Guinea PigJapanese
Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood
Medium: film
Year: 1985
Writer/director: Hideshi Hino
Keywords: horror
Series: << Guinea Pig >>
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 42 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 17 June 2011
That made me feel ill. If you ever get a chance to watch a Japanese film called Guinea Pig, don't.
There are big differences between this and the first Guinea Pig, though. That one was pretending to be a snuff film. This isn't, despite what I'd heard. It's been shot too well and has actual cinematography, including scenes that must have been staged. Anyone who disagrees might perhaps have been watching the "snuff vision" cut on the Unearthed Films DVD, which cuts out everything that looks like a proper movie and has degraded the picture quality to resemble a sixth-generation VHS copy. Charlie Sheen thought it was real and reported it to the FBI in 1991, but he's the biggest nutter in Hollywood.
In fact it's based on a horror manga by Hideshi Hino, who also directed it, produced it and played the lead role. I have no interest whatsoever in seeking out the original.
The story's also different from the first film's. Yes, I know "story" isn't the word everyone would use, but bear with me. That film was just forty minutes of torture, ending in death. This one though begins with a long first act in which Hino kidnaps a girl in the park, takes her home and injects her with a drug to make her feel no pain. On the contrary, she's apparently going to enjoy what's about to happen to her. (I have doubts.) Hino also delivers monologues to camera, in which he explains that he's about to create the most beautiful form of art and inspire red flowers to blossom from this girl's naked body. Beautiful? Really? Further evidence of his insanity is provided by the fact that he's dressed as a samurai and wearing clown-white face paint, but with lipstick.
In case you haven't worked it out yet, this film is silly. Look at the first gross thing he does to her. After 17 minutes of preamble, our hero starts by cutting off his victim's hand! She should have died there. Just slitting your wrists is a recognised suicide method, after all, so surely this scene should have had our heroine painting the walls. However in fairness Hino obviously isn't interested in keeping his victim alive and technically I don't know if this film even has any torture at all. Firstly, she's apparently in no pain. Secondly, she's soon dead and after that we're just mutilating the corpse.
Personally, if I had to choose between the first two Guinea Pig films, I'd choose the first one. If nothing else, I found it easier to watch because it holds back the blood until the end. However this one is the best-regarded of the series and has a director who's actually using the camera instead of just plonking it in front of the action, while furthermore the dismemberment is only the middle act of the movie and after that there's a finale with a different level of horror. What I admire about both of them, I think, is their characterisation. Neither is just an excuse for empty gore effects. The first one characterises its killers through their tortures, quite a few of which don't involve physical injury and are instead psychological or even childish. This sequel though does it directly, with the goofy get-up and the monologues. The guy's clearly broken in the head and the film's deliberately setting him up to look like that.
I wonder if Clive Barker has seen this film? It feels like his kind of body horror, while furthermore the "pleasure from pain" idea reminds me of Hellraiser and the Cenobites. It's theatrical. It's sufficiently well made that it had the FBI and Japanese police investigating it. In some ways I like it. However normal people will think it's unwatchable.