Mermaid in a Manhole is directed by Hideshi Hino, whom you may remember as the manga artist whose work the Guinea Pig series is based off of, in addition to being the actor who played the samurai in part two. Hino finally ditches the tacky, found footage snuff aspect and brings us a spectacularly disgusting chapter this time in the form of an actual, straightforward movie. The result is something to behold. Mermaid easily blows away the first three movies in nauseating imagery; I’m happy to say that even you experienced gorehounds will find your constitutions tested with this one.
Finally, yes – boobs come to the Guinea Pig series. No little shell-shaped bikini top for this mermaid.
It’s not so much blood and guts (until the ending) but the grossness factor is off the charts with this one. Vermiphobes, this is your holy grail of horrifying movies.
Medium. It’s not terrifying, but like most of these, it’s certainly disturbing. Not exactly a “first date” kind of movie.
The plot, like the other films, is simple in its premise: grieving artist has lost his wife, artist goes into sewer for inspiration, artist finds mermaid and begins to paint her. The catch is of course, that the filthy sewer has made the mermaid sick and given her a nasty infection. Being the nice guy that he is, the artist takes her back to his home in order to paint her there. As you’ve probably already guessed, no – this mermaid does not heal, grow legs, or live happily ever after with her prince. Things instead take an increasingly dark and pus-filled turn as the infection spreads.
Too bad the rest of her wasn’t made out of tits, or she would’ve been fine.
The artist does everything he can to save her, by sprinkling medicine in her tub and … tossing a washcloth or two on her wounds. Shockingly, it’s not enough to stop the spread of disease, as she seems adamant on her transformation into one of the clickers from The Last of Us.
This is why I always carry a couple of shanks, just in case.
Eventually he just says fuck it and goes back to the canvas, using her multicolored juices as the paint. Hey when life hands you lemons. Or rainbow fish guts. Whatever.
Worst Easter egg coloring kit ever.
The artist, torn between his masterpiece and his rotting muse, does his best to squeeze the offending, infectious liquid from her pustules as she moans in agony. I don’t want to spoil some of the best parts here, but let’s just say you may want to avoid eating noodles while viewing. Or eating anything, ever again.
Here’s a hint: there’s a few worms involved.
After some screaming and blood puking, our mermaid isn’t looking so good. She begs the artist to give her mercy, but just killing her is far too simple an end. Of course he must chop her to bits as well, spectacularly disassembling her corpse all over the room. Because hey, if Guinea Pig has taught me anything, it’s that no killing is complete without dismemberment. The resulting bloodbath alerts the neighbors downstairs, but what they’re about to find might not be exactly what you’d expect.
It’s uh, not good.
The effects are hit or miss in this one, but they mostly hit all the right, sickeningly gruesome targets. There are a few instances where the full body latex folds and bends in ways that look a little fake, but again, it’s a small complaint against what is still an impressive body of work from the Guinea Pig effects team. At times, Mermaid looks like a bit like a Troma film or a GWAR video in its gratuitious pus-spewing, only instead of being a fun, campy experience, it’s a repulsive, vomit-inducing one.
Impressive effects aside, really the overall concept and the creativity in how the mermaid deteriorates is what steals the show here. Those of you who consider yourselves hard to gross out will want to put this one to the test. Me, for example? I don’t just love the goriest and most depraved of films, I also enjoy the strange and unusual. After all, there’s a reason I focus on Asian horror here at HH. This film definitely poked at my squick level. And you know what? It was nice. It was nice to feel that again.
Mermaid in a Manhole is thus far my personal favorite of the four. I’d recommend keeping this one on the shelf for shock value. You know how you have that friend, the one who always brags about how much of a badass he is? Give him a few beers and sit him down in front of this one. I guarantee he’ll be nice shade of green by the end.
Da Vinci, eat your heart out.
Score: 8/10, and you’ll never bait a hook again
IMDB for this ichthyo-nightmare
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Categories: asian horror