Ginger Nuts of Horror
Come on in, the water's hideous...
Welcome back to Film Gutter, and today's movie well and truly lives up to its grandiose name. This Japanese splatter offering is surrounded by notoriety, having been refused a UK DVD release in 2009 by the BBFC, whom I quote in saying... 'Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism.' Scary stuff, but of course it takes more than that to put us off here at Film Gutter...
Grotesque tells the story (story might be a slightly strong word) of Kazuo and Aki, a man and woman who are captured by a sadistic and unnamed doctor. We catch a little of their awkward relationship in flashback, and after one date she's still not quite sure of him. On their walk home they get abducted and awaken in a grimy, industrial warehouse room, tied down and gagged and unsure of what they are about to face. Unfortunately for them it's an unmitigating nightmare of torture and abuse at the hands of their tormentor, who swears he will let the two go if they can sexually arouse him enough with their 'will to survive'. Well that's a normal thing to say, eh?
The foreplay for our disturbed doctor consists of stabbing Kazuo in the stomach, groping and sexually molesting Aki and asking them a range of strange questions, including if they would be willing to die for each other. It's a pretty disturbing scene on a psychological level, but there's significantly worse to come for our leads. As the doctor puts it himself at the end of this scene, 'the real pain begins now...'
The next scene is a distinct step-up from the previous, with our doctor wielding a chainsaw, proceeding to chop off fingers and limbs with the weapon before proceeding to the poor couple's more private areas. Aki loses her nipples to a pair of scissors in a scene that left me distinctly uncomfortable, and would probably be even harder to watch for female viewers. And any male viewers will be equally uncomfortable watching Kazuo getting nails driven into his testicles before having his penis cut off and alarmingly held by our demented doctor who proclaims this is the height of his sexual excitement and decides to let them go. It's an extraordinary scene, in many respects, because it goes from one extreme to another, escalating just when you think there isn't any further room to sicken. The doctor character is truly insane and ably played, calm and calculating on the whole, almost repressed, but capable of great, overblown explosions of emotion.
Well, it looks for a while there like it's all over, as the doctor sorts out all the wounds suffered by Aki and Kazuo and they set about recovering in a clean white ward somewhere else in the building. The doctor seems to be as good as his word, that is until he changes his mind and offers up an absolutely sickening conclusion for our victims. This one was genuinely gut-wrenching, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone brave enough to have a crack at this particular movie experience. But brace yourself, it's a fitting conclusion that goes places that I don't think I'd ever imagined, let alone seen before.
So yeah, Grotesque about sums up it. It's a distinctly nasty and unpleasant watch with little to no story, little artistic merit and the general intention of making the viewer sick to their stomach. It's torture porn, and I mean proper torture porn in the sense of Niku Daruma or the first couple of Guinea Pig movies that we've previously endured watching. Despite all the splatter and gore, it doesn't really move at any notable pace until the ending and feels a bit of a drag in places, particularly in its early running. As such, it's a final rating of 5/10 for this one – only for the most hardened of gorehounds, and if you have any interest in plot or character development then this one is likely to leave you sorely disappointed.
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