The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011)

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)The first film was My Little Pony, compared to what we were going to witness in The Human Centipede 2 (Eat Shit and Die), as writer and director Tom Six said with a great enthusiasm. And that couldn’t be more true. This is the film that should have all the buzz words the first one was bombarded with.

 

This one also takes another whole approach in terms of tone, style and plot, of little there is. This time shot in crisp black and white where we get the pleasure of meeting Martin (Laurence R. Harvey), a sad existence of a human. He’s a short, middle-aged, mentally challenged and morbidly obese outcast with some even bigger, hideous eyes. Picture a morbid live-action version of Humpty Dumpty mixed with the Tweedle Boys and some bloke who shouldn’t be near any children. Martin lives in a bleak and nihilistic world with his old mother in a cramped and depressing apartment complex in East London. His mother hates his fat guts and just wants to kill him. Luckily, Martin is suitable enough to have a job as he works as a tollbooth clerk in a parking garage where he mostly spends his time watching the DVD of The Human Centipede. Yes, this is the real world, you see, where the first film was just a movie. As Martin also has a centipede as a pet, the only friend he presumably ever had, he’s is obsessed with the film and is fantasizing about himself making his own human centipede – because, after all, the film told us that it was 100 % medically accurate.

 

Martin starts to collect the victims for his centipede experiment of twelve people to lure them into his own warehouse. One of the victims is also fully pregnant. Yup, this nasty sequel holds no punches. But his biggest wet dream is to get his hands on the actress Ashlynn Yennie, who also starred in the first film. And in order to get her from the US to an obscure warehouse somewhere in London, Martin has a genius plan: he’ll trick her to believe he’s a casting agent for Quentin Tarantino. Yes, she’s up for a surprise.

 

Tom Six wanted to have more blood and shit in the sequel, which lacked in the first film. And blood and shit you’ll get, in gallons. The film goes all the way, even the extra footsteps, with the brutality to put the poorest taste in the audiences mouth, and maybe pleasing a depressed Roger Ebert this time. But in the midst of the shooting of The Human Centipede 2, some drastic changes had to happen when Tom Six was told to change it to black & white to make it appear less gory. The black & white only adds more to the imagination and enhances the gritty and grimy atmosphere. And it’s still one of those films where you want to take a long shower after watching. So it works in that sense and serves its purpose. There’s a color version, to my knowledge, that was included in a Blu-ray set, which I haven’t seen.

 

I wouldn’t recommend a movie like this to anyone unless you have a bucket full of a sick & dark sense of humor and hate your neighbors. And having some self-destructing personality flaw, sadomasochistic behavior mixed with some strong misanthropic tendencies is a plus to fully enjoy this movie with some ghoulish schadenfreude glee. The ending goes completely off the rails and hilariously batSHIT, where the tagline 100% medically INaccurate couldn’t fit more. A real shitshow in the purest form where it’s OK to have a sadistic laugh or two. I hope that the real centipede they used in some scenes wasn’t harmed though.

 

Fun trivia: The director views it as an anti-bullying film and tweeted It should be mandatory to watch THC2 in school classes…It deals with a character that is bullied and what to do! And a high school teacher in Tennessee did just that by showing the film to her class. After she was suspended, Tom Six gave her an autographed copy of the film.

 

Tom Six followed up with the third film, The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). It was, of course, like the others, banned due to highly explicit sexual violence, as well as an abundance of potential obscenity. This was Six’s attempt to make a pure comedy in some bizarre sitcom-style, where I’m inclined to believe that the film was banned because people died of the painfully cringe humor more than anything – and seeing Dieter Laser in a full non-stop psychotic meltdown-mode, while trying to commit suicide in almost every scene by getting his blood pressure as high as possible. The centipede aspects are shoehorned in at the last minute, which makes the trilogy anticlimactic like a quick, dry fart. Watch the first two.

 

I can also mention that Tom Six’s newest film is called The Onania Club – which is about a group of elite upper class women in Hollywood who get their pussy wet and horny by witnessing others’ life tragedies, all from the extreme pleasures of seeing images of holocaust victims to people dying of cancer. And judging from the trailer, it looks as cheap and amateurish as a YouTube skit. It was originally set to be released back in 2017, but has been further delayed because there isn’t a single distributor on the planet who wants to touch it. And if the film can’t match any standards even for a company like Wild Eye Releasing, then it has to be worse than herpes. The Human Centipede films, however, are mostly out-of-print but can be found on eBay.

