Guinea Pig 2 (1985): The "snuff" film that made Charlie Sheen call the cops
There are no pictures of gore or violence in this article.
Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh & Blood - produced and directed in 1985 by Hideshi Hino - Cert.18
It was a very twitchy time, the late 80's/early 90's. Everyone was, of course, on a permanent diet of cocaine and the people of America were ceaselessly taking potshots with their firearms at various people and creatures (some real, some imagined) that were stalking them and needed to be taught a damn lesson.
It's important that you understand this background and environment, because otherwise you may think Charlie Sheen, and his reaction to a copy of a film he was given by a friend in 1991, was strange behaviour and that of someone not mentally well-balanced. But no, it was perfectly in keeping with the normal behaviour of the time. Convinced he'd just watched a recording of a real-life homicide Charlie Sheen called the FBI to report it, just like any of us would have done.
When people talk about the Guinea Pig films they, even if they don't know it, invariably mean this one. It's the most convincing and well-rendered of the series. Seven were produced quite close together by different writers and directors, with a cash-in version that has nothing to do with the originals coming a few years later.
The basic premise is always the same. A woman is either kidnapped or at least under the control of a man who, over the course of 45 minutes or so, usually dismembers her. Some went the fantastical route - a man discovers an ill, stranded, mermaid who he takes home. He uses the ooze from her weeping sores to paint a picture of her; she eventually dies. In another a man has an ill sister and he hacks other women apart in order to get the pieces he needs to "fix" her. Another is basically a comedy making fun of the other films.
The DVD including a "making of" documentary to show people none of it was real.
Flower of Flesh and Bone is the standout because some of the effects look so convincing. A man dressed somewhat like a Samurai gives a kidnapped and tied down girl an injection that is supposed to turn pleasure into pain. The abduction - a man with a camera following a woman down a dark street at night - is far too well filmed to be real. It just doesn't feel real at all. But is was a different time. People were less used to seeing this kind of thing, and they were all high as kites. That's got to be taken into consideration.
So, the dissection itself takes about 40 minutes or so - some of the effects are very good, some laughable and obviously rubber. Occasionally the Samurai will address the camera directly - announcing the next part of the ceremony and some of these sections are just laugh-out loud funny. He looks like he's having a hard time keeping a straight face.
Gore has no effect on me these days; horror has to be psychological to get under my skin, but this stuff is still deeply unpleasant (many, many people will not be able to sit through it) - so why watch it?
Because I wanted to see if there was any point to it. And there is. It's peculiar, but at the end of the dismemberment the reason for all this becomes clear and this man arranges the pieces of bone and muscle and gristle in displays that are - strangely, weirdly - beautiful. Like incredibly well-rendered floral arrangements. It's hard to explain, but you appreciate that something beautiful has come out of something so horrific.
Stop looking at me like that.
"Look other people have strange hobbies, why can't you just let me have mine?"
The FBI conducted a brief investigation, that certainly wasn't a waste of their time, and quickly came to the conclusion - upon being shown the "making of" footage - that there wasn't a case. And then everyone went back to launching attacks on random people and objects with their Glocks and sawn-off shotguns.
But what if it HAD been real? Thanks for looking out for us, Charlie.