REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore (2015)
He slowly pulled the razor blade all around the woman’s arm, as she lay, drugged and sedated, motionless. Her blood rolls down, covering the white table. I know what’s coming. I get giddy with anticipation, because the gore-hound in me is waiting…They are getting ready to skin this poor woman alive…
In 1991, Charlie Sheen made the world aware of the now infamous Guinea Pig movies (released originally in 1985), when he was given a copy and turned it over to the FBI, thinking he was watching real deaths being carried out on film. The new movie, American Guinea Pig by writer/director Stephen Biro (Bubba The Redneck Werewolf) may not be getting the Charlie Sheen treatment and a full-blown FBI investigation, but it’s no less a disturbing look at what many could easily mistake for a real-life snuff film.
American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the casual horror fan. It’s not for movie lovers to watch and dissect, picking out the plot holes and the problems – because in this movie, there is no plot to dissect, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of dissection happening on-screen.
The film follows a group of masked killers – filmmakers, shooting on all matter of early home video equipment – as they drug, torture, and slowly kill two women, all for the pleasure of “The Producers,” unseen benefactors who are the men behind-the-scenes, never visible, but spoken of multiple times. They are the ones paying for this “film” to be shot, and they are the ones who will get the pleasure of viewing it. But producers who are in control, forcing others to literally tear these people apart for their amusement? An allegory for Hollywood as a whole? That’s for you to judge, I suppose.
But hey, maybe it us, the audience, who are the real “Producers,” because in reality, it’s the horror and gore fans who get the pleasure of watching this movie. It takes a certain kind of fan to enjoy an hour plus of nothing but straight, vile, blood, guts, and torture. With special effects by Marcus Koch and his Oddtopsy FX team, the movie is stunningly brutal, with some of the most heinous acts carried out on a human body than I’ve ever seen in a movie.
Nearly all of the gore effects – from the aforementioned skinning, to the slow slicing of an eyeball, to the hacking and sawing off of multiple limbs, work flawlessly. Koch, whose résumé of films on IMDb goes back nearly 20 years and includes films such as Die Die Delta Pi and the upcoming Don’t Look In The Basement 2, proves absolutely that he is a go-to for practical effects, especially of the violent variety.
As most people outside of a morgue have probably not had the (dis)pleasure of seeing a body hacked into multiple pieces or skinned down to the muscle, it’s amazing how realistic you feel the video you’re watching is. I don’t know with all-out certainty that if you crack open someone’s chest and cut out their rib cage with bolt cutters that you can reach in and grab their beating heart, but you know what, I’d rather not know for certain, either.
Director Biro has really stepped up to the plate here, delivering something that so few before him have done – a vile, graphically violent look at what is very likely the other side of cinema; the snuff, the dark, the depraved. Guinea Pig may have broken the mold, and Fred Vogel’s ToeTag and August Underground may have pushed the boundaries of the genre further, but here, Biro shows the audience exactly what a massacre can look like. It’s a new level that will not be topped soon – well perhaps until the next AGP installment.
Critics may throw around wasted, silly phrases like “torture porn” on Hollywood and indie films like Hostel, but if they think that’s torture, then they haven’t even glimpsed American Guinea Pig.