 

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

 

 

Writer and director: Tom Six
Country & year: Netherlands, USA, 2011
Actors: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie, Maddi Black, Kandace Caine, Dominic Borrelli, Lucas Hansen, Lee Nicholas Harris, Dan Burman, Daniel Jude Gennis, Georgia Goodrick, Emma Lock
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1530509/

 

Prequel: The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)Two young American ladies, Lindsey and Jenny, are visiting Germany. While driving through a forest they get a flat tire. And since they don’t know how to change a tire, they have to go on foot with their high heels through the forest while it’s raining to hopefully find some help. Luckily, they come across a house where the lights are on. They ring on the doorbell and out comes Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) who invites them in for a glass of water while he’s calling the car service.

 

You have a really lovely home. Do you live here with your wife?, asks one of the girls. No… I don’t like human beings, he answers in the most unironically way with his creepy German accent.

 

Okay, then. Thanks for the water, but now it’s time to leave. Oops, too late. Because Dr. Heiter has laced their water with some strong sedatives, and soon they’ll wake up in his lab basement, strained to their hospital beds. Because, you see, this doctor has a very special passion, and that is to make the world’s first human centipede. And according to the poster, this is done with 100% medical accuracy. So this is perfectly safe to try at home, kids.

 

The Human Centipede was, at the time, the most  brutalshockingsickeninggruesomegrossrevoltingdisturbingdisgusting (and add all buzz words possible) piece of horror film that has ever been made on planet Earth – and probably the most hyped and viral thing that only Megan is Missing (2011) could come close to. The buzz for this film was so colossal and huge that it managed to crawl its way into the mainstream pop-culture and was even mentioned as a parody game of Pac-Man in an episode of The Simpsons. There is also a porn parody titled The Human Sexipede. Anyway – people who haven’t even seen the film call it the most disturbing thing ever. But for most of us who have actually seen it, we can confirm that this is a prime example of how a morbid concept like this sounds so much more horrific on paper with a pretty brilliant poster design that is cryptic enough to toy with your darkest imagination.

 

Because this is not exactly the body horror you’d expect to see from directors like David Cronenberg, Brian Yuzna or the horror mangas of Hideshi Hino and Junji Ito. It’s not even close to being as gruesome and graphic as the title and the poster would trick you to believe. Yes, it’s supposed to look more realistic and grounded with the less is more approach, but still… It’s quite underwhelming, and nothing but comical to see the actors squeezing their noses between their ass-cheeks to make us believe that they’re Frankensteined together, as they’re moaning like they’re in some scat porn video. The only legit disgusting moment here is the snot hanging from the nose of the Asian guy, who got lucky enough to be the first link to the centipede experiment. I can’t imagine the actors being proud to be in this and have ever shown it to their moms and dads and their friends – Hey, look at this horror film I’m in where I’m eating ass and breathing farts. 

 

There are many unique ways to be totally humiliated on screen as an actor, but this has to take the shit cake – only until the far more fucked-up sequel The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) came and said hold my anus. And there’s no wonder why actresses who showed up to the casting sessions walked out in disgust after discovering what they were about to sign on to.

 

The Human Centipede was mostly filmed in a residential home in the Netherlands with primarily four actors and a small budget. The film could have been so much worse, but our villain, Dr. Heiter, makes sure to keep us entertained. He looks like an elderly meth-addicted Robert Pattinson with stage four cancer. A solid-looking mad-scientist villain, in other words, with an electric performance by the eccentric German actor Dieter Laser (1942-2020) which makes this film worth a watch alone. And speaking of meth… Dieter approached his role with method acting, didn’t mingle with either cast or crew between the takes, and pretty much kept to himself. According to Dieter, the white jacket he wore was by a real Nazi doctor from WW2. He took the role so seriously to a point where he started to feel some Nazi guilt, and got into a fight when he accidentally kicked the Asian guy. Welcome to showbiz. Tom Six views the film as a reflection on fascism and his fear of doctors and hospitals.

 

But at the end of the day, The Human Centipede is an unintentionally twisted, silly little comedy that got hyped out of proportions just because of its title alone, and it’s not to be taken seriously for even half a second. Our old friend Roger Ebert, on the other hand, hated the film so much that he gave it zero stars – which should be enough to pique your curiosity, if you ask me.

 

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

 

Writer and director: Tom Six
Country & year: Netherlands, 2009
Actors: Dieter Laser, Winter Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura, Andreas Leupold, Peter Blankenstein, Bernd Kostrau, Rene de Wit
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1467304/

 

Sequel: The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011)

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Kuso (2017)

KusoI LOVED this earthquake! It was the best one I’ve ever seen. All my enemies are DEAD! HAHAHAAA…!

