(aka Za Ginipiggu 3 - Senritsu! Shinanai otoko)
© Mandi Apple, 2002.

PLEASE - If you are of a nervous disposition, or under the legal age limit to view the equivalent of NC-17 rated movies, do not proceed any further down this page. You will find images of an extremely graphic and violent nature on the Guinea Pig movie pages. If you do not wish to proceed, click here or on any link on the left to exit.

Directed by Masayuki Kuzumi, 40 mins., starring Masahiro Sato and Keisuke Araki.

He Never Dies (in its full Japanese form, Senritsu! Shinanai otoko) was released in 1986; as number 3 in the official Guinea Pig series, it represents a startling departure in style from the two previous films, Devil's Experiment and Flower of Flesh and Blood. Not only does the film boast full credits, lots of location shots, a script, a totally whacked-out plot, a really likeable main character, and incidental music, it makes a really serious attempt to be (unbelievably) an extreme gore horror.... comedy!!! Yep, even the concept is utterly gobsmacking. If the Guinea Pig series is considered an oddity within the realm of the fine old institution of serious Japanese horror film-making, then He Never Dies is probably the strangest, most unique film of them all.

And we here at Snowblood Apple reckon they managed to cover both angles - the horror and the laffs - in a mighty fine way. He Never Dies is, as you would expect from Za Ginipiggu, seriously ultra-violent (although interestingly, the victim of the film is a man, unlike the previous two offerings in which a single nameless woman is tortured by nameless sadists, and not only that - the violence is entirely self-inflicted), totally stomach-turning, full of gruesome and, in this case, actually quite convincing special effects, and as ever, not suitable for those of a nervous disposition.

But it is also totally hilarious. And the two concepts aren't quite as irreconcilable as you might imagine: indeed, the nastiness and repulsion of the self-mutilations are lightened and made infinitely more tolerable by the fact that the perpetrator is yucking it up, playing it for giggles, clearly not in any pain whatsoever and definitely having fun grossing out his eager gorehound audience. Even during the end credits, the cast onscreen are whooping it up and evidently having a ball, not even attempting to keep straight faces, not even caring that bits of foam-rubber special effects limbs and guts are hanging off and falling off and showing where they're attached with sticky tape.

And this, I feel, validates the film: again, as they stated so eloquently in the documentary feature The Making of Guinea Pig, the producer, director and cast are showing that when it comes right down to it, Guinea Pig films are just, and only, that - films, fictions, entertainment if you will. It's a silly, daft little film with a totally risible paper-thin plot, and probably the most enjoyable of all. If you're thinking of trying out a Guinea Pig feature, this film is probably the best place to start.


As mentioned above, the plot of He Never Dies is really quite simple, if not completely barking mad. A young office-worker by the name of Hideshi is having a bit of a major life-crisis. Not only has his pretty girlfriend dumped him for a smarmy co-worker and mutual friend, but he's having problems with his family, and doing his job spectactularly badly, to the point where his boss tells him to get lost. So he considers suicide, and tried to cut his wrist. However, the pain of the tiny cut makes him reconsider; and instead of doing away with himself, he decides instead to just not go back to work. After four days of being stuck inside his boring apartment, and since no-one has bothered to call and check on him, not even his boss, poor old Hideshi reckons he's just been forgotten about.

So, out of frustration and anger, he tries to slash his wrist again; but this time he surprises himself by chopping a really deep gouge out! So, in terror, he slumps down on the floor and waits for the expected fountains of blood and for the spectre of the Grim Reaper to pop along with his scythe. However, he realises pretty swiftly that not only is his half-opened wrist not actually bleeding any more, it's not actually hurting either - not even when he finishes the job by cutting his hand off! Surely he must be at death's door by now!

But the sad truth is revealed slowly to poor old Hideshi, who really is having a rotten week: he doesn't feel any physical pain any more.... and he can't die! Out of disbelief and frustration at his terrible fate, he decides to try anything and everything to shuffle off this proverbial mortal coil... and there's no horrible wound he won't have a go at inflicting upon himself, in a veritable orgy of supremely graphic self-mutilation... all the while, with a joke and a laugh ;-)

Truly, if the Guinea Pig series is an anachronism, then He Never Dies is an anachronism within an anachronism (and I challenge you to say that after a few beers). In the olden, golden days of reviewing, the humour of this film might have well been described as a 'romp'. But factor in the deeply bloody, explicit chopping, mutilating, blood-splashing and amputating factors, and what you're left with is a 'disgusting romp', which might seem like a paradox.... but it does, surprisingly, work very well. Quite why, is anyone's guess: possibly because Hideshi is such a sweet, sorry, slightly pitiful character who starts to find his own dreadful and crazy situation hilarious, or possibly because it would appear that no-one working on this film took it in the least bit seriously, and accordingly it doesn't take itself too seriously, as some of the others do.

It even humorously acknowledges its own indebtedness to the pornography industry, by featuring some completely and utterly gratuitous and pointless gusset shots of Hideshi's erstwhile ex-girlfriend, not to mention the wondrous sight of the smarmy co-worker in the most hideous pair of 70's-style cotton jockeys ever to hit the small screen, all the while knowingly aware that these scenes are totally gratuitous. In a strange way, He Never Dies does a lot to unmask some of the mysteries behind the series, and reveal many of Satoru Ogura's original reasons for making the films the way he did.

He Never Dies is possibly the most bizarre film ever made, certainly well out of step from the rest of the series, maybe out of step with the rest of the film world. As the fab people at Guinea Pig Films point out, He Never Dies will "...make you spew with laughter." And they're not wrong: those of you who enjoy the gentle pastime of gardening may well look at their hedge-shears in a new light after this one ;-)

Snowblood Apple Rating for this film:
Entertainment value: 8/10
Sex: 2/10 - gratuitous gusset shots aplenty - and that's just the boys ;-)
Violence: aaaaccckkk!/10
Scary bits: 5/10
Oscar for the Best Ever Use of a Set Square: goes to Hideshi, no contest
Special FX: 7/10
Laughs: 9/10
Suicide Attempts: 2, both botched for entirely different reasons

***Recommended viewing, but not for the faint-hearted!***

This film is currently under discussion here at the Snowblood Apple Forums.

(A huge Snowblood Apple thank you to the delightful Rhett Rushing at Unearthed 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)

He Never Dies Wallpaper

You can download this wallpaper here: [800x600] [1024x768]
Wallpaper credit: Alex Apple, 2002

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 delectation...

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