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Men Behind the Sun (1988)

Hei tai yang 731 (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, History, Horror | March 1989 (USA)
Japanese troops round up Chinese and Russian prisoners of war and take them to a place called Squadron 731, where they are grotesquely tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons.

Director:

Tun Fei Mou (as T.F. Mous)

Writers:

Mei Liu (as Mei Fei Liu), Wen Yuan Mou | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jianxin Chen Jianxin Chen
Hsu Gou Hsu Gou
Linjie Hao Linjie Hao
Haizhe Jin Haizhe Jin
Tie Long Jin Tie Long Jin
Yuanrong Jin Yuanrong Jin
Bolin Li Bolin Li
Pengyu Liu Pengyu Liu
Xuhui Liu Xuhui Liu
Zhaohua Mei Zhaohua Mei ... (as Zhao Hua Mei)
Zhe Quan Zhe Quan
Jiefu Tian Jiefu Tian
Gang Wang ... Lt. Gen. Shiro Ishii
Runshen Wang Runshen Wang ... (as Run Shen Wang)
Shennin Wang Shennin Wang
Edit

Storyline

Story of a Japanese terror camp in the end of WW2, where the Japanese are using the Chinese as guinea pigs in terrible experiments to develop deadly bacterial-plagues. Written by Tobias Broljung <larry@algonet.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Horror | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Squadron 731 See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (World Video release) | (Dead Alive Productions release)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though many of the film's gore scenes involve use of real corpses or animal parts, the film's much controversial "cat scene" in fact a well done special effect. Tun Fei Mou covered the cat with red-dyed honey which was licked off the cat by the rats. The cat survived, was cleaned up, rewarded with fish and sent back to his owner. One can notice if watching closely that the rats never bite the cat and it never stops moving or goes limp. The rats were caught by the local schoolchildren and were however set on fire near the end of the shoot which appears on film. The local farmers were apparently quite pleased with Mou for having done so. See more »

Goofs

When the leader of the soldier boys patrol command them to drop and crawl through the snow, one soldier can be seen already dropped before he is even told to do so. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Shiro Ishii: A small rat can beat a cat. Fleas and germs can defeat bombers and guns. This is... the basic theory behind Squadron 731. It is also my philosophy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version was cut by 2 minutes by the BBFC to remove a scene where a cat is thrown into a room full of live rats and then killed by them, and to edit shots of rats on fire. Despite the film's graphic violence it received no further BBFC cuts, possibly because the video was given a limited UK release and sold only through Chinese video stores. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Think you've seen it all? Try this one for size!
7 October 2007 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Watch Man Behind the Sun expecting something along the lines of a Chinese Ilsa movie and you might be in for a surprise: this film has none of the camp qualities to be found in most POW exploitation—it's pure cinematic harshness from start to finish with not a buxom leather-booted commandant in sight.

Set at the end of WWII, director T. F. Mous' harrowing tale centres on Camp 731, a medical centre where the Japanese attempt to perfect bacterial weapons, using Chinese prisoners as guinea pigs in their nasty experiments. Mous' objective is to reveal to the world how his people suffered at the hands of their enemy, and in this he totally succeeds; the atrocities that are depicted in Man Behind The Sun are completely sickening and disgustingly convincing.

From the moment that a woman's baby is smothered in snow by a soldier, to the depressing, downbeat finalé in which the camp is razed to the ground by a retreating Japanese army (after shooting and burning all prisoners), this unflinching portrayal of man's inhumanity to man is a total gut-wrencher and certainly not recommended viewing for the easily offended.

In this film, people are treated worse than animals and the 'experiments' they have to endure are shown in every nauseatingly graphic detail: a woman has her arms frozen and then dunked in hot water, allowing the flesh to be easily ripped from her bones; a prisoner is placed in a decompression chamber resulting in his intestines erupting from his body (a scene rumoured to use a real body, but which, according to the director, was actually achieved using special effects); a boy is tricked into being the subject of a live 'autopsy' (cast-iron stomach necessary for this bit—real autopsy footage was shot for this scene!!); and a group of prisoners are 'crucified' in a field and used for target practice by Japanese bombers.

On top of all this there are also two moments of animal cruelty that will have pet-lovers up in arms: a cat is thrown to hungry rats and is eaten alive (not sure if this was done with FX or not, but the cat doesn't look too thrilled), and a load of rats are also set on fire (now this is definitely real!!).

As you have probably gathered, Man Behind The Sun is hard going and should be watched with caution. However, it is a well made film that does what it set out do do—educate viewers about the horrors of war. It's a hard one to rate, because it is such a gruelling movie and can't really be described as entertaining, but I'll give it 8/10 for being so genuinely disturbing.


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