 

And the earthquake we’re talking about is the one that took place in Los Angeles in 1994. One of the survivors from that brutal event was the eleven-year old Steve Ellison, aka Flying Lotus. 23 years later he would release his first feature film which took a lot of inspiration from the trauma of being an earthquake survivor as a child, and his overall fear of skin diseases and probably a laundry list of other phobias that followed. He also wanted to show how ugly people could be. Show their ugly asses, as he said. And ‘boy, he sure fucking did. This is the type of film that people like John Waters and Harmony Korine would gladly show on their first dates. Take that as a warning, if you will.

 

So, what’s Kuso really about? What’s the plot here? Uhm… yeah, good question. We’re in a trippy and surreal post-apocalyptic world where people have gone completely batshit insane while having their faces infested with big, nasty zits. The world of Mad Max is a walk in Disneyland in comparison. Here they don’t eat dog food straight from the cans but rather things such as a solid menu of stomach-turning “food” that includes worms and…bodily waste. Scat porn, several viewers say, and that’s not so far from it. This is juicy body horror to the extreme, disgusting and revolting, and if you have some certain boundaries when it comes to such, take also this as a warning. At the same time, it’s all done with a pitch-black sense of humor, so it’s not to be taken seriously. Still, there are moments here that even got a little too much for me, and my melted brain felt the after-effects while I slept through the following night.

 

But what is it really about? We follow a group of people who deal with their separate meaningless lives in their own post-apocalyptic environment. The film works more or less like an anthology with four vignettes which we bounce back and forth from: Royal, Mr. Quiggle, Smear and Sock. In between the segments we have some insane acid-trip scenes that even Terry Gilliam could be jealous of. It’s all dream logic and if you could livestream someone’s deepest cocaine-filled fever dream on a monitor screen, I wouldn’t be too surprised if this was the result. I don’t see much point in even trying to break down the segments. I would also lose the little I have left of my own sanity if I did. It’s just pure, perverted, unfiltered, experimental art-house madness where you can never, ever guess what’s about to happen next. Very graphic and visual, filled with details and even more unpredictable what-the-fucks you can imagine, and as far from mainstream audience-friendly as it can get. An overall unique experience for the senses that you would never watch with your mom and dad. And just to quote the director himself: This is definitely a movie for a certain kind of person.

 

Kuso was first distributed by Shudder and is also available on a DVD/Blu-ray combo on Amazon. The film is here reviewed from a very rare DVD edition from Sweden, just to point out.

 

Kuso Kuso Kuso

 

 

Director: Flying Lotus
Writers: David Firth, Flying Lotus
Country & year: US, 2017
Actors: Hannibal Buress, George Clinton, David Firth, Arden Banks, Byron Bowers, Shane Carpenter, Angel Deradoorian, Regan Farquhar, Pretty Ricki Fontaine, Zack Fox, Tim Heidecker, Bob Heslip, Anders Holm
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6131712/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Tokyo Gore PoliceNow, time for some J-splatter horror insanity to make your hair wet n’ sticky. Director Yoshihiro Nishimura had primarily worked as special makeup effects supervisor on numerous films since the early 1980s. After working on The Machine Girl, he was asked if he wanted to direct his first full-length feature for the American distributor Media Blasters. The result was a remake of his earlier student film Anatomia Extinction from 1995. Like most people in the Asian movie business, he worked fast and furiously and completed the film in only two weeks, and with some pretty amusing results.

 

We’re in a futuristic dystopian Tokyo where the police force has been privatized, and the city is now an out-of-control violent gore-zone. Tokyo is also being threatened by a scientist under the name “The Key Man” who, with a key-shaped virus, injects people around the city and turn them into mutants called “Engineers”. It’s even worse than it sounds and there seems to be an army of them that spreads like banana flies. So, who’s here to save the day? Say hello to Ruka (Eihi Shiina), the most skilled, cold-blooded and dangerous of the special police squad of “Engineer Hunters” who slices her targets in half with her blade like it was just a regular day. The actress behind Ruka is the same shy and quiet lady we saw in Takashi Miike’s Audition. Yes, that lady. She’s also deeply traumatized after witnessing her father, who worked as a police officer, getting his head blown to pieces like a big watermelon by an unknown assassin. The motive? Who knows. She deals with the pain by some self-mutilation while she’s obsessed about one day catching the one who killed her father.

 

And good luck with that. We get invited on a crazy, red-soaked journey where blood pours endlessly out of wounds like garden hoses, an effect that gets pretty old after a while as it gets overused to death. The use of blood was so messy and all over the place that the cameras had to be covered in plastic. So in that regard, the film surely lives up to the title.

