Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood (1985): Japan – directed by Hideshi Hino
Not rated by the MPAA – contains violence, blood, torture, disturbing content
Note: this review contains may contain some disturbing images or descriptions of disturbing violence. Only mature readers should venture further.
Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood may be better than the first entry in the series, Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment [review here], by a factor of ten or a hundred or more, but that still does not mean that it’s worthy of even half a star. The first film was an excruciatingly dull 40-some minutes of inexplicable and moronic torture, with very little shock value. The second film boasts slightly improved production values, and has at least one cringe-worthy moment, but any improvement is vastly overshadowed by an incident involving Charlie Sheen.
This is the Guinea Pig movie that Sheen apparently saw in the early 1990’s and reported to the FBI as he thought it was a true snuff film. Upon further investigation they discovered that it was just a realistic and disturbing film. The fact that Sheen saw the film (where on earth did he get it? Why?) is far more interesting than anything about the film itself. And that it appeared realistic enough to let anyone think it was actually real is fascinating, though the proliferation of fuzzy VHS tapes at the time probably explains much of the phenomenon.
The film itself is remarkably dull, just like the first entry. An opening title explains that a comic book artist in Japan received a package from a crazed fan, which included video footage of the fan torturing and dismembering a woman. This is allegedly the reconstructed footage of that 8mm film, newly dramatized. Perhaps Sheen’s copy failed to include this opening, or perhaps he didn’t have subtitles or understand Japanese.
A woman (Kirara Yûgao) walks some streets in Japan, and is attacked by a man (Hiroshi Tamura) who chloroforms her and drags her to his lair. He ties her to a bed and proceeds to create a masterpiece of flesh and blood. Instead of the chapters being split into the type of torture inflicted upon the victim, as in the first film, here the chapters refer to the body parts the samurai-helmeted torturer dismembers. He starts with hands, then wrists, then legs, stomach, and finally her head. Each time there is a comment on how flowers of blood will sprout from her wrist or something similar. At one point he drugs her so she will feel a profound ecstasy from the loss of blood.
The basic premise is disturbing, not so much because it is filmed but rather that someone thought it worthy of being an actual video. The original audience for such a video must have been a small and extremely twisted group of individuals who may have actually believed it was a real video. The film itself, taken out of its historical context, is far less disturbing, though there is a scene toward the end involving a spoon and an eyeball that may make some viewers queasy.
The only moment that resembles anything disturbing or unsettling instead of merely somewhat disgusting is the last shot, as the camera slowly pans artwork consisting of past victims’ body parts. The song that plays over the pan strikes the perfect mood for the macabre scene, almost as if the similar scene in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had different music playing over the parlor room section.
But even these brief moments are not enough to give the film any credit. The material and concept are gross and disgusting, and would be worthy of a moral tirade were it not so incredibly stupid and dull. At least if it had been an utterly reprehensible film that had a point it might be worth watching for the sake of discussion. But when a film is dreadful in every possible technical category, any discussion is waylaid by the shock of how dreadfully awful and boring it is.
The closest example I can conjure to explain Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood’s modus operandi is hard core pornography. Porn exists to excite its audience, and has no need of a plot to keep the viewer’s interest beyond what it takes to reach sexual satisfaction. Similarly, this film is little more than a series of bloody cuttings of a body, almost the purest definition of torture porn possible. For this reason alone I have trouble imagining why anyone would appreciate or enjoy the film.
To say that the second Guinea Pig movie is many times better than the first is of little consequence; the first film is so bad that multiplying its star rating by 100 would still give it a rating of zero stars.