Directed by Hideshi Hino, 1985, 42 min. Starring Kirara Yugao.
Back in the early eighties, a manga artist received a mysterious parcel, containing an 8mm film, several photographs, and a 19-page letter. The film and photographs showed a young woman being kidnapped, drugged, and then murdered - the letter, written by the perpetrator, explained everything there was to explain about this horrendous crime. Or so they say. They? Satoru Ogura and Hideshi Hino.
Satoru Ogura, your average Japanese horror fan, had pretty much lost faith in horror at one point, and therefore decided to make some of the most gruesome horror movies ever. Fake snuff movies, showing nothing more than brutal torture and murder, in all too revealing detail. And so the Guinea Pig series was born. After teaming up with famous manga artist Hideshi Hino, the two quickly started shooting two movies simultaneously - Ogura and Hino both did one. The first movie to actually be released (in 1986 to be exact) was the Ogura-directed Devil's Experiment, and a quick summary on its contents would be 'three men torture and murder a woman'. A more detailed description would be 'three men torture and murder a woman'. In short, the movie had nothing to offer but humilation, gore, and torture - but surprisingly (or maybe not so surpisingly) proved to be some sort of success. Although it was only available at underground porn shops and the like, the video quickly found its way to fans of extreme horror and gorehounds.
Flower Of Flesh And Blood (a remake of the aforementioned '8mm snuff film') was released a year later, and pretty much became an instant hit, even making it to the top ten VHS charts in Japan. However, its fame didn't spread far, and Guinea Pig seemed destined to be a Japan-only affair. That was, until American horror guru slash über bootlegger Chas. (that dot's supposed to be there, don't ask me why - and no, it's not the end of this sentence) Balun got his hands on Guinea Pig 2. It quickly found its way into underground bootleg circles (having been edited heavily), and it wasn't long before a certain Hollywood actor, by the name of Charlie Sheen, saw a copy of the movie at a party - and somehow got convinced that this was an actual snuff film. After reporting the copy to the FBI and the MPAA, full-scale research was commenced, only leading to one inevitable conclusion: the tape was a fake.
Hino's relentless Flower Of Flesh And Blood gave him enough credit to do another Guinea Pig movie. However, as the series had gone into a completely new direction - the third movie in the series had been the bizarre gore-comedy He Never Dies - his new effort had little in common with his directional debut. Mermaid In A Manhole still delivered in terms of gore, but had nothing to do with pseudo snuff and such - it even tried for some sort of story (be it a silly one). However, it was incredibly amusing, which can hardly be said about Flower Of Flesh And Blood (unless you have a, well, peculiar idea of amusement).
The film opens with some shots of Tokyo at night. People everywhere - however, the camera soon locks on to one woman and starts following her. As she leaves central Tokyo, we see less and less people on the streets, until she is enitirely alone - only yet still followed. Soon, the woman seems to suspect something's wrong (and I must say, a car with a man in it, filming you whilst following you around is rather suspicious) and tries and flees. However, she's chased down, then gets a proper dose of chloroform, and is soon unconscious.
When the woman awakes, she lies on a bed in a small, dark room. Add to that: she's tied by her hands and feet. A quick glance through the room makes it painfully clear that this is not your ordinary small, dark room. This is the type with blood sprayed all over the walls and a mysterious man walking around that might just be dressed up as a samurai, too. After drugging the poor woman, Mr. Samurai removes her clothing - covering her with a white sheet instead. From here on, we descend into hardcore gore territory.
It appears that our samurai has actually set out to add this woman to his so-called collection - by cutting her to tiny, little pieces that is. He uses pretty much everything to do this - knife, chisel, saw, axe; you name it, he's got it. At points, the man addresses the camera and informs the viewer on what's he going to do next, whilst mixing in some random philosophy on flowers, flesh, and blood. Now, if you thought the story was only just starting to unfold, I'm sorry to disappoint you. Flower Of Flesh And Blood both starts and ends at the exact same point - literally.
The actors deserve at least some credit. The male actor (his real name has never been revealed) does a great job at portraying the psycho cosplay killer, making him look just as insane as you'd expect a murderous maniac to be. The female actor (presumably Kirara Yugao) does not much more than lying around and moaning - but she does it all too well. The moaning is at times somewhat reminiscent of that heard in porn movies, but is far less distracting than most other sound effects. The chops, gurgles, cuts, guzzles, and burps seem to be inserted randomly and take away from the presumably desired snuff effect.
In all its simplicity, Flower Of Flesh And Blood tries for some basic cinematic 'tricks' (if you could even call them that) to spice up the movie for a bit. Camera angles switch often at times, preventing the viewer from falling asleep, and some, err, interesting points of view are also thrown into the mix - most notably the chicken's. However, that's it - all of it.
I'm not sure who's to 'blame' for the movie eventually proving to be not quite the thrillride it's always said to be. The fact that the budget was incredibly low (a mere £20,000!) is probably one of the main reasons. I can imagine how half of that money was spent on props already, as they're what the whole movie is basically about. In fact, maybe Hideshi Hino and his crew should even be praised for being creative enough to make such a nasty movie with such a low budget.
However, to be honest, Flower Of Flesh And Blood doesn't really offer its viewer anything, other than pure misogyny and gore. One could argue that this is in fact horror in its purest form, because to most people, this movie is probably one horrific little film. However, scares, chills and thrills are nowhere to be found - as it merely attempts to shock. Gorehounds will most likely be able to appreciate the bloody goods Flower Of Flesh And Blood presents to them, but those who want more from a movie than a lot of guts being thrown around for the sake of it are advised to look elsewhere. As much as this movie desperately tries to be a flat-out gorefest, to most people, it will be nothing more than a (vomit inducing, mind) borefest.
Apple Rating for this film:
Entertainment value: 4/10
Violence: 10/10, period
Sex: 0/10 (thankfully)
Squishy sound effects: blurp boink bwaap
Charlie Sheen: fell for it
Snowblood Apple: didn't
*** A gruesome but not wholly convincing way to spend forty minutes ***
Films in a similar style: Devil's Experiment, Lucky Sky Diamond, any seppuku-film by Masami Akita
(A huge Snowblood Apple thank you to the delightful Rhett Rushing
Films, the owners of the exclusive rights to the entire Guinea
Pig series, for kindly allowing us to use images from the films
on these pages)
Flower of Flesh and Blood Wallpaper
please note: the actual paper does not have the Snowblood Apple logo on it.
You can download this wallpaper here: [800x600]
Wallpaper credit: Alex Apple, 2005
For external links, please see either the Guinea
Pig Series page, or the central
links page, both of which have lots of lovely links for your