 

It also has to be pointed out that Tokyo Gore Police is not to be taken one bit seriously. The film has a zany manga vibe in the same style as Meatball Machine and The Machine Girl, where we have silly fight scenes filled with video game logic and some other, bizarre, mind-bending WTF moments. There are many highlights and unique scenes here that include a cute mutant girl whose half body is formed like a hybrid of a snail and the mouth of a crocodile that chews some poor guys’ dick off. We also have a mutant guy with a big elephant trunk as a penis which he uses as a machine gun. A chair urinates on a crowd in a fetish club. Yes, really. And there’s much more. Also watch out for a minigun that shoots fist knuckles. To amp up the madness all up to eleven, the film is sprinkled with some spicy satire aimed at Japan’s extreme trend of suicides. The most notable is the cute, colorful billboard commercials around the city where pre-teen girls in school uniforms joyfully promotes the new hot thing on the market The wrist cutter. Kawaii! Only in Japan, as we say.

 

And of course, the big question is: Is this the goriest film ever made? No, but it’s certainly on the top ten list. Tokyo Gore Police is overall a fun watch, but drags somewhere in the middle. It’s wild and experimental, which mostly works best as a creative showcase of old school special effects.

 

Yoshihiro Nishimura was planning a sequel at some time, but that doesn’t seem to happen. Anyway, he’s had a pretty fruitful career as director since TGP and made films such as Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl and Helldriver, which also seems worth checking out.

 

Tokyo Gore Police Tokyo Gore Police Tokyo Gore Police

 

 

Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Writers: Kengo Kaji, Maki Mizui, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Original title: Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu
Country & year: Japan, 2008
Actors: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny, Jiji Bû, Ikuko Sawada, Cay Izumi, Mame Yamada, Ayano Yamamoto, Akane Akanezawa, Tsugumi Nagasawa
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1183732/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

Tokyo Gore Police Trailer from Derek Lieu on Vimeo.

The Dentist (1996)

The Dentist I am an instrument of perfection and hygiene. The enemy of decay and corruption. A dentist. And I have a lot of work to do. –

 

His name is Dr. Alan Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen). And he’s about to have his worst day at the office. So are his patients, and co-workers – and everyone around him. On the surface, like a shallow Instagram page, he seems to have the perfect life with a big house with a swimming pool and all, and a seemingly loving wife.

 

And if the cold shoulders from his more and more distant wife wasn’t a bad start of his day already, he smells cigarette smoke from her mouth. Fuck. Now he has to brush his teeth again before he goes to the office. Because: Nothing, how matter how good or how pure, is free of decay. Once the decay gets started, it can only lead to rot, filth, corruption. –

 

And with that statement it makes me wonder if he has any politicians as clients. Anyway, we quickly learn that Dr. Feinstone is already a mentally sick man with a head filled with schizophrenia and delusions which he always battles to keep in check. But the stream of negativity which also triggers his severe OCD is going to push him over the edge any minute.

 

He finally hits the breaking point when he sees his wife cheating with the pool cleaner guy as she sucks his cock in the garden in broad daylight – on their anniversary day, even. Oof. And he’s already late for work. Now he just sees filth left and right. The floodgates of filth are open.

 

– Filth, filth everywhere. Especially children! They’re spoiled rotten! –

 

Dr. Feinstone is now on a mission. He will rip the filth out of people, tooth by tooth if it’s necessary. Cut off the tongue also while we’re at it. Get rid of all the filth. And you’d bet he has some special plan for his wife on the anniversary night.

 

Two police detectives, played by Tony Foree and Tony Noakes  get involved as soon Dr. Evil Feinstone leaves his trails of blood. Feinstone’s day isn’t getting any better when Mr Goldbum (Earl Boem), an agent from IRS, is on his neck for not delivering his taxes.

 

The Dentist is directed by low-budget-cheese meister Brian Yuzna (the mustached brain behind 90s cult-classics like Society, Return of the Living Dead III, Bride of Re-Animator and Faust: Love of the Damned) made for HBO TV with a budget of $700,000. Most of it was filmed in a residential home (Yuzna’s, I guess) where the whole budget went to decorate the dental operation offices. Even with the tight budget, which would be advisable for a simple premise like this, they actually managed to get over the budget, leaving Yuzna unhappy with the finished production design. The gore effects seemed to be a second thought.

 

With that said, the film looks even lower on the budget and filled with restrains, but the always energetic Corbin Bernsen saves it from mediocrity with his manic, over-the-top performance. We spend a lot of time in the dental office where patients drop like flies under pretty suspect circumstances where the FBI would normally raid the building in a heartbeat. Dr. Feinstone is a crazed loose cannon who does his best to keep it together and not getting caught for doing kinky shenanigans with one of his drugged-out patients. If his day and his mind wasn’t a complete shitstorm already, it’s about to get worse.  So open wide and say fuuuuuuuck.

