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  • Rev Horror

American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore

Dir. Stephen Biro (2014)

Two women are abducted by a group of snuff filmmakers, and are brutally tortured and murdered. And, uh... that's it.


This one... this one was pretty rough. Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge gorehound. The bloodier, the better. Quite frankly, I'm disappointed if I'm watching a movie that should contain more gore than it does (see my review on The Green Inferno), and there are, unfortunately, quite a few films that fall into this category. When I saw on Indiegogo that Stephen Biro, the guy who runs Unearthed films, was going to be making an American series of the classic Japanese Guinea Pig films, I was super excited. These are the films that made Charlie Sheen believe he was seeing an actual snuff film and report it to the FBI. I mean, that's urban legend quality stuff, but its true. The biggest concern people had about Biro's film was whether it would be a worthy successor, and carry on the tradition of making people want to vomit in their seats. Well... it does. You'll often hear, when movies are made by people who are huge fans of horror movies, that their films are "loveletters to the genre". Hell, I've said it myself about films like Cabin in the Woods and others. Biro, however, is truly qualified to make one of these. An old-school VHS trader originally, Biro went on to found Unearthed Films, a place that specializes in selling rare and out of print horror films, along with the absolute worst of the worst of cinema nasties and outright filth. They're carrying on a tradition that has its roots in the very beginnings of the genre, and they do a damn fine job of it. You know, when you're picking up a film from Unearthed, that you're in for a white-knuckle thrill ride, filled with blood, gore, and, occasionally, literal vomit. A first-time director would generally have no business making a film like this, but Biro knows his stuff, and it shows. From the first scene, which is a sudden red screen used later in the film to cut between cameras when they run out of film, we get the distinct impression that we're seeing something we shouldn't be watching. We watch from homemade cameras while two women walking down a road are abducted. We listen to the incredibly foreboding music, feeling constantly like we need to look over our shoulders. We're seeing a documentary, not a movie. It's a snuff film, plain and simple.

The two women are brought to a warehouse like structure, where three men don masks and announce to the world that they're sacrificing these "animals to those down below." It's a satanic ritual sacrifice. They give them a serum that makes them unable to move, along with a healthy dose of liquid LSD. And then, they are slowly and brutally murdered. The killers make sure that the first victim is wearing a tourniquet around each body part that is about to be sawed off, prolonging the pain and torture as long as possible. This is fun to them, evident by one of the cameramen playing with the first victim's detached foot while part of her other leg is being cut off (which was a very subtle touch that made these guys all the scarier). We learn about halfway through that one of the cameramen is there because they have his kids, which makes it go from god-awful to worse. We watch as each victim goes from a live girl to a hunk of meat on a table, sawed and pulled apart at the seams, and we're left feeling complicit. We're paying to watch this.

Complicity of the audience is a huge part of these films. This exists because we want it to. So what if it's fake? Is that any better, or different, than paying to watch a real snuff film? I mean, really, why do these types of films exist? They're extreme to the point of no plot, just two girls being brutally murdered. There's no Academy Award-level dialogue, there's no plot at all to speak of other than the murders. Why are we here? This is clearly something these killers have done before, and after watching the ending, they will clearly do again. Why do they do it? Because we want them to. We want to see this shit. It's kinda sick, if you think about it... well, I guess even if you don't think about it.

Who am I kidding, we love this shit. This is why we watch this genre of films, because we gorehounds are constantly on the hunt for the sickest, most disturbing film possible. Fans of the truly messed up, look no further. The gore in this movie is better than top notch, some of the best I've ever seen, and that's saying something. Granted, some of the film is a bit too edgy, with some of it being done for shock value (I mean even more than the film itself), but that's ok, because AGP is masterful. The film works with the subpar camera quality to make it appear even more real. We get a face sawed apart at the mouth, one eyeball cut with a straight razor and another burned with a lit cigarette. We get hearts being eaten, ribs literally cut from a body with a pair of bolt cutters, and a postmortem molestation. By giving us two victims, AGP attempts to up the stakes of its predecessor, and manages to pull off a stylish film with a lot of heart(s).

This might actually be one of the hardest films I've ever had to watch, just because its so brutal and unflinching. It's real-looking, it really is. I, unfortunately, have seen enough actual death to know that there's very little of this movie that doesn't look real. Sure, the heart beating at the end of the film after all that's done to her is probably unrealistic, and sure, neither victim would probably last as long as they do, but it all looks pretty genuine. If you didn't know what you were getting, and you were given a VHS copy of this in an unmarked envelope... I'd be hard pressed to tell it was fake. Marcus Koch and Oddtopsy F/X did an amazing job with this film. It's fantastic, and did exactly what it set out to do. It gave me chills, and was legitimately hard to watch. That doesn't happen to me, like, at all. American Guinea Pig made me truly wonder if maybe I shouldn't be seeing this. (And I don't know I'll ever be able to see meat carved again and not be brought back to this film, as evident by watching my dad carve a ham on Easter.)

This is an experience. This is gore. I'm sickened, I'm disgusted, and it was perfect. Killing to kill, in the slowest and most horrific ways possible. It's adeptly made, the actors were excellent for what they did (which was no real acting, so it worked). This is what August Underground could've been. To say that this film isn't for everyone would be a massive understatement, and I literally won't let my wife watch it. But for the true purveyors of gore and filth, for the true disturbing film aficionados, there's not much better than this.

Who this movie is for: Gorehounds of the highest order, Practical sfx lovers, Sick motherfuckers

Bottom Line: A true successor to the originals, this is a must-see for people sick like me. Not a great movie by any stretch, and incredibly difficult to sit through, I truly don't know that this type of film has ever been done better. Kudos to Biro and Koch, this one is a masterpiece in disturbing cinema.

For all of your disturbing cinema needs, check out their website UnearthedFilms. Support these guys, they're doing God's work.


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