Kendall’s Kult Movies #15 – American Guinea Pig : Bloodshock :

There are a few horror films that I love but that also suddenly come back into my mind and make me shiver to the bone at some of the horrors within – The Human Centipede 2, A Serbian Film, Martyrs…and American Guinea Pig : Bloodshock.

Bloodshock is an intense, bloody, painful trip into the world of torture, but not to kill the victim, but instead we follow a doctor who is using the endorphins produced during periods of maximum pain, to gain a high he cannot get anywhere else. Also this is not an amateur, he knows how to inflict the worst kinds of injuries but also how to cleanly sew them back up and allow them to live with their terrible pains.

Stephen Biro, a name you are no doubt familiar with if you follow any of the best horror podcasts, a brilliant horror mind who unleashes his own cinema of the grotesque, writing Bloodshock and indeed Biro is responsible for bringing the classic Japanese Guinea Pig name to the USA after it was all but buried back home. You will no doubt have heard of this infamous series, one so realistic that when Charlie Sheen saw Guinea Pig : Flowers Of Guts And Gore, he thought it was a real snuff film and passed it on to the FBI. Like Cannibal Holocaust before it, suddenly an artist had to prove that the unlucky victims on the silver screen were safe and well. There are many more stories about Guinea Pig, which I suggest you research on your own, with the lights on, of course.

There are few films that feel like Bloodshock. The end 20 minutes has David Cronenberg all over it and there is an obvious reference to The Wizard Of Oz, where our two ‘heroes’ finally find their Oz moment and the black and white bursts into colour. Amazing. Watching it I was thinking “It would be great if they referenced Oz here…” So was super surprised when it did just that. If Oz was a grotesque flesh filled sex scene, obviously. Before this, it is almost a stage production, the doctor’s room, the padded cell of ‘The Male’ and aside from the corridor that links these, that is your lot. This makes the film even more oppressive, you want The Male to leave the room but when he does, you know it is going to get even worse. Part of the power of Bloodshock is not knowing what is coming next and it panders to the fact that everyone is scared of something, so there is bound to be something here to flip you out. The eye scenes give me the shivers just thinking about them right now and there are a couple of head scenes that also terrified me.

Director Marcus Koch keeps the film looking dour and foreboding throughout and the excellent soundtrack keeps things uneasy, it is almost a silent movie, a nod back to Un Chien Anderlou and there are many moments of David Lynch here too, especially Erazerhead with the black and white beauty/horror feeling very much like that other horror classic.

The effects are stunning, cue more moments of looking away and my heart beating a million miles an hour. The human body can surely take more than we could ever imagine and when The Male writes a note saying ‘I Want To Die’, you realise that although you might think you are as far down the rabbit hole as the film is going to go, we are only on the first course of despair and depravity.

I have tried to not be too revealing or spoilery here, as this is a film that you should discover the secrets of yourself. And, like a fucked up Marvel, (it is certainly a ‘fucked up marvel’) the end credits will change everything you have just seen, an astounding moment after an astounding ending.

Now I will go watch some Zootopia to calm down, man cannot live by classic gore alone.

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