 

There’s some clever camera work and cinematography here despite some very dated “trippy” visuals which are as 90s as it can get. The effects, with its flavor of body horror, are nicely done in the unique schlocky way we’re used to seeing in a Brian Yuzna film, but the film’s highlight with the oversized mouth stretch, gets old old pretty fast. More time on the effect department would do the film a bigger favor. As a-madman-on-the-loose with a falling down psychosis, The Dentist is silly entertainment as long its lasts where Yuzna does the best of the little he had of resources.

 

The sequel The Dentist 2 (1998) is pretty much a nothing-burger with lazy and lackluster kills, filled with tedious drama where the trip to the actual dentist is more entertaining. Watch Stepfather II instead. Both films are available on a 2-disc Blu-ray from Vestron Video with audio commentary from director Brian Yuzna among other extra features.

 

The Dentist

 

Director: Brian Yuzna
Writers: Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, Charles Finch
Country & year: US, 1996
Actors: Corbin Bernsen, Linda Hoffman, Michael Stadvec, Ken Foree, Tony Noakes, Molly Hagan, Patty Toy, Jan Hoag, Virginya Keehne, Earl Boen, Christa Sauls, Mark Ruffalo, Lise Simms
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0116075/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of the Body SnatchersA parasitic alien race is abandoning their dying planet, in search of a new place. They travel to Earth, and take form as small pink flowers which look innocent enough and won’t cause any suspicion. The laboratory scientist Elizabeth Driscoll brings one of these flowers home, unaware of their origins, and the next day she wakes up finding her boyfriend Geoffrey behaving like a totally different person. He is cold and distant towards her, and she gets the paranoid feeling that her own boyfriend might actually be an impostor. She confides in her colleague and friend, Matthew Bennell, who advises her to talk to a psychiatrist. Soon, they start encountering other people who believes their loved ones have been replaced by impostors, and everything escalates from there as the alien duplicates seem to be taking over the entire world.

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction horror film, directed by Philip Kaufman. It is based in the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers which was written by Jack Finney, and which was previously adapted into a 1956 film by the same name as this film. Upon its release it received varied reviews from the critics, which has gotten more favorable over the tears. It grossed nearly $25 million. The director had been a fan of the 1956 film, and had the cinematographer Michael Chapman try and capture the film noir feel of the original, just in color. The sound editor, Ben Burtt, who had earlier worked on some of the sound effects on Star Wars the year before, added to the film’s ambience where natural sounds mixes with the city’s industrial noises. And of course the famous “shriek” the aliens give off then spotting a real human, which was composed of many elements, including a pig squeal. The film also has a number of cameo appearances, including Kevin McCarthy who played Dr. Bennell in the 1956 movie, and that film’s director, Don Siegel, who appears as a taxi driver.

 

The film holds nothing back when it comes to any mystery, as we know already from the first scene that there are aliens coming to Earth to take over the place. Exactly how this is done is probably the only kind of mystery, and we do indeed get some gorgeously nasty scenes involving this process. It’s a bit of a slow burner at times, focusing on setting an atmosphere of paranoia and underlying terror, but overall it’s a fun popcorn-flick. The horror and science fiction elements work in a perfect combination, and while there never is any mystery as to what is happening, we still feel a certain tension when wondering how the characters will fare when meeting a world soon to be completely overruled by something that isn’t human. Everyone is going through feelings of distrust, panic and anxiety as they no longer know who to trust, and the duplicates are turning into beings devoid of any feelings and completely emotionally blunted, like a bunch of Zoloft-zombies. The cast is also pretty decent, with Donald Sutherland playing the role as Dr. Benell being the most recognizable here, as many of you have probably already seen a certain iconic scene or image from the movie starring him…

 

Overall, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a good sci-fi horror movie, telling the story of an unlikely yet still chilling alien invasion which goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Like in many other alien invasion movies where they come in giant motherships causing total mayhem, this one on the other hand is using a subtle kind of attack. It’s an invasion that could happen right under our noses, without any sign of what is going on until the damage is done and there’s no way back. I honestly find that concept more disturbing than a bunch of greys coming to wreak havoc…

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Invasion of the Body Snatchers

 

Director: Philip Kaufman
Writer: W.D. Richter
Country & year: US, 1974
Actors: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy, Art Hindle, Lelia Goldoni, Kevin McCarthy, Don Siegel, Tom Luddy, Stan Ritchie, David Fisher, Tom Dahlgren
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0077745/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

Guinea Pig 5: Mermaid in a Manhole (1988)

Guinea pig: Devil's experimentI smell rotten fish.

