Monday, 6 September 2010


A relic of the Japanese craze for extreme video nasties in the 1980s, Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts eschews any notion of plot, instead displaying the slow, painful suicides of two mentally disturbed women. The film opens with a series of overexposed stills of the deceased women, presumably from a coroner’s camera, although the content of the photos implies an inappropriate sexual fascination with them. We then see the first woman attacking herself with a toothbrush, as if taken over by some demonic force. She then runs a knife around her mouth before slicing through her tongue. The second woman, sat against a black curtain, sits distracted before slowly committing hara-kiri. Hazy black and white interludes add scant detail to the women’s emotional deterioration.

While there have previously been intellectual cinematic explorations into sado-masochistic practices, Women’s Flesh disturbingly appears to be designed solely for thrills and, quite terrifyingly, is not the most extreme feature by infamous director Tamakichi Anaru. Nothing in the film suggests the viewer’s need to ‘understand’ or empathise with these women, their actions little more than a graphic display. Though utterly abhorrent in its themes and purpose, the film is at least interesting for its extremely lo-fi shooting style. VHS artefacts make each image difficult to make out, while a soundtrack of noise and electronic blips adds a supernatural element to the proceedings. Far too pointlessly morbid and puerile to warrant attention, Women’s Flesh is a bewildering bit of VHS-era gore designed merely to shock and disgust.

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