PLEASE - If you are of a nervous disposition, or under the legal age limit to view the equivalent of NC-17 rated movies, do not proceed any further than this page. You will find images of an extremely graphic and violent nature on the Guinea Pig movie pages. If you do not wish to proceed, click here or on any link on the left to exit. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


Overview of the Guinea Pig Series

Without the shadow of a doubt, the most infamous, notorious, gruesome and reviled horror films ever produced come from the land of horror, Japan, under the title of Guinea Pig (or more properly in Japanese, Za Ginipiggu). Encompassing seven feature films, two making-of documentaries, and one 'Slaughter Special', this extremest-of-the-extreme series was produced between 1985 and 1991, and the films have a special, unique place in Japanese horror film history, partly due to their reputation, and partly due to the fact that they really are a total anachronism: no film has ever been produced since which can better or even equal the sheer violence and nasty depths which Satoru Ogura, their producer/writer/mad inventor, plumbed so eloquently. In point of fact, it's interesting to note that most of the horror films made in Japan since Guinea Pig have taken the polar-opposite way forward - gore-free, guts-free, exploitation-free psychological chillers that contain no elements or references to Guinea Pig, almost as if the industry is trying to pretend that these strange little videos never existed.

Lovingly made on a miniscule budget with barely enough cash to cover incidental music, and shot extra-cheaply on video for the Japanese home-movie industry, the series gained global notoriety in 1991, all thanks to the American actor Charlie Sheen, who, on viewing some of the films, got the idea that somehow the (obviously) fake snuff movies in the series (such as Devil's Experiment) were actually real snuff movies. He then waged a personal war against the series, reporting the films to the Motion Picture Association of America and the FBI, and taking an active and public part in stopping the export of the series all over the world. Since then, several countries' customs departments have participated in seizing imports of the films, and in one case, prosecuting a horror fan who tried to have a DVD shipped to England (stopping short of jailing him, but slapping him with a £600 GBP fine once it was established in court that the film in question, Flower of Flesh and Blood, was not a real snuff movie).


image from Android of Notre Dame, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com


image from Devil's Experiment, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from He Never Dies, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from Devil Doctor Woman, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

Still, as the hacks say, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and the movies' notoriety ensured an ever-increasing audience for what once started out as an experiment to see exactly how disgusting, bloody and irresponsible such splatter-films would have to be to slake the bloodthirst of your average gorehound.

And yet it's true to say that the films are exceptionally irresponsible and not exactly works of art (sometimes descending into utterly cheap-and-cheesy territory, particuarly with the special effects): indeed, as with all the very best, most extreme films, copycat violence is a very real and very scary prospect. You only have to remember that Stanley Kubrick himself recalled and banned his own film of A Clockwork Orange in the UK for 25 years, right up to his death, due to copycat incidents of rape and violence, to know that such fiction can have disastrous results in the minds of certain people who have inclinations to that kind of criminal behaviour in the first place.

In fact, several cases have been reported to the Japanese police of actual and terrible crimes perpetrated on innocent victims in the style of some of the earlier, less plot-driven and more appalling torture-exploitation movies, specifically one entire re-enactment from Flower of Flesh and Blood. However, it transpired later that this particular psychopath had been clinically insane for many years, and had a taste not merely for Guinea Pig but also for hentai (pornographic animation) and gore-flicks in general, and therefore Flower of Flesh and Blood was not implcated as a trigger to this madman's already-overheated imagination and behaviour.

So, what should we say about Za Ginipiggu's effect and place in society as a whole? Should we censor it, ban it, seize it at customs and throttle it? Many people consider these films to be an aberration, a crime in themselves, and that they should never have been made, let alone exported out of Japan. However, although we here at Snowblood Apple are no gore-film lovers by nature, we accept that the films play a vital role in Japan's horror past, and also accept the challenges with which Guinea Pig presents us, which are mainly: how much can you take? What are your personal limits? Where do you draw the line? What is absolutely and totally unacceptable to you, both as an individual and as a member of society?


image from Devil's Experiment, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from Android of Notre Dame, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from Devil Doctor Woman, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from Mermaid in a Manhole, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from Devil Doctor Woman, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

image from Flower of Flesh and Blood, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

In an odd way, Za Ginipiggu asks us some hard questions, and offers us a test of our own morality; not to mention a test of our attitude towards our own pain limits and mortality, which is always a terrifyingly inescapable and inevitable part of our own lives that many of us cannot face up to. Za Ginipiggu forces you to take a long, hard look at the fact of your own future death, and leaves you thinking about what on earth might happen to you yourself. They are unashamed, unpretentious, balls-out depictions of the worst, nastiest, most graphic onscreen horror you could ever hope to see, and we have to give some kudos to Oguru for having the (blood and) guts to make what are in effect the most personally-challenging films on the planet.

