My Favorite Movies

  Hexenkult's Rating My Rating
Cannibal Holocaust 1979,  NC-17)
Dawn of the Dead 1979,  R)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974,  R)
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (The Witches) (Haxan) 1929,  Unrated)
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (The Witches) (Haxan)
Classic Swedish silent-era semi-documentary about witchcraft and the occult.
Koroshiya 1 (Ichi the Killer) 2001,  R)
Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire) 1922,  Unrated)
Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)
A classic of silent-era German expressionism.
À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma (At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul) 1964,  Unrated)
Last House on Dead End Street 1977,  R)
Last House on Dead End Street
Roger Watkins as Terry Hawkins

Let me start off this review by saying this is a one of my personal favorites, and for those who seek it out based on my review (or any other positive reviews) may not see it in the same light. Despite the title, it's not a rip-off of Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, and I feel it's actually superior to Craven's movie. It's certainly more vicious and disturbing. The film begins with Terry Hawkins being released from prison after serving one year for selling drugs, and through his "inner monologue" we learn more about his pissed off and nihilistic view of society. "I'll show 'em. I'll show 'em all what Terry Hawkins can do!". And show them he will.

I'll show 'em all what Terry Hawkins can do!

He finds an abandoned building and decides to use it as his "production studio", exclaiming to the girl who's with him, "I wanna make some films here - some really weird films!". He meets up with a former "business associate", Ken, who has film equipment and has been making movies with a porno filmmaker named Palmer. We learn some of Ken's sordid past. He had worked in a slaughterhouse for a while; and we're shown some foreshadowing inserts of cow slaughter. Apparently Ken was a bad boy though, and he some time in an institution for porking dead cows, as he explains to Terry, "You know how horny you get? You'd stick it in a mud puddle if you could find one, but you can't find one in the middle of winter, you know." So Terry and Ken decide to partner up on these new films Terry plans to make.

Bill and Ken begin a most excellent adventure

Next Terry meets up with another former associate named Bill, who's a camera man. Terry uses his winning personality to convince Bill to join his entourage, "Now get all this crap together and be ready to go in an hour!". Now we move to a crazy little shindig being thrown at Palmer's house (the porno filmmaker I mentioned earlier). His wife Nancy is a kinky one and likes painting her face black prior to being whipped by a mentally handicapped hunchback, as the party guests laugh and cheer her on. An oddly surreal scene, no doubt.

Dwight Frye never got to do this!

Meanwhile, her husband and his producer, Steve, are in the study viewing Palmer's latest film, which the producer is not too impressed with, "Palmer, you sit here showing me 10th rate porn while your wife is in the next room getting her ass whipped, and you have the nerve to talk to me about your reputation?!". Steve then tells Palmer they should hook up with this guy Terry Hawkins, who's planning on doing some films no one's ever seen before. Now we cut to the chase. Terry's "new style of film" is snuff films. His crew wears these creepy, semi-transparent theater masks while he dons a huge Greek god-style mask, and they kill their victims on camera.

Dynasty (of death)

Steve, the producer, finds a lucrative underground market for the films, but makes the fatal mistake of cutting Terry out of the profits. Terry repays the favor by using Steve, Palmer, and Palmer's wife as "actors" in his final masterpiece. What follows is a gruesome, disturbing and often graphic account of their last moments caught on film.

Last House on Dead End Street (1972)

The foreshadowing slaughterhouse scene I mentioned earlier plays out here in the end, involving a branding iron, throat slashing, stabbing, mutilation, dismemberment, and disemboweling. In one sickeningly surreal scene of humiliation, Steve is forced to fellate a deer hoof, protruding from between the legs of one of Terry's female crew members, as another crew member holds two other hoofs up to the girl's head (as though they were devil horns).

Hoof-in-mouth humiliation

It's a bleak and nihilistic film with a suitably bleak ending, although there's some tacked on narration stating that Terry Hawkins and the other members were later apprehended and are serving time in prison. This narration was never part of the original film and was probably added by or at the request of a distributor who thought audiences couldn't handle such a bleak ending without some form of punishment for those involved.

