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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 <email@example.com>
A painter takes to visiting the sewers to find inspiration for his art; there he discovers a beautiful but seriously ill mermaid who he takes home and places in a bathtub. As the mermaid's condition grows progressively worse, with tumours spreading all over her body, she implores the artist to make her the subject of his work, using the seven colours of pus from her sores as paint.
Bodily fluids; worm vomiting; a dead foetus; graphic dismemberment: Mermaid in a Manhole certainly packs a lot of tasteless imagery into into its 63 minutes, but compared to the sadistic ultra-violence of director Hideshi Hino's earlier Guinea Pig movie, Flowers of Flesh and Blood, this one is a walk in the park: for the most part, Hino replaces realistic gore with messy, multi-coloured goop and absurd, misshapen growths that are too divorced from reality to be truly stomach churning. Even when the mermaid dies and the distraught artist maniacally chops up her body, finding a fully grown dead foetus inside her body, the fantastical nature of the story prevents matters from being too disturbing.
That is, at least, until the film's ambiguous ending, which suggests that the mermaid never really existed and that the artist, driven insane through a sense of loss, has actually hacked up his heavily pregnant, terminally ill wife. Now that's a lot nastier than him chopping up a mythical creature, doncha think?
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