Released by: Massacre Video
Released on: December 13th, 2016.
Director: Tamakichi Anaru
Cast: Ayaka Tomozawa
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Written and directed by Tamakichi Anaru, 1999’s Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts is a low budget Japanese splatter film shot on video with an abrasive noise soundtrack. There’s not much of a story here – we open with a shot in a bathroom. A woman lies on the floor. It’s dark but bursts of light, possibly camera flashes, illuminate things enough for us that we can see this young woman is dead and mutilated. Stills show off various atrocities committed – cue the opening credits!
And we’re off. Next up, we witness a pretty young woman tying ribbons in her hair, standing in front of a mirror. From here, she stares at a toothbrush for a little while. There’s no music or dialogue here, really just the sound of running water. She looks at herself in the mirror, messes up her hair and then we see some flashbacks in black and white. Her husband has left her for another woman, he’s grown tired of their lifestyle. Since the house was hers from before the wedding, he leaves her there. Cut back to the bathroom and that toothbrush, she’s looking at it again, pulling it to her mouth and fondling it before fellating it. Her eyes roll back in her head and she sits down on the side of the tub and fucks herself with the toothbrush. This goes on for a bit (mosaic fogging is used to hide the bits that Japanese censors don’t want you to see) and after she gets off, she starts to bleed. This doesn’t stop her. She keeps going with the toothbrush, and so too does she keep bleeding. She sticks her fingers in her mouth and bites her fingers off. Clearly getting weaker, she ties the ribbons from her hair tightly around her neck.
Next, we cut to a room with a cloth covering all the walls. A woman stabs at an apple and then peels it with a knife. This part has some strange ambient noise on the soundtrack. She eats the apple and then starts to poke herself with the fork. It’s sort of gentle at first, but after too long she draws blood, licking it off of the fork. Done with the fork, she grabs the knife and looks at it longingly before slitting her wrists and again licking the blood off of the utensil. Things get more extreme from there as she takes the knife and slices it across her stomach, opening up her guts and pulling them out and then chewing on them (kind of borrowing from Anthropophagous’ most infamous scene). Somehow still alive, she grabs the knife again and slices off her tongue. The soundtrack intensifies and gets way more aggressive as she sticks her fingers down her throat and writhes around. Eventually she takes the knife and finishes it once and for all as a wall of sound is built up around the viewer only to come quickly tumbling down in favor of some odd piano music. Cut back to the woman in the bathroom and roll the end credits. Forty-two minutes later, and we’re done.
Directed by the man who brought us Suicide Dolls and Tumbling Doll Of Flesh, Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts is pretty grotesque, but at the same time, a little bit more than just a typical gore film. Released legitimately for the first time in the United States, this release contains proper English subtitles for the dialogue scenes that exist between husband and wife to give them atrocity exhibition that makes up the bulk of the picture some welcome context. As such, we know why the self-mutilation is occurring – it’s out of sadness. This gives the first portion of the movie a bit of dramatic weight. Clearly Tamakichi Anaru is fascinated by what is physically inside of us and how to get it out, but without reading too much into it, so too does the movie explore the depths to which a broken heart can drag someone down to. At the same time, it’s exploitative in how the camera lingers on certain shots, how it focuses in on certain parts of the character’s anatomy and how it pushes gore over anything else.
Anaru uses lots of video filters and effects throughout the piece and combines that with some interesting soundtrack choices (more prominent in the last half than the first half). There’s an artistry here that’s interesting to watch, no matter how base this piece might be in terms of its content.
Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts is presented on DVD in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio. As this was shot on video, it looks like the tape source that it is but it is in quite nice shape. There are no tape lines or tracking rolls to note and while detail is about what a good quality VHS tape could provide, colors look good.
A Japanese language track is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 with optional subtitles provided in English only. Again, the limitations of the source material are apparent here but overall the audio is fairly clear. The levels are properly balanced and there aren’t really any issues to note.
Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, a still gallery and bonus trailers for Tumbling Doll Of Flesh, Ostermontag, Nurse Jill and The Undertaker. Menus and chapter selection are also included. The disc also comes packaged with some cool reversible cover art.
The Final Word:
Women’s Flesh: My Red Guts is an odd mix of art and sleaze, putting gore front and center but occasionally hinting at something a bit deeper than just cuts and stabs. Massacre Video’s DVD release is light on extra features but it looks and sounds about as good as it probably can. Not a release that’ll appeal to everyone, but if you appreciate Japanese underground gore pictures, this one is interesting.