildly touching, not to mention at one point making me laugh. The husband's a zombie, but the wife's a sweet, affectionate lady who doesn't see this as an impediment. They do regular everyday stuff, like going to a bar or a public bath. Of course all the while he's steadily deteriorating, with an on-screen counter telling us what Zombie Percentage he's reached as his make-up gradually crawls up from "mediocre" to "full-blown".
This one's charming. It has a pointless non-ending, in which Peter and the zombie eat oden together and appear to be improvising, but I quite liked it. By this point I'd given up on having a sketch that ended instead of just stopping.
6. The running, jumping internal organ.
7. The man who sweats blood. This one's a bit gross too.
8. Peter performs surgery on a man who's got a naughty tattoo, but by that I don't mean a picture of something obscene. No, instead the tattoo won't sit still. It changes shape and runs around the guy's body. It runs up his bottom. This is where we get animated film inserts, except that the animators' implements aren't pen and paper but instead multi-coloured makeup on a man's naked body. I was expecting this sketch to be stomach-turning when I saw Peter with a Freddy Krueger glove and a victim on an operating table, but surprisingly all the disgusting mutilations take place offscreen. What's happened to the Guinea Pig series, eh? You can almost hear gorehounds all over the world writing to complain.
9. Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen, but Japanese. It's also insane, scatological and wears down your "I can't believe I'm seeing this" defences until you laugh. I think it was the alien in the vomit that got me.
10. The closing credits, in which everyone in the film gets hit in the face with a metal pie. These work on the principle of custard pies, but with blood splatter because they're covered in six-inch metal spikes. This could have been disturbing, except that the "spikes" are obviously rubber and it's being done in a gonzo way in which all the actors are being themselves and it plays almost like out-takes.
Overall, it's okay. If nothing else, it's distinctive. It's also surprisingly close to being something you could broadcast on TV, although of course the Guinea Pig name should keep you alert and twitching for gross-out potential. There's plenty of blood and a couple of sketches that go too far for a family audience, but it's still easier to watch than the spleen-harvesters in Monty Python's Meaning of Life, not to mention less disgusting than Mr Creosote. It's silly. It's quite fun. There's no female nudity. It's also willing to get more infantile than you'll be expecting, even after reading this review. I liked it.