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MAD World: A Closer look at the Guinea Pig Films on VHS Print E-mail
Written by Chip Parton   
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
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MAD WORLD: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE GUINEA PIG FILMS ON VHS

So you all (should) know about the Guinea Pig films and chances are you even own them.  They've become widely available since Unearthed Films released the US box set, and now it seems every country on the globe is cranking these films out on disks.  But have you ever wondered how these films became so infamous?  Before DVDs were around, two of the Guinea Pig films, Devil's Experiment and Flowers of Flesh and Blood, were released on a very scarce double feature VHS from MAD Video, a Japanese Death Film company. There's much speculation about this tape and it's relationship to the downfall of the series, and it's existence in general.


MAD VIDEO RELEASE IN A LARGE CLAMSHELL

Sai Enterprise began production of the Guinea Pig films in '86. The shot on VHS camcorder Devil's Experiment was released by the company independently, much in the same way SoV films like Spine and 555 were here in the States.  This lasted until the fourth film in the series, Devil Doctor Woman (not Mermaid in a Manhole like many people falsely say), and after that another company took over to release the last two films on VHS.  The series died in 1989 with the arrest of Tsutomu Miyazaki.


ORIGINAL SAI ENTERTAINMENT VHS
Image Provided by Louis C Justin

A serial killer who dissected four schoolgirls, Tsutomu Miyazaki's arrest led to the obvious search of his house.  Found there, were the first five Guinea Pig movies on VHS (Android had yet to be released at the time of his arrest).  His murders were very brutal, and he mutilated the girls in the same fashion as the pale samurai in Flowers. This led to a huge outcry in Japan, but, again defying popular belief, the series did not become banned.  The only country to ban the films was Australia.  The series was, however, abandoned in the same year as Miyazaki 's arrest.


TSUTOMU MIYAZAKI'S MUG SHOT

Somewhere between '86 and '88 Sai Enterprise sold the rights to sleaze empire Japanese Home Video, and they took over the series in '88 with the release of Mermaid in a Manhole.   The final film, again produced and distributed by JHV, was Android of Notre Dame, and it was released in '89 (the year the series came to an end.)  So here we have a problem -- where did MAD Video come into play?


LOGO OF THE NOTORIOUS MAD VIDEO LABEL

Since the series was abandoned after 1989, MAD Video had to have released this tape prior to that year.  It's unknown if the tape was in Miyazaki's collection, but I have heard rumors.  It would fit the time line, because he did have the '88 release of Mermaid in a Manhole, which was distributed after Sai Enterprises sold the rights.  Again adding to the legacy of the MAD release, no information is available on the tape whatsoever, and not a single site has MAD listed as a distributor of either of the two films.


SAI RELEASE OF "HE NEVER DIES"
Image Provided by Louis C Justin

Logical thinking tells us this tape must have been released when Sai gave up the rights, meaning there was a chance that before his arrest, Tsutomu Miyazaki could have bought this tape.  The lack of info on this release leaves me scratching my head, because there's so many lies about the series out there.  To disprove a few, Devil Doctor Woman is not number 6, it's number 4.  The films were never banned in Japan, the UK, or America.  And last but not least, C(rackhead)harlie Sheen was not the reason for the downfall of the series.  He watched Flowers on it's US VHS release (called Slow Death- Dismemberment), freaked out, and launched the investigation in 1991 -- two years after the series was shelved.


FINAL SAI VHS CLEARLY SHOWING THAT
"DEVIL DOCTOR WOMAN" IS THE FOURTH IN THE SERIES

To add even more confusion, once Sai relinquished the rights, JHV restarted the series.  There is technically no number 5 or 6, because Sai ended at 4, and JHV released the final two in a separate series.  That means Sai released Devil's Experiment: pt. 1, Flowers of Flesh and Blood: pt. 2, He Never Dies: pt. 3, and Devil Doctor Woman: pt. 4.  JHV released Mermaid in a Manhole: pt. 1, and Android of Notre Dame: pt. 2.


A TYPICAL MAD VIDEO RELEASE
"DEATH FILES: YELLOW"

The final two tapes are not super rare, but are scarce due to the short time they were on the market.  JHV, being the huge company it was, cranked out tons of the final two films.  The main reason why you can find their VHS releases with some ease is that there was a huge quantity produced.  Think Wizard Video here in the US.  Some of their tapes are worth quite a bit of money, but there were lots of them produced.

JHV'S FINAL VENTURE INTO THE GUINEA PIG SERIES
THEY RELEASED THE FINAL TWO FILMS IN SMALL CLAMSHELLS, AS OPPOSED TO SAI, WHO RELEASED IN CARTON-STYLE SLIPCASES
Image Provided by Louis C Justin

Some light was shed when I found out MAD Video released the Slaughter Special (DVD title was changed to Greatest Cuts) in '88, one of the rarest tapes in the series (but not an actual "film").  To make things even harder, MAD Video was a sub label of V&R Planning, the notorious company behind such scat films as Squirmfest.  MAD Video was a Death Film pioneer, even introducing Japan to the Faces of Death series (which was the intended market of the series, actually).  The last documented release I can find on the MAD Video label was of Faces IV in 1990.


GERMAN BOX SET
THE FIRST LICENSED DVD RELEASE

If I had to bet, I would say this tape was released somewhere around '88, meaning it had one Hell of a short lifespan. The Slaughter Special was made from clips of the original four films.  This tells us that either the rights to the original films were bought by MAD and they didn't have a chance to release the last two before the series was abandoned, or that JHV bought the rights from MAD.  Either way there were not many of these made, and calling them hard to find is an understatement.  What's also very interesting about this film is that it fits perfectly into Miyazaki's time line.  Whether this VHS was in his collection will probably never be determined, but there's a damn good chance it was.

Written by: Chip Parton
He is the Chief Editor of The Sins of Cinema

http://severed-cinema.com/images/links/sins_of_cinema.jpg

 

Comments
Add New Search
shloggs   |204.73.55.xxx |2010-02-12 10:37:43
Great article! Well written and highly informative. Thanks for clearing up
some misconceptions and chronological gaps!
Disaster Girl  - I have an Original Copy   |72.201.27.xxx |2013-05-25 12:16:54
Hey Guys... this is very interesting to know as I have a copy of the first
VHS... it is SUPER old and totally weird... on the other side of the tape or at
the end... it flips to a japanese network gore show... it's in storage.

maybe
someone could tell me it's worth.

thanks!
D
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