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An artist finds and rescues a mermaid in a sewer. He takes her home with him and she develops sores all over her body that begin to pustulate and bleed. He uses what oozes from her sores to paint her portrait. When he can no longer handle it anymore he breaks down and dismembers her body. Written by
Chris Mayo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
'Mermaid In A Manhole' is part of the infamous 'Guinea Pig' series of Japanese horror films, considered to be among the goriest, and most grotesque offerings out there. There are six titles to choose from and I went with the one that seemed to be the tamest. As an added bonus I got two films for the price of one. The other title on the disc was a 39 minute horror comedy called 'He Never Dies'. 'Mermaid' itself is only 63 minutes long, and that's a good thing. It is definitely disgusting and a couple of moments were gag worthy, but it isn't unwatchable. I realize that most people would find this film extremely repulsive, and I get that. Everyone has there line in the sand. I don't care for long scenes of rape and humiliation or animal death, but mermaids covered in tumors that squirt out worms and multi-colored pus is just a little too far from reality to be upsetting to me. There were trailers for other films in the series that looked much harsher. Even the favorable reviews I read said that there is little, if any story to 'Devil's Experiment' and 'Flowers of Flesh and Blood'. They are quite simply an exercise in how much you can stand to look at. I love the gore, but I need more! I need a story, or comedy, or some other form of entertainment to go along with it. I'm not going to rush out to rent more 'Guinea Pig' films, but to my surprise, I didn't hate 'Mermaid'. "There are seven different colors of pus in these tumors. You will paint me with the pus of seven colors." Our mermaid starts out with just a few tumors on her stomach and they spread like wildfire. The tumors are extremely disgusting to look at and as they spread they get more vile with the added addition of blood, colored pus and worms. Lot's and lot's and lot's of worms! The artist quite literally does paint her portrait with the seven colors of her own pus. 'Mermaid' was obviously made on a tight budget, and I think they pored every dollar they had into the gore. But there is a story, and the film actually comes full circle with an ending that is a twist that actually makes sense when you look back at it. The film tries to horrify but doesn't really succeed. It will gross you out and disgust you but it isn't suspenseful and it certainly isn't scary. There are more than a few moments that are just dumb. One particularly gory scene of the mermaid twitching out in slow motion, spraying away like a fountain, gave me a good laugh. In addition, there is a fan behind her blowing her hair about. Those crazy sound effects they used were downright cartoon-ish. There are also wacky neighbors that live below the artist that just didn't fit the rest of the film. I'm not sure whether they intended a little comic relief or it was unintentional, but in any case it didn't work for me. There is plenty to poke at, but I can't fail it. The mermaids tail was quite cool; very slimy and fishy. The gore is creative, and at times quite effective and the ending made up for some of it follies. I'm giving this one a day pass but rent it at your own risk!
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