Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (1985): Japan – directed by Satoru Ogura
Not rated by the MPAA – contains torture and nothing else
Note: This movie was absolutely worthless, and I fear that you would be wasting your time as much by reading this review as I was by watching the film.
There is only one possible reason that this film deserves any sort of recognition or review. In the history of cinema, including the deepest, darkest underbelly, this perhaps holds a certain spot. It is, I would venture to say, the very first torture porn. And, since I am at least partially interested in all aspects of cinema, I thought I would briefly review this film.
This was definitely not the first exploitation movie, though it can hardly be considered one. It’s also not the first alleged “snuff” film, though it most certainly tries to be a snuff film. In fact, that’s the only reason this movie (or its many sequels) are of interest to anyone. Charlie Sheen, seeing part of the second film, contacted the MPAA, which forwarded to the FBI his concerns that an actress was murdered onscreen. The FBI investigated, but learned that Japanese authorities were already looking into the matter. (Source and Wikipedia) It all turned out to be fake.
So there you go, the only reason that this film has a place in cinema history. I started watching it thinking it would be something like a cross between Cannibal Holocaust and Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. I wasn’t particularly fond of those films, but they are works of art compared to this. It’s more like The Blair Witch Project, purporting to be an experiment that was videotaped and sent to the filmmaker. The object of the experiment was to determine the breaking point of a person under unbearable pain.
So what exactly is the film? Well, it’s the most boring thing you can think of. Three young men kidnap a women (we don’t see the kidnapping) and torture her. Kind of. It’s nothing like today’s torture porn films, though it certainly inspired them to some extent. Actually, compared to them it’s quite tame in many regards.
The first pain they inflict on the women is hitting. So they hit her 100 times (the screen counts off the numbers occasionally.) Then they kick her, then keep her unconscious, then give her Indian burns (yes, seriously, though they did look rather painful,) then tie headphones around her ears and blare industrial noise at her for 20 hours. These are the types of torture they inflict upon her. Eventually it gets a little worse, with a couple moments involving a fingernail and an eyeball, but it almost never gets too horrifyingly graphic.
Not that it isn’t unpleasant or disturbing. Most people would probably not enjoy the film at all. In fact, I don’t think there’s anyone I would recommend the film to. On top of that, it’s frightfully boring. It’s a mere 42 minutes long and almost bored me to death. Nothing happens; there’s the aforementioned torture, but almost no dialogue and no story. Even for an exploitation film it’s a failure. If you’re a gorehound there is hardly anything terribly graphic in the entire film. Movies more violent than this will open at number one at the box office this Halloween. And, while they will probably not be good movies, they will most likely be better than this. For all of the controversy and history surrounding Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment, it is has no redeeming qualities.