Continuing Simon Augustine's countdown of the Most Disturbing Movies (Read Part 1 for the first 13). [<< #8]
7. Tie: Aftermath (1994) 7/10, Flowers of Flesh and Blood (Guinea Pig II) (1985) 10/7
Two films about the systematic desecration of human bodies which have been rendered inert and still as they lie on a madman's table full of instruments.
In Aftermath, Spanish director Nacho Cerda presents us a short (30 min.) film with no dialogue, about the rhythmic and morbid procedures governing an autopsy room. Some of the most realistic looking dead bodies you will ever see in a film are cut, sawed and pried open, organs are removed, blood and gristle is drained into stainless steel basins, brains are removed from head, and skin is peeled back. The tone is ominous and a bit hypnotic, but what keeps disconcerting us is a sense that one of the surgeons - or whatever the heck you call 'em - seems, well, not right. A little too intense and a little too intent. Well, we find out that our worst suspicions are founded: most men like their sexual partners to be alive, but not all are that picky and choosy.
Cerde is unsparing in giving us certainly one of the most revolting sex scenes ever made: squishy, messy, urgent, bloody, and I would guess unsavory to anyone not certifiably insane. But who am I to judge; to each his own. And the last scene leaves us with a sly take on high-grade (the highest) dog food. Nothing is wasted.
Flowers of Flesh and Blood (which is, alas, now out of print on DVD) has a true-life story to go along with it that sounds like the stuff urban legend, but is absolutely true. It also features astoundingly authentic looking special effects and dead bodies. The Japanese “Guinea Pig” series of shortish features was an attempt to simulate what a snuff film might look like with unprecedented realism and an unflinching eye. In this second and most acclaimed entry of the series, Dr. Creepy Samurai, M.D. methodically dismantles all the limbs from a female victim who is conscious but frozen due to a lucky dose of pain-killing narcotics.
As in Cannibal Holocaust, the coda, in which the medical maniac completes his job, surrounded in a dark and dank basement of forbidden ritual by God-knows-what fermenting in jars, wearing the garb of a sixteenth century warrior, we are maximum distance from anything remotely resembling sense or reason.
Best of all, after Flowers of Flesh and Blood was released in the U.S., actor Charlie Sheen saw it one night in the early 90s, and became absolutely convinced it was a genuine snuff film (of a samurai serial-killer no less). The effects are that convincing. Granted, an early 90s Charlie Sheen was probably not the clearest thinker on earth, but at least he took time out from what Sheen was doing in the early 90s to watch a horror flick, flip out, and bring it to the FBI. I could make some bad joke about how he should've taken Hot Shots! Part Deux to the authorities instead (ba-rump tump), but I've got more class than that.
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