Friday, October 10, 2008


The Movie: Mermaid in a Manhole

Year: 1988

Format Viewed: DVD (Purchased at a Flea Market.)

Score Card:

Premise: Depressed painter finds a sickly mermaid in the sewer and takes her back to his apartment to "paint her forever" with revoltingly unpleasant results.

The Reality: The movie seems to be an exploration of a artist's journey into madness, which serves as the backdrop (and excuse) for extreme gore effects. The dialogue is minimal. The movie, which runs for 57 minutes from title roll to credit scrawl, plays out like an extended, if laboriously slow, Twilight Zone episode. Alas the movie is really just an excuse to show grotesque puss filled pustules squirting revolting viscous multicolored fluids, something which could have been accomplished in half the time with twice the impact.

The Story: A lonely depressed Japanese painter, who may have just lost his wife, that regularly goes down into the sewer to paint the disgusting detritus and cast-off refuse of society discovers a mermaid during one of his sketching excursions. Being an artist he is immediately mesmerized by her beauty and sets out to sketch her, until she moans in pain and reveals a mass of tumorous polyps infecting her side. The man, taking pity on the mermaid, sees this as the perfect excuse to take the new object of his artistic fantasies back to his apartment where he orders a brand new bathtub for her and begins to paint her. Things go abruptly downhill from here.

Video/Sound Quality: Acceptable. This was obviously shot on video and there are times the source is betrayed by video artifacts, otherwise a well presented DVD.

Extras: This DVD was a double feature and included trailers for other Guinea Pig features and still galleries.

Verdict/Analysis: Before the current torture porn phenomenon there was the Guinea Pig series. The Guinea Pig films have achieved some minor notoriety thus this was an very unexpected Flea Market find indeed. This particular entry in the series explores the selfish selflessness of the artistic mind, wherein daylight reality and nocturnal fantasy merge to the point of becoming indistinguishable. Mermaid in a Manhole is thus the sort of movie that has to be experienced first hand. Yet, a word of caution, this movie is not for the squeamish. This is a movie produced by gore hounds for gore hounds therefore it is more disgusting than shocking with lots of colorful gore FX mixed with some blood. Suggested viewing for hardgore fans of the macabre and bizarre. You have been warned.

Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

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