Last House on Dead End Street (1972)

I remember first reading about this film in some article by Chas Balun, either in Gorezone or Deep Red, back in the late '80s. It was originally distributed on VHS by Sun Video in small quantities. I was actually lucky enough to have found a rental copy back then and dub it. It seemed like such a dangerous film made by reckless filmmakers who just didn't give a damn about playing by the rules. To add to the film's notoriety, all the people involved were hiding behind pseudonyms. It was later revealed that the writer and director of the film was a New York resident named Roger Watkins, who also played the role of lead maniac Terry Hawkins. His main influence for the story was Charles Manson and his followers and the rumor (now an urban legend) that the Manson family had made some snuff films.

Terry's Family

He and a dedicated group of theater and film school friends shot it back in 1972 (while he was in a meth-fueled haze, according to Watkins). The original title was THE CUKOO CLOCKS OF HELL, a reference from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Mother Night (which has nothing to do with the film, by the way). The running time of this original print clocked in at nearly 3 hours. At some point it was cut down to the lean and mean 80 minute version that exists now. Unfortunately, the original 3 hour print has been lost, and all that remains of it is about 20 minutes of silent footage, included on the Barrel Entertainment DVD. Hopefully this print will resurface one day, because I would sure love to see it. In 1977 it was retitled THE FUNHOUSE, and it made the rounds through the grindhouse and drive-in circuit. It was later retitled LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET and raked in more money at the grindhouses by using an ad campaign that cashed in on the success of Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - "It's Back! The Evil That Had You Screaming...It's Only A Movie!".

Last House on Dead End Street (1972)

It also played on some double bills with Craven's THE HILLS HAVE EYES. The movie was shot on 16mm film which gives it that grainy and gritty documentary-like feel that is perfectly suited to films dealing with this subject matter. It was also shot without sound, with the dialogue, sound effects, and music dubbed in later. This can usually hurt a film, but here it gives it a disjointed feeling. That, combined with the minimal synthesized soundtrack and the looping and echoing of various dialogue, add to the unsettling effect of the film. It's like the visual equivalent of listening to Nurse With Wound, Coil, or some other early industrial artist. One aspect I love about this movie, and other ultra-low budget DIY movies like it, is that it's a big defiant "middle finger" in the face of the money-hungry Hollywood studio system. This subtext is actually in the film itself, with Steve and Palmer representing the Hollywood studio system, out to make a buck by feeding the masses what they want to see. But their product has become boring and trite, and they're losing money. In comes Terry Hawkins, an underground independent filmmaker with a vision to give people something they've never seen before. Of course, "Hollywood" rips off his product, puts their own name on it and run with it, cutting the independent filmmaker out of the picture all together. The only difference here is that "Hollywood" pays the ultimate price in the end.

Die Hollywood, Die!

If you're a fan of hardcore horror and exploitation films you should track down a copy of LHODES. The folks at Barrel Entertainment released a definitive 2-disc DVD set back in 2002. I think it's out-of-print now, but it's definitely worth seeking out. It still packs a punch today. For better or worse, this movie along with Michael and Roberta Findlay's inferior film SNUFF, gave rise to the whole pseudo-snuff genre; and are the predecessors to the Japanese GUINEA PIG series films DEVIL'S EXPERIMENT and FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD, as well as the AUGUST UNDERGROUND films. Roger Watkins died in 2007. Prior to his death, he had written a sequel to LHODES and was set to direct it, with the help of Fred Vogel's Toe Tag Pictures (the guys behind the AUGUST UNDERGROUND films). The last I heard, Toe Tag still owns the screenplay and may eventually shoot it.

Last House on Dead End Street (1972)
Martin 1977,  R)
Oldboy 2005,  R)
The Shining 1980,  R)
Suspiria 1977,  R)
El Topo 1970,  Unrated)
The Holy Mountain 1973,  R)
Fando y Lis (Fando and Lis) 1970,  Unrated)
La Maschera del demonio (Black Sunday) (House of Fright) (Mask of the Demon) 1960,  R)
The Call Of Cthulhu 1969,  Unrated)
The Call Of Cthulhu

Adapted from one of H.P. Lovecraft's most famous and celebrated short stories, The Call of Cthulhu is a story I thought could never really be filmed properly. When I first heard it was being made, I just knew they were going to ruin one of my favorite Lovecraft stories. However, there was some hope for it since it was being produced by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (a collective of dedicated Lovecraft fans).

