Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 Day Horror Challenge Strikes Back Day 21: Character you would need a translator to speak to.

Back in the day I used to have a friend in Colorado that I’d met in AOL’s horror movie chatroom. Yes, it was that long ago. We used to swap bootleg movies that we thought the other needed to see. At the time, that involved mailing VHS tapes to each other. The kind of mail that involves stamps. Remember that? Anyway, we had a bit of a competition going on to see who could find the goriest flick that the other one had never heard of. He told me he’d found something special, and wouldn’t tell me anything except that it was 45 minutes of non stop gore. When that envelope came, I pulled out a tape marked Guinea Pig, popped it in, and was blown away by what I saw.

Now that I’m familiar with the Guinea Pig series, I know that it was the episode entitled Flower of Flesh and Blood. All I knew when I was watching it was that it looked like it was a fifth or sixth generation dub. The graininess and bad video quality added to the excitement, making it feel like I was watching something so forbidden that a good copy might not even exist. There was a guy in a samurai helmet, or, as we called it at the time, the Shredder helmet. Yes, that was a TMNT reference. He had a sedated girl tied to a bed. He would fiddle with the lights, give a soliloquy into the camera, and cut off a body part. Then he would fiddle with the lights some more, talk to the camera some more, and slice her up some more. This continued on and on until she was completely dismembered. It was, and might still be, the most realistic gore I’ve ever seen. This flick is a special effects masterpiece. The way the blood would start out slowly rising into the gash before the flow got heavy impressed me. The way the skin cut was incredibly realistic. So realistic in fact that it fooled Charlie Sheen and he called the FBI. If you don’t know that story, go google “Charlie Sheen Guinea Pig.” It’s hilarious. You’d think a warlock with tiger blood could tell the difference.

There was no plot, just the extremely well executed hacking up of a body. At least I assumed that there was no plot. Why? Because the damn video didn’t have any subtitles! I had no idea what Shredder kept blathering on about. I knew he was saying something that probably explained who she was or why he was chopping her up, but I don’t speak Japanese. He might as well have just been staring into the camera silently. By the time he started showing us his body part collection, complete with cool maggot close ups, I was completely lost. The visuals were really cool, but the voice over was completely lost on me. It didn’t really matter all that much because the whole point was the gore, but I’m a curious guy. It drove me a little nuts not knowing what Shredder was pontificating about. That’s the moment I really needed a translator to talk to him. Just to solve the mystery of what he was ranting about.

Now that I own a subtitled version, I know that I wasn’t missing any plot. The girl seems to be just someone snatched off the street at random. He’s chopping her up because he thinks it’s beautiful. He goes on and on, making “blood as flowers” metaphors and saying goofy stuff like…

That whole voiceover that goes on during the cool body part collection scene? He’s reciting something he calls “The Lullaby of Hell” which sounds like bad high school goth poetry. He’s just rambling about “pool of blood and needle mountains.” Only the Japanese could come up with this kind of stuff.

Now, before anyone takes that as a derogatory comment, I want to state that I love Japanese culture. I find it fascinating. I mean, look at all the cool things Japan gave us; kinbaku (or shibari, whichever term you prefer), sushi, Godzilla, Japanese maple trees, ninjas, deathmatch wrestling, classic Cat III flicks like All Night Long, Shogun’s Sadism, Entrails of a Virgin, Ebola Syndrome, Story of Ricky, and Tetsuo. Hell, I’m even willing to forgive Japan for anime. As much as I love you guys though, you’re a bunch of weirdos. Hentai? Weirdos! Dirty panty vending machines? Weirdos! “Full blossoms from her wrists” and “needle mountains?” Weirdos! I’m not knocking you or your culture, just saying that ya’ll are some whacked out people. Actually, that’s one of the main reasons I love the Japanese so much.

So, the subtitles contained nothing earth shattering, and it almost made just as much sense without them, but at least now I know. Upon first viewing though, I would have given anything for a translator. Just for the record, I sent him Men Behind the Sun next WITH subtitles. I wouldn’t do that to someone. I’m a sweetheart of a guy.

Guinea Pig, by the way, has 6 episodes. They’re all pretty good. The Devil’s Experiment is up there, as is He Won’t Die, but Flower of Flesh and Blood is definitely the best of the bunch. It’s a gorehounds dream. For a long time, it was the movie I would show my friends to see how much they could handle. Two severed thumbs up. Nathan says check it out, unless you’re the squeamish type or the kind that can’t enjoy a chick getting butchered without a bunch of plot getting in the way. In that case, this one isn’t for you, subtitles or not.


hawkdmh said...

i am think i am turning japanese i think i am turning japanese i really think so

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