Guinea Pig is a series famous throughout the Asian horror world as being some of the earliest installments into the torture porn genre, in addition to being the first faux-snuff films. Starting off this week we have The Devil’s Experiment, a short but mild chapter in splatter film with effects that still manage to hold up nearly thirty years after its release. Though the torture methods in this one are very hit-or-miss, a few choice scenes do somewhat redeem the film. Be warned though: it’s a snoozefest getting to the good stuff.
Zero. You might get some jollies if you’re into BDSM, though.
A little, but it’s no bloodbath or anything. What is there looks convincing.
Pretty low but like most of these films, it’s more on the disturbing end than the frightening one.
This film isn’t a “movie” so much as it falls slightly into the “found footage” category. The redeeming factor being, of course, that you’re supposed to think of it as a real snuff film (and subsequent movies actually did fool a few, leading to criminal investigations). The premise is simple: three guys find a girl, tie her up and use various methods of torture on her for their amusement. Each scene is broken into nine categories.
The film unfortunately begins with some very unconvincing slapping, as one of the instigators repeatedly slaps his own hand, in an attempt to make us believe he’s actually slapping the girl.
Gee, you don’t say.
Some more punching and kicking follows, with little reaction from our victim. This movie doesn’t exactly start off with a bang. Or end with one. Or … well, look. If you’re waiting for something big here, you’re better off cutting your losses now.
For example: Con Air is, by law, playing on some channel somewhere.
Starting to ramp up a little, they twist her skin with some metal pincers. She begins to show a little more reaction, but I’m left to wonder. Is she drugged? Is she being stoic? Or is the actress just bored with her job?
To be fair, she was paid in valium.
Next up they tie her to a chair and spin her around a bunch of times. Yawn. Or what we used to call “getting high before drugs were available.”
The seventies equivalent of pushing a hoop with a stick.
- A Sound
This one involves headphones and white, high-pitched sound. The actress starts to step it up here and you can almost feel her pain. The trickle of drool coming out of her mouth isn’t exactly Academy-worthy, but at this point anything is better than her “I’m in the slightest amount of discomfort” face.
Next up: a room with a floor covered in black garbage-bag-like plastic sheeting. Now we’re cookin’! Or so I thought. After a single fingernail-pull, we cut away suddenly to some trees blowing in the wind. Yet another letdown, this focus on environmental shots doesn’t do much for the whole “this is real snuff” idea going on here.
Here we finally get some payoff. Hot boiling oil anyone? The makeup effects here are surprisingly good.
The best part is that the leftover oil retains that aroma of sweet, sweet human flesh.
Maggots placed on her wounds and face. Maybe a little gross if you’re squeamish about bugs, but we’re back to snooze city.
Don’t get your hopes up; sadly there’s no disembowelment to be had here. This next installment from the least creative torturers on the planet involves throwing animal parts all over our hapless victim. Because having wet, raw liver on your face is far worse than having boiling oil poured all over you.
While it does make for a nice visual it’s just not very shocking in the whole torture department, though strangely enough, it’s this method that elicits the strongest response from the victim. She awakes frantic, screaming in terror as she’s pelted with offal. It’s funny in its absurdity. One saving grace: we do get a subsequent scene of a scalpel cutting into her hand. The extreme close-up is too good for mere makeup and to be perfectly honest, it’s hard not to wonder if this brief gore shot wasn’t the real thing (though the following sledgehammer smashing down on her hand is undoubtedly fake).
This final chapter is where some of the money is. The most memorable scene in the movie, it looks absolutely great effects-wise. Again, the camera closes right in so that there’s nothing left to the imagination here.
Unless you’d like to imagine that the preceding forty minutes was a better movie.
Much like Cannibal Holocaust, the creators of this film series were investigated and made to prove that these films weren’t indeed real snuff films, which gives these movies some clout. While this first one may seem somewhat tame against current horror film standards, it’s still interesting in its concept. Aside from a few brief detours, this film really does give you the impression that it’s some sick bastard’s personal, gruesome spank film. It does what it sets out to do: it gives you forty minutes of dehumanizing, though uninspired, torture. What’s missing here is the extreme brutality or perversity you would expect with such a film. While it does seem convincing in parts, seasoned gore hounds are going to find this one a bit of a letdown.
In short, this movie is much tamer than the hype surrounding it, but I’d recommend it on the fact that it is vintage torture porn. Clocking in at a short forty-two minutes, there is no big commitment here either. My advice is to grab a handle and watch it with some of your more milquetoast friends. Watching them squirm will no doubt be more entertaining than what’s on screen.
Score: 5/10, tortuously boring
IMDB for this snoozer
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Categories: asian horror