When a film is deemed so heinous by the BBFC that a certificate is refused outright, fans of extreme cinema are naturally intrigued; I know that when I'm told I can't see a movie because it might possibly damage my fragile little mind, I'm all the more keen to view it, curious to see if my sensibilities (and stomach) can withstand the challenge. Fortunately, these days, where there's a will, there's usually a way, which means I am now able to fill you in on the details about this sick flick from Japan which has gotten so many censors' knickers in a twist. In a nutshell, Grotesque is director Kôji Shiraishi's reply to horror film-makers in the West, who in recent years have been claiming 'torture porn' as their own concept, when in fact, the genre was practically invented by the Japanese (can anyone say Nikkatsu? Or hows about Guinea Pig?). By ramping up the violence in his film to never-before-seen levels of nastiness, Shiraishi is basically flipping the bird to all the Eli Roth's of the world and screaming 'Follow that, if you dare!!!' The story, for want of a better word, sees a young couple, Aki and Kazuo (Tsugumi Nagasawa and Hiroaki Kawatsure), abducted by a lunatic (brilliantly played by stony-faced Shigeo Ôsako) who sexually abuses and physically tortures people in order to get his jollies: apparently, this sicko can only be sexually satisfied by observing his victims' will to survive. For starters, the psycho pushes a large nail to the back of Aki's throat (through a hole in his ball-gag!) and inserts another into his abdomen; then both Aki and Kazuo are stripped and sexually stimulated to... ahem... completion (cue lots of sticky bodily fluids). This doesn't seem to do the trick for their captor, so out comes the chainsaw, and off come the fingers (which are used to make a pretty pair of necklaces). Kazuo also gets her nipples and an arm removed as punishment for screaming out. Aki is then asked if he would die to save Kazuo and replies that he would; this results in our loony breaking out some more tools and saying the one thing no man ever wants to hear: "first I will hammer some nails into your nuts." Ouch!!! A spot of nut hammering and a little penis pruning later, and it's mission accomplished for the maniac, who is so thrilled by Aki's willing sacrifice that he spares his life, nurses the pair back to health and promises to set them free. Oooh! The little liar: he has no intention of letting them go, having devised a further challenge for Aki—one which he hopes will result in an even more satisfying climax. Whilst Grotesque is admittedly little more than an excuse to show 73 minutes of amazingly harsh and realistic scenes of sadistic torture (at least until the surprisingly comical OTT finalé, which is like something straight out of a Peter Jackson style splatter-fest), it achieves its purpose with aplomb, providing a relentlessly gruelling experience for those of us who like to test our limits; you may have seen equally repellent scenes in other films, but its unlikely that you'll have seen as many in a single film.
Horror / Thriller
Horror / Thriller
A doctor kidnaps a young couple and forces them into a game of torment that slowly extinguishes their hopes for survival.
June 16, 2020