I was impressed with the promo trailer; and when I finally saw the finished product, it actually exceeded my expectations. This is by far the most faithful Lovecraft adaptation I've ever seen. What makes the film work for me is the concept behind it. Lovecraft wrote The Call of Cthulhu in 1926; and what the filmmakers did was shoot it as a silent black & white film with title cards, as though it was made in 1926.

It was the only way to make the film with the small budget they had, and it comes off beautifully. The make-up, the lighting, the props, the period clothing, the stop-motion Cthulhu FX, the silent-era style of acting, and the symphonic music score all add to the authenticity and atmosphere of the film.

Plus they developed a post-production process called "Mythoscope", which added film grain and other aging artifacts you would find in a silent-era film. The set construction for the sunken city of R'lyeh was impressive (especially considering that the bulk of it was cardboard). It's a mix of surrealism combined with the expressionistic set design of certain silent horror classics.

The swamp scene was also memorable. The fog rolling through the trees as the inspector and his agents trek through the swamp with lanterns to discover the Cthulhu cultists in the middle of an infernal ritual.

I've mentioned the pros of the film, now for some cons. The low budget necessitated shooting it on digital video, and you can tell its video, but the "Mythoscope" process I mentioned earlier helps give it somewhat of a film-look. This is a minor thing, and it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the movie. Some may feel a bit under-whelmed when Cthulhu appears. Anyone who's read The Call of Cthulhu already has their own idea of what Cthulhu looks like in their imagination. I understand what the filmmakers were going for here - a stop-motion creature that would be authentic to a '20s-era silent film; and I think they succeeded in doing that (even though I imagine Cthulhu being a bit more gargantuan and rotund than he appears here).

This film should certainly appeal to fans of Lovecraft's fiction, who've been yearning for an accurate film adaptation of his stories, as well as to fans of silent horror cinema. If you're not that keen on Lovecraft and not that fond of silent films, then this movie will probably bore you to death. Now I can't wait to see the HPLHS' next project, THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, currently in production. It's going to be set in the same time period the story was written; and since that was 1931, this film will be a "talkie".
Re-Animator 1985,  R)
E tu vivrai nel terrore - L'aldilà (The Beyond) 1981,  R)
Zombi 2 1980,  R)
La Casa dalle finestre che ridono (The House of the Laughing Windows) 1976,  R)
Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (What Have They Done to Solange?)(The School That Couldn't Scream) 1972,  R)
Night of the Living Dead 1968,  R)
A Clockwork Orange 1971,  R)
The Bride of Frankenstein 1935,  Unrated)
Irreversible 2002,  Unrated)
The Night of the Hunter 1955,  PG)
Fury 1936,  Unrated)
M 1931,  Unrated)
Limelight 1952,  G)
Buio Omega (Beyond the Darkness) 1984,  Unrated)
Requiem for a Dream 2000,  R)
Sei donne per l'assassino (Blood and Black Lace) (Six Women for the Murderer) 1960,  Unrated)
La frusta e il corpo (The Whip and The Body) 1963,  Unrated)
Castle of Blood (Danza macabra)(Coffin of Terror)(Dimensions in Death)(Tombs of Terror) 1964,  Unrated)
Black Sabbath (I Tre volti della paura) (The Three Faces of Fear) (The Three Faces of Terror) 1963,  Unrated)
Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas (Sisters of Satan) (Innocents from Hell) (Mark of the Devil 3) 1978,  R)
Psycho 1960,  R)
The Black Cat 1934,  Unrated)
The Black Cat

Those looking for an accurate adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story should look elsewhere. About the only thing this film has in common with Poe's story is the fact that there is a black cat in the movie, and Lugosi's character is deathly afraid of black cats. If on the other hand you're looking for some great moments in classic horror, then you should definitely check out THE BLACK CAT. It stars both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

I've seen a few films starring both horror legends together (THE RAVEN, THE INVISIBLE RAY, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, and BLACK FRIDAY); but in my opinion THE BLACK CAT features the best performances of both actors together. They play so well off of each other in this film.