 

A man credited as The Artist has recently lost his pregnant wife to cancer and lives alone in his crampy, depressing crib somewhere in the urban jungle of Tokyo. The only thing left in his vacant life is his art painting and two gossiping neighbours living in the apartment under him. To keep his sanity and inspiration going he often visits the nearest sewer system, something which we artists all do. One day while visiting the sewer, he stumbles upon a young mermaid, whom he instantly gets attracted to. Who wouldn’t. He immediately starts to draw her before he takes her with him to his apartment where he puts her in the bathtub. And it’s all kawaii from here on with a cute love story which’ll make everyone’s heart melt. Uhm, well, not exactly.

 

Because there’s something really wrong and messed up with this mermaid, you see. The Artist tells us that there once was a river where the sewer system was built on, which the mermaid seems to have been stranded on. And it appears she’s been stranded too long in the sewer which has infected her, and her body starts to fall apart in very grotesque ways because of that. The Artist is anxiously optimistic though, and does whatever he can to nurture and save her.

 

And there’s only that much I can say without spoiling the whole thing given its one-hour runtime with an actual story to tell. This is also the second last film in the Guinea Pig series which steered completely away from the snuff/found footage-style of filmmaking to the traditional approach. We have the other films in the series which focused more on splatstick comedies filled with cringe kindergarten-level humor aimed for six-year olds, and no one seemed to take this seriously other than Hideshi Hino. In other words; Flower of Flesh and Blood and Mermaid in a Manhole are those two in the series that’s worth watching.

 

Like Flower of Flesh and Blood, it’s based on Hino’s manga with the same title, and open for any interpretation as it’s sprinkled with metaphors all over the place which will leave you down in the deepest mental rabbit hole, and lost far under any icebergs. On the surface level, the film works as a tragic and morbid body-horror love story with its plenty of gore, bodily fluids and lots of worms, projected from a deep psychotic feverdream by David Cronenberg – and is a perfect watch while enjoying sushi. Yum!

 

A box-set of the Guinea Pig series was released first time on DVD outside of Japan twenty plus years ago by Unearthed Films. It’s of course out-of-print and only available if you’re willing to pay an insane ridiculous fuck off-price. As much as I’m a supporter of physical media I can’t say with a good conscience that it’s worth it. Nope, sorry. They’re not on any streaming services, but all of the films are on YouTube and a playlist can be found on archive.org.

 

Guinea pig: Mermaid in a Manhole

 

Writer and director: Hideshi Hino
Original title: Ginî piggu: Manhôru no naka no ningyo
Country & year: Japan, 1988
Actors: Shigeru Saiki, Mari Somei, Masami Hisamoto, Gô Rijû
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0161638/

 

Related posts: Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985) | Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (1985)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Virus (1999)

VirusA Russian research vessel, Volkov, is out in the South Pacific and communicates with the orbiting space station Mir. Suddenly, some kind of energy source from space hits the space station, kills the cosmonauts and sends beams down to Volkov, causing an electrical surge that invades the ship’s computer and causes chaos and destruction. A week later, the alcoholic captain Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland) is out with his crew on the tugboat Sea Star in terrible weather, and ends up losing the cargo. Which is uninsured, of course. Matters go from bad to worse when they discover that the engine room is taking in water, and they try to take refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs. Then, Volkov appears on their radar, like an ominous ghost ship out of nowhere. Of course, the captain knows the ship and its possible worth, and he orders the crew aboard as the tempting thought of millions in salvage could turn this horrible day into a splendid one.

 

When they get on board they notice that most of the electronics have been destroyed, and the crew appears to be missing. There’s something else lurking onboard, however…a robotic, spider-like creature appear and kills one of them, and they meet a terrified woman who later proves to be Nadia Vinogravoda, the Chief Science Officer on the ship, and she desperately tries to prevent them from turning on the ship’s power. At first they refuse to listen to any of the gibberish nonsense she is telling them, but when a gun-wielding cyborg appears that is supposedly one of the missing crew members on Volkov, they realize that what Nadia tells them is true, and something out of this world has taken over the ship with the intention of killing what it thinks is a “virus” in this world. In other words: kill mankind.