But let's not get too far away from the fact that the films are principally meant to be disturbing, traumatising, horrible and blacker-than-black entertainment! And whilst the first few films in the series are vivid depictions of the kind of atrocities the average viewer simply won't be able to stomach - the first film in the series, 1985's Devil’s Experiment (aka Akumano Jikken, aka Unabridged Agony), and the second, from the same year, Flower of Flesh and Blood (aka Chiniku No Hana), both of which were intentionally plot-free, character-free, credit-free mockups of snuff movies - nearly all of the subsequent films have featured conventional plot schemes, scripts, characterisations, incidental music, titles and credits.





image from He Never Dies, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com
image from Flower of Flesh and Blood, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com
image from Flower of Flesh and Blood, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com
image from Devil's Experiment, courtesy of guineapigfilms.com

When the series was taken over by the company JHV after Flower of Flesh and Blood caused such public outrage, the producers deliberately changed the style of the films so that it was apparent that they were proper feature films. Still utterly disgusting, still violent and extremely extreme, yes, but less rooted in reality (1988's The Android of Notre Dame, aka Notorudamo no Andoroido, which was the series' attempt at sci-fi; 1986's He Never Dies, aka Senritsu! Shinanai Otoko, which is a gore-horror-comedy, if such a thing is truly possible; and also 1988's Mermaid in a Manhole, aka Manhoru No Naka No Ningyo, which featured a surreal plot about mermaids, sewers and bizarre viruses that only mermaids get). These films, while definitely toned-down, still reach limits of revulsion that no other gore-flick has ever managed.

The series ground to a halt in 1991, but the interest in these weird films has not dwindled, but rather increased. This is partly due to the phenomenal global explosion of the New Wave of Japanese horror film, following on from the staggering success of Ringu; Mr Sheen's rather daft addle-brained shenanigans; Deep Red's editor Chas Balun's one-man crusade to bring the films to the attention of US horror fans; and in no small part, to the new owners of the exclusive rights to the Guinea Pig series, the wonderful people at Unearthed Films. We applaud these guys for their courage in the face of severe legal and practical adversity, and for having the courage of their convictions. You may not like what Guinea Pig has to offer you, in which case, we gravely recommend that you just don't watch any of the films! Self-censorship is always better than state censorship, and the old cliche still rings true: I may not like what you have to say, but I will defend to the end your right to say it. Watch at your own peril... and don't say you haven't been warned ;-)

To read in-depth reviews of Mermaid in a Manhole and He Never Dies, click the links at the top of the page. There will be more incoming in the near future!

(A huge Snowblood Apple thank you to the delightful Rhett Rushing at Unearthed Films, the owners of the exclusive rights to the entire Guinea Pig series, for kindly allowing us to use images from the films on these pages)

Links:

http://www.guineapigfilms.com/ - If you're interested in the Guinea Pig series in general, your first stop must essentially be here, at the official series site. Everything you could possibly want to know is here, along with a huge gallery of images from all the films, a full and unexpurgated history of the series, online ordering, links and even contests!
http://www.unearthedfilms.com/ - ... and this is the main site for the exclusive series rights-owners, Unearthed Films, owned by the lovely Stephen Biro. Here you'll find all kinds of downloads, streaming trailers and galleries, more online ordering, and other similar films for sale including Evil Dead Trap 2 and Junk

http://www.mondo-digital.com/guineapig.html - beautiful-looking page dedicated to the entire series, with some images and a good overview of all the movies currently available
http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/gp/ - review by Rhett at Horrordvds.com, featuring lots of important info and also a great rating system

http://www.metamovie.de/film/henever.html - Harald Gruenberger's brilliant Metamovie site comes up with the goods again, this time for He Never Dies...
http://www.metamovie.de/film/mermaid.html - ... and this time for Mermaid in a Manhole, complete with images and a really intelligent, incisive review. Don't forget to also check out his Land of the Rising Gore page

http://www.pulsingcinema.com/reviews/gpunearthed1.html - another fab-looking page for the 2-on-1 Android of Notre Dame/Devils Experiment DVD, with lots of images
http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/andrnoda.shtml - Midnight Eye's review of The Android of Notre Dame
http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=4637 - Another review of The Android of Notre Dame, plus an extra review of Devils Experiment for good measure
http://www.dvdmaniacs.net/Reviews/E-H/guinea_pig2.html - A great review of Mermaid in a Manhole, with bucketloads of info about the film, and some nice images too
http://www.xtreme-horror.com/reviews/devilsexperiment.html - Xtreme-Horror's indepth review of Devils Experiment
http://www.shadows.com/mortado/movies/eyeball/ocular3.shtml - Oh dear me, this is not for the easily grossed-out among us... shots of the eyeball torture sequence from Flower of Flesh and Blood
http://www.trashcity.org/BLITZ/BLIT0354.HTM - a very smart and incisive review of Flower of Flesh and Blood

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