The story concerns a young couple Peter (played by David Manners) and Joan (played by Jacqueline Wells) who are honeymooning in Hungary and traveling by way of the Orient Express. They share a train compartment with Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) is going back to his homeland to visit an "old friend", Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff). Dr Vitus relates a story to them of how he left his wife and daughter 18 years ago to go to war, and how he was captured and imprisoned for the last 15 years. Once they reach the train station, the three board a bus. In route to a hotel, the bus crashes and Joan is injured. Dr. Vitus decides to take them to Poelzig's estate which is within walking distance. The estate is a sprawling post-modern, futuristic (for the '30s anyway) fortress; which is later revealed to have been built by Poelzig on the ruins of the fort where Dr. Vitus was captured.

It's an interesting setting and quite a departure from Universal's classic horror movies of the time, which were usually set in a gothic, cobweb-filled castle or mansion. There are some wonderful expressionist scenes throughout the movie using this "futuristic" house setting.

It is revealed that Poelzig's (Karloff) traitorous actions were responsible for Dr. Vitus' (Lugosi) capture and imprisonment. After Vitus was imprisoned, Poelzig convinced Vitus' wife that he had died. Two years later she died of pneumonia (and Poelzig keeps her perfectly-preserved body in a concealed room in the house). Poelzig has married Vitus' daughter Karen (played by Lucille Lund), who he also keeps hidden in the house. Dr. Vitus has returned for revenge. Poelzig also happens to be a satanic high priest and is planning on sacrificing Joan in a ritual. Karloff as Poelzig is certainly sinister and is meant to be the "bad guy" of the movie. I really like the ambiguity of Lugosi's Dr. Vitus character. He seems almost as sinister as Karloff in some scenes, and you're not even sure if he's a "good guy" until near the end of the movie (and even then he manages to indulge in a little sadism in the conclusion).
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 1986,  NC-17)
Visitor Q (Bijitâ Q) 2002,  R)
Halloween 1978,  R)
The Thing 1982,  R)
Dead Ringers 1988,  R)
Videodrome 1983,  R)
Eastern Promises 2007,  R)
Deep Red (Profondo rosso) 1975,  R)
Audition (Ôdishon) 1999,  R)
The Most Dangerous Game 1932,  Unrated)
Blade Runner 1982,  R)
Pink Flamingos 1972,  NC-17)
Female Trouble 1974,  NC-17)
Deadbeat at Dawn 1990,  R)
Deadbeat at Dawn
Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

DEADBEAT AT DAWN is gritty ultra-low budget filmmaking at its finest; and it should be recognized along side other influential '80s exploitation classics like EVIL DEAD, BASKET CASE, and RE-ANIMATOR because it's just as important. It was released in 1988 and written, directed by and starring Dayton, Ohio's Jim Van Bebber.

Jim Van Bebber as Goose in Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

DEADBEAT AT DAWN melds together action, martial arts, crime drama, horror, graphic violence and splatter into a hugely entertaining tribute to '70s drive-in cinema. The story concerns Goose (Jim Van Bebber) as the leader of a street gang called The Ravens. He decides to quit the gang and make one last drug deal before settling down with his girlfriend Christy (Megan Murphy). Danny Carmodie (Paul Harper), leader of a rival gang called The Spiders, considers Goose "fair game" now that he's quit The Ravens. He sends two of his minions, Bone Crusher (Marc Pitman) and Stubby to kill him. While Goose is out making his drug deal, Bone Crusher and Stubby force their way into his ramshackle apartment and brutally beat his girlfriend to death. Goose comes home, discovers her bloody body and is of course grief stricken. He's not grief-stricken enough to report it however; instead he disposes of her body in the buildings trash-compactor?! He hides out with his Vietnam veteran, heroin addicted father for a while.

Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

There are a few grimy and depressing scenes with his paranoid, strung-out father before grief and despair finally get the best of him, and he decides suicide may be the answer. Before he can blow his brains out, Keith (Ric Walker) the new leader of The Ravens finds him, sobers him up, and brings him in on an armored car robbery that The Ravens and The Spiders are planning together. Goose goes along with it just long enough to exact bloody revenge on Danny and the rest of The Spiders.

Paul Harper as Danny in Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

That's basically what the movie boils down to - a revenge thriller filled with some excellent '80s splatter effects - knife wounds, slow motion blood sqibs, decapitation, and a spectacular throat-ripping (done just as effectively as any Lucio Fulci throat-ripping). The gritty look of the film comes from the fact that it was shot on 16mm reversal film stock; and as such, it achieves that pseudo-documentary look of films like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, DERANGED, MANIAC, and COMBAT SHOCK. The grittiness is also helped out by the film being shot in some of the seediest-looking locations in Dayton, Ohio. While most of the movie is lit with natural light or white light, there are some scenes lit with bright reds, yellows and greens that add a certain nuance to those scenes; and at certain points in the film there are these '60s style psychedelic kaleidoscope transitions between scenes that compliment the lighting scheme I just mentioned. All this adds to the richness and texture of the film in my opinion, and gives it that '60s and '70s drive-in movie look that Van Bebber was going for. The acting is as to be expected from an ultr-low budget film, but there are some stand-out performances. Jim Van Bebber as Goose has a great screen presence and is the quintessential anti-hero. Paul Harper as Danny (leader of The Spiders gang) handles his role well. But my favorite performance is by Marc Pitman as Bone Crusher (one twisted and sadistic mofo), especially the scene before they kill Goose's girlfriend. He's ranting and raving about about his nihilistic philosophy on life, and it includes such choice lines as, "Man that ain't nuthin' compared to the rush you can get when you're killin' somebody, man. When you're lookin' in their eyes and you're seein' all that life go right out of 'em. It's power." , "I hate people, man! I don't care. I don't give a sh*t. I don't give a sh*t about nuthin'. Man, all my life people have f*cked with me! I just f*ckin' hate people. And I don't care!....Awww! I'm the baddest mutherf*cker you ever seen, man!".

Marc Pitman as Bone Crusher in Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

Jim Van Bebber's name should be synonymous with Stuart Gordon, Frank Henenlotter and Sam Raimi; and it would be except that his output has unfortunately been minimal. After DEADBEAT AT DAWN (his first feature film) he made the short serial killer/cannibal film ROADKILL: THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN MARTIN in 1988, and another excellent short film called MY SWEET SATAN (based on real life killer Ricky Kasso) in 1993. He made another short film in 1994 called DOPER. He began his second feature film, CHARLIE'S FAMILY, in 1995, but due to lack of funding it remained unfinished until DVD distributor Blue Underground helped fund its completion in 2003; and it was finally released under the title THE MANSON FAMILY. Van Bebber has also directed music videos for the following artists: Skinny Puppy, Necrophagia, Pantera, and Superjoint Ritual. I would personally love to see him make the film CHUNK BLOWER, which he shot a 4 minute promo for back in 1990. It looks like a great film for slasher/splatter fans. Someone needs to give Van Bebber some funding. The man has talent.
Combat Shock 1986,  R)
The Decline of Western Civilization 1981,  R)
Nekromantik 1987,  Unrated)
Inside (À l'intérieur) 2007,  R)
Inside (À l'intérieur)
Before I had heard anything about this French horror/thriller, I actually saw it sitting on the shelf of my local DVD outlet. I picked it up read the back and it seemed interesting; but it was released on the Dimension Extreme label here in the US, and their titles are pretty much hit or miss. I decided to wait. After having it recommended to me many times by various Flixter friends, I finally picked it up. I shouldn't have waited. Believe the hype! This movie delivers big time. If you're into splatter and gore (especially the realistic variety), then do not hesitate to get this movie. But it offers more than that. The story was very involving, the cinematography as well as the soundtrack was excellent, there was tension and suspense in some scenes, the actors performances ranged from adequate to excellent, and the ending didn't suck. The twist ending is nothing new to the horror/thriller genre, but ever since SAW was released outlandish twist endings have become de rigueur. And speaking of twist endings another French gore movie comes to mind - HIGH TENSION. I loved HIGH TENSION and I thought the ending was interesting, but it came so far out of leftfield that it became implausible and left lots of plot holes in the story. I'm thankful to say that INSIDE manages to avoid the outlandish twist ending cliché for the most part. A very astute viewer might be able to figure out where the ending is going, but I didn't see it coming; and when it did come it was believable enough. In closing, INSIDE is a very rewarding experience for jaded gorehounds (like myself) and for adventurous arthouse lovers (with strong stomachs).
Ms. 45 2013,  R)
À l'Intérieur (Inside) ,  Unrated)
Curse of the Demon 1958,  Unrated)
Blue Velvet 1986,  R)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid 1973,  R)
Clean, Shaven 1995,  Unrated)
Clean, Shaven