 

Virus is a science fiction horror movie from 1999, directed by John Bruno and starring a fair share of well-known faces. Despite high competence in visual effects and some famous actors, the movie turned out to be a flop and failed to appease both critics and moviegoers, and with a budget of 75 million dollars the box office ended up with a measly 30.7 million dollars. Ouch. A bunch of merchandise was also created, including action figures, comics, and a survival horror video game called Virus: It is Aware by Cryo Interactive made for the Sony Playstation. Just like the movie, however, the reception was rather poor and caused the game to fall into obscurity. Flop after flop, in other words. Over time, however, the movie has gained a bit of a cult following. Despite the rough reception, it is in hindsight a decent enough sci-fi horror. Not a masterpiece by any means, and yeah, somewhat derivative and unoriginal, but there is a fair amount of action and old-school gore effects. Sometimes that’s all you need for a fun time.

 

The movie was mostly filmed in Newport News, Virginia, on a ship anchored in the James River. The ship used as the Volkov was actually a retired Missile Range Instrumentation Ship (USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, T-AGM-10), and one of the satellite dish antennas was intentionally damaged for the film’s final scene. John Bruno, the director, is a visual effects artist and has worked on numerous animated movies and TV series, including Heavy Metal (1981), The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) and the rather obscure Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977). He’s also done visual effects for movies like Poltergeist (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), and the NOS4A2 TV series, just to mention some. So yeah, the old school effects in Virus are solid as hell and even gorier than I remembered. Also, Donald Sutherland works well as a greedy, sadistic and slightly cheesy villain.

 

There’s been a fair amount of older horror movies that were downright crapped on back when they were released, and are later getting a cult following and some delayed praise for being what they are (Deep Rising, for example, one of my favorite sea-monster movies, fits well into this category). As a techno-bodyhorror B-movie, despite not being great by any means, Virus still holds up well as a gory B-grade popcorn-flick.

 

Virus Virus Virus

 

Director: John Bruno
Writers:
Chuck Pfarrer, Dennis Feldman
Country & year: USA, 1999
Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell, Sherman Augustus, Cliff Curtis, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Yuri Chervotkin, Keith Flippen, Olga Rzhepetskaya-Retchin
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0120458/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

964 Pinocchio (1991)

964 Pinocchio

Ready for some fucked up Japanese cyberpunk acid-trip that will blow your mind to smithereens and probably put your endurance test to a whole new level? Then let me introduce 964 Pinocchio which starts off like every normal Disney film.

 

964 Pinocchio, or simply called 964, is on the outside a young boy with a cute little unicorn haircut, but on the inside he is a broken, demented, helpless cyborg, manufactured in some clinic to be used as a sex slave. Unfortunately 964 can’t get an erection, so some doctors brutally drills through his skull to wipe out his memory and turn him into a lobotomized vegetable before he gets thrown out of the clinic like a dog – and gets a rough welcome to the bleak and depressing society of urban Japan. At least he’s able to walk, and soon finds himself in the isolated environment of Tokyo where he meets the homeless girl Himiko. And the most normal thing in this movie is that he actually meets a girl that’s a fully functioning human being, even with some level of empathy. She invites him to come and live with her in some abandoned industrial shithole, where she does her best to learn him to speak, and cruises along shopping malls to snap food straight from the counter. All filmed in guerilla style, by the way, where all the civilians are unaware extras, and done in a hurry before someone finds out and calls the police.

 

Where we thought the film was seemingly normal, they fall in love, and the moment they exchange their tongues to each other, the image freezes before fading to black, and the the shit is about the get serious. Our unicorn-haired fuckdroid infects Himiko with something that makes her go noodle-shit crazy of some epic proportions, starts to abuse him, and … holy fuck almighty, how am I even going to describe what happens for the next hour and so. Get ready for a lot of close-ups of insane facial expressions, puking, frantic running, some brief low budget body-horror and just overall a relentless odyssey with screaming, shouting and moaning like

OOOOOUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAHH,HHNNGHHHUUAAAAAA, HUUNNDGGHOOOUOAAAAAAAAA, EEEEEEEEEEEH, EEEHHHHH, OOOOOOH, AAAAAAAAAHHUGHH, AAAUUUOOOAHHHHHHOOAAAA, GGHHHHHIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAGHH, GGGGHHHHHHHHHIIIIII, AAAAAAAAAAAAGGHHHFFHHH

 

