Women's Flesh: My Red Guts (1999) Dir. Tamakichi Anaru, Japan, 50 minutes
Ah, Japan. Where would Film Gutter be without you? From infamous gore 'classics' such as the Guinea Pig series through to modern offerings such as Grotesque, there seems to be no end of weird, wild and wonderful fodder coming our way from The Land of the Rising Sun. And you can also rest assured that, when it comes to cinema that is truly shocking and disturbing, Japan does not pull any punches.
Today's stumbled-upon 'gem' is Women's Flesh: My Red Guts, from the same team that brought us the distinctly hard-to-watch Tumbling Doll of Flesh. That realisation sent a shudder through me, but I was determined to press on nonetheless. We've never let anything deter us before at Film Gutter, even though on occasions we probably should have...
So, Women's Flesh: My Red Guts is basically made up of two vignettes featuring two women who have an evident determination to hurt themselves. What's more, they're also very much out to enjoy it. Our first scene features a woman in a bathroom who decides to use a toothbrush in a way that it should – frankly – never be used. The second features a woman with a slightly more traditional knife and fork who takes part in an act of auto-cannibalism. Then we have a very long credit sequence which offers a sort of behind the scenes not only of this movie but others I didn't recognise too.
Honestly, it's hard to say a great deal more than that. There's no plot and no apparent link between the two scenes, no detectable plotline and the only intention here is to revolt. Well, I say that, but the whole thing is shot in such a soft and lingering way that I can't help but think there's some strange motivation to titillate as well. If that is the case, I feel like I don't want to meet the person who watches this and thinks 'Wow, that really got my motor running'.
The linking of violence, sex and death is nothing new – it was explored to hideous effect in Thanatomorphose and Contracted in particular – but here it's done in a way that looks extremely realistic. The credits last about 10 minutes of the 50 minute running time and are kind of a special effects showcase, presumably because the director didn't fancy ending up in court having to prove it was all make-believe like some of the Japanese gore masters before him.
Fundamentally it is extremely hard to watch, partly because of the nauseating visuals but also because it very quickly becomes boring. Each scene is presented in intimate detail – barring the standard pixellation/censorship that you will see in Japanese 'adult' movies – and while there are moments that leave a nasty taste in your mouth it's also just not a riveting movie that will live long in the memory. Disturbing in flashes but overlong even at 50 minutes (or 40 minutes if you remove the credits) this is a movie only for real die-hard gore fans and completists.
RATING: 2/10. I didn't want to give this one rock-bottom marks, because for something produced nearly 20 years ago the effects do look good and believable – it's an impressive showcase in that respect. But that's all it is really – nothing by way of story, very limited acting and little to generally hook you in. 50 minutes might sound like nothing but it genuinely drags here as the initial shock of each tableau quickly wears off, ultimately leaving us with a cloying mess. So it's a pretty poor 2/10 from me.