A schizophrenic man, Peter Winter (a great performance by Peter Greene), is released from an institution and goes in search of his young daughter, Nicole. He returns home to find out his mother had put Nicole up for adoption. Another element of the story involves the murder of a young girl, whose body was discovered on the grounds of a hotel where Peter had stayed while making his way home. Detective McNally believes that Peter is responsible for the murder and is trying to track him down before he can reach Nicole.

Writer/director Lodge Kerrigan manages to create a very multi-layered story, full of paranoia, that compels the viewer to keep watching. Peter Greene's performance as a schizophrenic, plagued by hallucinations is ultimately realistic and believable. His hallucinations are not of the psychedelic visual kind, but rather auditory; and the subtle soundtrack as well as the sound design help convey the mood.

His schizophrenia and paranoia lead to acts of self-mutilation. As uncomfortable and jarring as these few scenes are, they never degenerate into gratuitous shock effect, but are a realistic portrayal of his way of releasing his fears and delusions. And every scene he's in is filled with paranoid tension, which forces the viewer to experience things the way Peter does.

This aspect of the film reminds me of Roman Polanski's 1965 classic, REPULSION. Tension is also created by the fact that the viewer is kept in the dark as to whether he murdered the young girl earlier in the film or not. So when he finally finds (and essentially abducts) his daughter, you don't know what the outcome may be.

This independent film is certainly unconventional and far removed from your average polished Hollywood production (thankfully), so don't expect a satisfying ending that answers all your questions. In the end, CLEAN, SHAVEN is an emotionally stirring character study of mental illness on par with the above-mentioned REPULSION and David Cronenberg's SPIDER.
Za ginipiggu 2: Chiniku no hana (Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood) 1985,  Unrated)
Za ginipiggu 2: Chiniku no hana (Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood)
Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

For fans of underground horror, this film needs no introduction. It's one of those (un)holy grail movies for gorehounds that's usually perched near the top of any extreme horror list along with CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, MEN BEHIND THE SUN, and more recently the AUGUST UNDERGROUND films. And like those films, it has a polarizing effect among even diehard horror fans. It usually divides viewers into those who see (and enjoy) the film as pure shock value entertainment with over-the-top gore FX; and those who see it as pure exploitative garbage appealing only to "sickos" of the lowest common denominator. I happen to fall into the former group, and I have no problem defending the merits of extreme cinema (as anyone who's read my reviews already knows). Then again, I've always admired movies and filmmakers that go beyond the pale of good taste, that try to shock and shake the foundations of the viewers sensibilities, even if that means inspiring as much disgust and revulsion in the viewer as possible.

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

If these types of films offend you, or if you just like horror movies that "play it safe", then you should probably stop right here because this is the kind of film that throws down the gauntlet, so to speak. It delivers a cinematic sucker-punch to the gut and dares you to keep watching.

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

There is no real plot to speak of in this movie. One night a man chases, chloroforms and abducts a girl off the street in Japan and binds her to a bed in his blood-stained "slaughter room".