… and here you basically have most of the script in a nutshell. And it’s of course natural to compare 964 Pinocchio to its big brother Tetsuo, where also director Shozin Fukui was one of the crew members on that film. Shozin Fukui probably thought to himself that “hah, I can make something more insane that this, even with a much longer runtime. Shiyou! ” When Tetsuo had its perfect runtime of 65 minutes and was able to hold on a certain narrative, flow, and knew where to stop, this mofo on the other hand, goes on for one hour and 37 minutes with scenes that drags on forever with little to no direction. There’s a scene lasting for ten minutes during the last thirty minutes, where 964 runs frantically through the streets of Tokyo while looking like a demented cyberpunk version of the Joker, and of course screaming his lungs off. And that scene feels more like three hours. Pure deranged misery. I will at least give the film credits for its energetic, handheld camerawork which gives off some early Peter Jackson vibes, and the intimate illusion of being present with 964 through his endless, tortuous, kinetic nightmare. The actors give it all with full dedication and Haji Suzuki as 964 is a diabolical force of nature. Others will also pick up a laundry list of metaphors, cryptic symbolism and social commentary between all the monotonous screaming, running and whatnot that only the inhabitants of planet Japan are able to perceive with a straight face. I can recommend 964 Pinocchio mostly as an endurance challenge and just congratulate in advance to those who manage to sit through it in one single setting without any pause. Good luck.

 

The one and only 2004-DVD release from Unearthed Films went out of print ages ago, but is to be found on eBay, very pricey, though.

 

964 Pinocchio 964 Pinocchio 964 Pinocchio

 

 

Director: Shozin Fukui
Writers: Shozin Fukui, Makoto Hamaguchi, Naoshi Gôda
Also known as: Screams of Blasphemy (UK)
Country & year: Japan, 1991
Actors:Haji Suzuki, Onn-chan, Kôji Ôtsubo, Kyoko Hara, Rakumaro San’yûtei, Kôta Mori, Tomio Watanabe, Anri Hayashi, Kyôko Irohani, Michiko Harada, Yûko Fujiwara, Yoshimitsu Takada, Naoshi Gôda
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0225009/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Color Out of Space (2019)

Color Out of SpaceNathan Gardener and his family moves to his late father’s farm somewhere in rural New England, in the hopes of living a quiet life and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Just when they start to settle in, a meteorite crashes into their yard which emits an otherworldly color (a color out of space). One of the children (Jack) is traumatized by the event, and seems to be affected in strange ways. He becomes obsessed with the well in the garden and claims he’s got a “friend” there. Strange flowers and plants starts growing, animals suffer grotesque mutations, and the Gardener family’s life transforms into a colorful nightmare.

 

Color Out of Space is based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. The director, Richard Stanley, last directed a film way back in 1992 (Dust Devil), so there was a 27 year pause until his comeback. Things didn’t start out all that trouble-free, however, as the movie lacked funding when Stanley revealed the project in 2013. In 2015 it was announced that the production company SpectreVision would produce the film…but it was still delayed until 2018, around the time when Nicholas Cage was confirmed to play the leading role, and then the filming started in Portugal in 2019. Sometimes, things simply just take time. Stanley first stated that this is the first movie in a planned trilogy of Lovecraft adaptions (the next one supposed to be based on The Dunwich Horror). However, in March 2021 the trilogy was canceled after Stanley was accused of domestic abuse by his former partner Scarlett Amaris, and SpectreVision cut all relation with him.

 

Many of Lovecraft’s stories have been made into film adaptions, some more successfully than others. And most of them have a varied love/hate reception…and this movie is no exception to that rule. And it isn’t even the first time Color Out Of Space was adapted to the screen…there are actually as much as four earlier adaptions, including a 2010 German black & white adaption that’s called Die Farbe aka Color Out of Space.

 

As this story was originally published in September 1927, and Stanley’s movie adaption goes for a more modern take on things, there are some changes here and there. For those that have read the original Lovecraft story, you’ll know that the color is described as one that humanity has never actually seen…but that is, of course, not really possible to portray in a movie unless it was made in black and white (like the German 2010 adaption). However, the purple-pink-ish color used here actually looks pretty good and makes for a highly visual and mesmerizing treat. It’s a Lovecraftian snack-bag filled with goodies that can be enjoyed by many: visually wonderful, a dosage of some pretty good body horror moments, all mixed in with the classic cosmic terror and the fear of the unknown. That being said, I can understand why it’s not tickling everyone’s pickle as some people might be put off due to the changes, and others might find the humor in it a bit weird. Like with nearly every Lovecraft story that’s been adapted to the screen, there’s both love and hate for it.

 

Overall, I think Color out of Space is an entrancing surreal cosmic horror movie. Stanley is also a Lovecraft fan, so the film is filled with a nice handful of easter eggs that people who have read Lovecraft’s other stories will recognize (like the daughter, whose name is Lavinia). And of course, it’s always a pleasure to watch Nicholas Cage go bonkers in a horror movie.

 

Color Out of Space

 

Director: Richard Stanley
Country & year: USA, Malaysia, Portugal, 2019
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Josh C. Waller, Q’orianka Kilcher, Melissa Nearman, Amanda Booth, Keith Harle
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt5073642/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul