Stars: Shigeru Saiki, Mari Somei, Masami Hisamoto
An artist finds and rescues a mermaid in a sewer.
Well, it’s a sad day, it’s the last of the Guinea Pig reviews. Oh well, I’d like to start by mentioning two things. Firstly, I know this is the fourth film in the series, I know this, but I’m just going by what the cool pictures of the DVD covers I’ve found say. See up there? It says six. Plus, I wanted to save this bad boy for last because it’s one of my favourites. Secondly, I only copied the first line of the synopsis from IMDb because if I’d put it all, it’d spoil the whole film, and more importantly my review, so if you haven’t seen it and want to, don’t read it… Or this review for that matter. Go off, watch it, then read the review, then read the synopsis. Then read the review again. Or don’t watch it and read the review instead… Read my review!
This film is directed by Hideshi Hino who also made “Flower of Flesh and Blood” as both of these films were based off of his manga efforts. He’s more famous as a manga artist apparently with his most successful comic being “Panorama of Hell”, I’m not really into all that though and I wish he made more films as the aforementioned Guinea Pigs are his only directorial works to date. So “Flower of Flesh and blood” was pretty gory, how does this one fair? Well, this one’s a bit different. It’s not exactly as brutal, but like swimming, I wouldn’t advise eating within an hour either side of it. Right, my stopwatch says an hour, I’m going in.
Our protagonist, who’s credited as The Artist, sits and paints a picture of a baby half submerged in sewer water. He might be mental. The painting is near enough finished, but he looks at it, sighs and leaves his house holding a torch and a sketchbook. On his way out he bumps into his neighbours and well, I gave “Android of Notre Dame” a hard time for it’s exposition dialogue, so I can’t let this scene go. After greeting each other, The Artist heads on his way and the neighbour wife says to the neighbour husband, “Look, he’s still carrying his sketchbook. He seems so normal even though his wife left him a month ago”. Cheers, love. Who needs a narrator when we’ve got the nosy neighbours? The Artist stops above a manhole and produces a crowbar from behind a nearby fence. Yeah, he must have put it there and no, nobody ever stole it, nice action. So he prises up the manhole cover and climbs down into the smelly sewer.
Regardless of obsessive neighbours etc, we get a little bit of narration from The Artist, who amongst a load of pompous and ostentatious dialogue, basically tells us that this is his secret place and it used to be a river where he played. I started trying to work out how a river can just become a sewer underground, but I got distracted when he found his dead cat, Chibi, and started rubbing it on his face. As he starts sketching his deceased pet, he hears a noise further down the tunnel and goes to investigate. Well he only goes and stumbles across a bloody mermaid, a quite sexy one at that. He says he remembers seeing her in the old river days and believes this is why he was drawn to the place ever since. He decides that he’s going to paint only her from now on, so he starts sketching her, but then she starts moaning and he notices an infection on her belly. “You’re coming with me”, he says in a more arty way.
Cut to later on and The Artist has managed to somehow get The Mermaid back to his house with no one seeing, not even the nosy neighbour. She did see two men deliver a bath though, she was all over that, the nosy bitch. Anyway, The Artist pops The Mermaid in the bath and brings her some medicine that, and I quote, “heals all kinds of diseases” and starts pouring it on her. She’ll be fit as a fiddle in no time (spoilers, she wont). The Mermaid demands that he stops pissing about and start painting her. He concurs. After a scene with the neighbour ball-aching her husband about why The Artist has had a bath delivered, he gets started, but The Mermaid is soon screaming in pain as her now pretty massive infection starts shooting out blood and puss. The Artist panics and puts some towels on it, but they become blood soaked straight away until eventually he gets it under control. He comes to the conclusion that his wonder medicine isn’t working.
So afterwards, The Artist takes out his rubbish bags and of course, the neighbour’s there giving it all “Konichiwa” as if she just happened to be taking her’s out at the same time. He heads back in the house, but bloody Jessica Fletcher stays and takes a closer look at The Artist’s bin bags. She notices blood seeping out and then a massive fish head appears and she shits herself and runs back inside. Of course, The Mermaid eats fish. The husband gets another ear bashing about the fish and I’m just left thinking who are these people really, what do they do? Do their whole lives revolve around The Artist, with her waiting at the door for any opportunity to “accidentally” bump into him to do a bit more snooping, and with him hearing about every detail? It’s him I feel the most sympathy for in this film, he’s the real victim. Oh God, this whole paragraph has revolved around about ten seconds of the film, I need to get onto the good stuff.
Here we are then. The Artist is standing over The Mermaid holding a razor as she tells him to cut the puss bubbles because there’s seven different colours inside them. I’m prepared to just go with it. The horrible infection has spred up past her modest tits and to her neck. Don’t worry though, we can still see her wabs. Tentatively, he cuts one of them and orange liquid appears so he runs and gets a jar. After she squirts a load into it, he cuts another and this time it’s purple. Eventually he fills seven jars with mermaid puss and uses it to carry on his painting. There’s one scene here that’s just, well, I’d like to see you try and eat rice pudding whilst watching it. Not pleasant. Neither is this actually, when The Artist has a little break to get some fish, The Mermaid starts writhing around again and all of a sudden worms start protruding from her puss pockets. Dark days.
The Artist tries his best to get them off her, but a load escape the bath and they start spreading around the room. Just when you think things can’t get much worse, The Mermaids guts burst out of her belly and flop out onto the floor. The Artist sees if she’s dead or not and a massive worm slowly slips out of her mouth with a load of blood and all I can think is fair play to this actress, she just had a real worm in her gob, but then I remember what the “actress” in “Squirmfest” had to do, and I’m all like whatever. So it turns out she’s not quite dead, and after puking up about a litre of worms, she tells The Artist to paint her in her dying moments. The infection has now spread to her face and she aint so sexy no more. The Artist conyinues his painting with that wide eyed look that bad actors do when they want to look crazy.
It must be an absolute nightmare painting The Mermaid as she seems to be a bit of a crap model with all her fidgeting and pulling her hair off her head and letting her eyeball pop out, but well done to The Artist, he manages to finish it. He goes over to tell The Mermaid the good news and that he can look after her now, but she says it’s too late and he has to kill her, so he does. In the blink of an eye he’s started chopping her into bits and there’s magical muticoloured mermaid murder-mess everywhere and then he reaches into her belly and pulls out an unborn fetus, what’s that all about then? Oh joy, we’re back at the neighbour’s house and I’ll give you eleven guesses at what they’re talking about. Blood starts dripping through their roof as they’re discussing not seeing The Artist for a while. See? They could have been talking about anything at that point, but there is nothing else for them… ever! They head up to The Artist’s pad and find him sitting in the middle of hands and guts and stuff, so they scream and run off. Hey, there’s a final twist to the film though, have you worked it out yet?
That’s right, it was his pregnant wife all the time. Or was it? After the investigation, a fish scale was found in the bath that couldn’t be identified by the fish experts. I don’t know whaaats going on. One thing I can say though is that this is bloody marvelous. Many people say it’s the sickest of the series, but all I can say is that depends on you and what you find more disturbing. It does have the most unique and well thought out story anyway, and I used to say that this and the first Guinea Pig were my favourites. So does that still ring true after this latest rewatch session? Well no, I’d actually have to put this second to “He Never Dies” with “Flower of Flesh and Blood” in third. So with “The Devil’s Experiment” in fourth and even “Devil Woman Doctor” in fifth, I’d have to say that the Guinea Pigs are a pretty damn fine series of films all round, it’s just a shame about “Android of Notre Dame”, there’s always one isn’t there? Anyway, that’s it for the Guinea Pig series, Don’t cry though, rejoice in the news that I’ll be doing a Daisuke Yamanouchi season… at some point. Hooray! You do look sexy when you cry though… Cheers.