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

He proceeds to drug her, and while donning a Samurai helmet, systematically tortures, dismembers, disembowels and finally decapitates her, all in full gory detail and using a variety of sharp instruments.

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

In between the butchery he delivers some poetic dialogue likening the spurting blood and grue to the blossoming of flowers (hence the title of the film). So basically, it's a pseudo-snuff film. And for those who don't know, the GUINEA PIG films were a series of shot-on-video mini-movies (about 40 to 60 minutes in length), produced in Japan in the mid to late '80s, directed by various Japanese filmmakers, and aimed squarely at the burgeoning home video market. FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD is the second in the series, following the similarly-themed and equally grotesque DEVIL'S EXPERIMENT; and it was written and directed by famed manga artist Hideshi Hino.

Hideshi Hino

The fourth installment in the series, MERMAID IN A MANHOLE, was also written and directed by Hino, and it also features plenty of the "red stuff". For MERMAID, Hino drops the pseudo-snuff angle and goes for a story that resembles the dark visions of his manga books like Panorama of Hell and The Bug Boy.

Panorama of Hell by Hideshi Hino

The Guinea Pig films were never officially released on video in many countries, including the US; and were distributed via underground VHS bootlegs, which is how I first came across it. And let me tell you, watching FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD on a 5th or 6th generation VHS bootleg is a much more disturbing (and realistic) experience than watching the remastered version on the Unearthed Films DVD. Not to mention that the old VHS bootleg had no credit sequence or dialogue, which added to its mystery and notoriety. I have to give props to Unearthed Films for releasing the GUINEA PIG series in the first place, but also for including a VHS bootleg version of the film as a hidden "easter egg" on the DVD.

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

There are a few interesting stories surrounding FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD. One is the legend that it's based on an actual snuff case. This story was most likely concocted by someone involved with the film (probably for added shock effect), who claimed that the director received a parcel in the mail containing one 8mm film reel, some still photographs and a letter all detailing the ritualized dismemberment and slaughter of an unidentified girl, which they handed over to the authorities (after viewing it of course). They insinuated that the case had to be kept quiet so as not to cause a public outcry, because the killer was never caught. And FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD was supposedly a recreation of the 8mm snuff film. This is highly unlikely. I don't care how "quiet" the case was kept, some information and details of it would have leaked out if it were real. This legend, of course, just boosts the notoriety of the film and has the same effect that the narration at the beginning of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE had about it being " account of the tragedy that befell a group of five youths...The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history." And to this day you'll find people who swear up and down that TEXAS CHAINSAW happened exactly as the events portrayed in the film (rather than being very loosely based on Wisconsin's favorite ghoul, Ed Gein). Another story about FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD happens to be true. Noted genre journalist, author, and all around horror guru Chas Balun had acquired a copy of the film, and at the request of a staff member on Chas' Deep Red magazine, he edited together the goriest bits of FLOWER with a slew of gory scenes from other horror films, to be played at the staff members' birthday party.

Chas Balun

Within no time, the tape had been bootlegged and distributed all over the West Coast. At some point, Charlie Sheen saw a copy of this tape and believing it to be an actual snuff film, he reported it to the FBI. The GUINEA PIG films had already been under investigation in Japan and were, of course, determined to be fake. Another more horrifying story involves the Japanese serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, dubbed "The Otaku Murderer", who killed four girls between the ages of 4 and 7 in 1988/89.

Tsutomu Miyazaki (The Otaku Murderer)

The atrocities he inflicted on the bodies included mutilation, necrophilia and cannibalism. When the authorities searched his home they discovered a collection of nearly 6,000 pornographic and/or violent videos (including the GUINEA PIG films and videotape footage of some of his victims corpses). He supposedly re-enacted some of the scenes from FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD on one of his victims. That brings to a close the sordid legacy behind one of the most notorious gore shockers ever made.

Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)
Eraserhead 1977,  R)
The Films of the Brothers Quay 1987,  Unrated)

Comments (0)

Post a comment

Recent Comments