Review of Naked Blood (1995) DVD

Review of Naked Blood (1995) DVD
"Naked Blood" (1995) -- Japanese Title: "Megyaku: Akuma no Yorokobi" -- Director: Hisayasu Sato -- Format: DVD -- Runtime: 1:16
Updated: 09-13-2003

** Warning - This Review Contains Extensive Spoilers. ***

The box cover art for Naked Blood is beautiful. But, in the cover's quest to be gruesome, it almost gives away too much of the movie. I'm sure it helps sell DVDs, hell, the over the top gore is one of the things that attracted me, but it's still a bit of a spoiler. When you see some girl with her eyes hanging out and chains driven through her face on the DVD cover, it's hard to get attached to that character while watching the movie. You know where she's going, so let's just get to the good part. In the spirit of the cover art, this review is one long spoiler, so don't read it if you haven't seen the movie yet.

Naked Blood is a gore horror movie, not a scary horror movie. It starts off slowly, as many Japanese horror movies do. The movie takes a bit of time to develop the main characters, Eiji, who is 17, and his mother, Yuki. A third main character will be added later, but at first we get the mom and son. The father is gone, though we don't find out what happened to him until later. The early part of the movie is explained somewhat through text that Eiji is typing into his computer. He's working on an experiment to try to take the pain away from society and turn bad into good. Like so many twilight zone episodes, though, we know right away that filmed attempts to turn evil into good usually backfire. This experiment will backfire, bigtime.

The specific project that this kid is working on in his little home laboratory, is a drug or hormone or something that turns pleasure into pain. The drug, which he names Myson, causes the person who takes it to release a very high amount of endorphins when they feel pain. This extreme dose of painkillers directly from the brain turns the feeling of pain into one of pleasure. It's a nice bonus for the viewer that the movie drug actually sounds plausible. While it's not required, it can make a horror movie more interesting when the main plot devices is believable. So, Eiji creates his new drug, then he needs to find a way to test it.

At this point in the movie, we are let in on the fact that his mother is also a scientist or physician or something. Whatever she is, she's doing experiments on a contraceptive at a small hospital. There are three young, relatively attractive, women who she will be doing birth control experiments on. (Hey, is the middle one the girl from the box, with the missing eye, yeah, I think it is - damn spoilers!) So, little Eiji comes to visit his mom at the "office" while she is setting up the experiment. Mom says he can't watch. Eiji has to leave, but first mom leaves him alone in the room with the solution that she is going to inject into the three waiting girls. Big mistake!

While Eiji video tapes from a building across the way, mom pumps the girls with some sort of contraceptive and his secret sauce (Myson). The mom-scientist tells the three girls that nothing will go wrong because this is the last test of the contraceptive and it's all good. I don't think she ever actually mentions sex, which is strange, because contraceptives are usually taken by people who plan to have sex, but that's not really relevant to the story, at least not yet. While one of the girls is being injected, she looks out the window and catches our young hero filming her. He doesn't stop and she doesn't say anything to anyone. It's the first connection between these two, but rest assured, it will not be the last.

When mom left Eiji alone in her lab, not only did he spice up the contraceptive juice, but he also took a look at the files on the three girls in the experiment. He apparently memorized their addresses, because from here on out he seems to know where they live. For some reason, the three experiment girls are all friends and they all seem to live in the same building - it's easier than having Eiji walk all over town to film them individually, I guess.

Eiji gets caught stalking one of the girls, Rika, who has now quite obviously become the "main" girl. They have a relatively funny moment in a mall, with decent dialog, and they end up becoming friends. Before this, though, we learned that she doesn't sleep, and hasn't since her first period. It happens to one in every million people, according to someone in the movie, and she reminds one of her friends of a plant. Plants come into this movie quite often, so why not mention it? The two new friends (Rika & Eiji) go and hang out at some garden or park where she can hear all the plants - something about not sleeping causes your hearing to get really sensitive, apparently. I'm not one of the one in a million, so I only speak to what I saw in the movie. Believe it, or not.

Eventually they end up back at her place, where she has some nifty black leather(?) chair, a couple of biofeedback headsets, and a cactus. That's right, a cactus. She hates plants, except cactus, because they don't talk. It sounds odd, but you have to see the cactus wearing the biofeedback goggles to really understand. It's deep, very deep. Rika can dream when she wears these headphones. Somewhere in the movie we get to see her not-asleep dreams.

Eiji tries out her nifty headgear and we see some sort of dream where he's kissing the girl. Or we see a dream about his father. I can't remember which. Both of them happen sometime, though. Before we get to the kissing, let's talk about dad. Eiji's dad was a scientist as well. He wanted to create the secret to eternal life. He tried and tried, but his wife (our hero's mom) wasn't supportive enough, or so the kid tells her at some point. Father, who in the flash backs seems a wee bit loony, ends up walking into the ocean following a bright light, and simply vanishes. He does this while mom is pregnant with our junior, so Eiji never met his father. Fear not that, though, dad just might be coming back!

So the new friends, he and she, get a little cozy at her New Wave apartment. The cactus doesn't look too happy about it, but then again, cactus never really look happy, do they? The cactus does not talk, nor kill anyone in the movie. I don't want to get your hopes up. Even when our hero starts to move in on the cacti's woman, even with every reason to come to life and wreak havoc, it remained ever cactus-like, even with the (deep) bio-feedback headphones on.

Somewhere not too far away, the two other girls, both of them relatively unimportant to the plot, are cranking up the gore factor and making this movie legend. Very few people watching the movie care about the deep philosophical meaning of talking plants, societal pleasure and pain, and mute cactus, but just about everyone cares about the girl eating her own eyeball. Be patient, it's coming. [-split-]

So the two other girls each have a vanity. One is the "girl who likes to eat" and the other is the "girl who only cares about her looks." It's very A-Team to have such one dimensional characters, yes, but it serves the purpose. Really, when you think about it, why bother developing them further? They'll be dead soon enough, we've all known it since we saw the DVD cover. So, the Girl Who Likes To Eat cooks her own hand in some hot oil and starts to eat it. Later on, her hand seem to be back, but we'll ignore that because she needs it to commit more acts of very serious high quality gore. The Girl Who Only Cares About Her Looks pierces her ear, and realizes that the pain she should feel becomes pleasure. What else can she pierce to get more pleasure/pain? For both of these girls, the more they hurt themselves, the better it feels. It's a good premise. So, the two not-main-girls continue to escalate their self-mutilation while the heros of the movie work toward being more than just friends.

The tragedy of the movie is now becoming quite clear to us. Three girls were given the drug. Our hero has fallen for one of the girls (Rika), and the other two (no names) are self destructing because of the drug that he gave them. His meeting the girl he's falling for will almost certainly lead to her demise. Or will it? We'll find out.

Eiji is filming again. He films the two "other" girls in some gruesome acts of self mutilation. There is, yes, the now legendary eye eating scene. The special effects are great. You can't tell how she can jab her eye out and then eat it with the same head. It's beautifully disgusting. There is also a fork in the vagina with a bit of gooey who-knows-what coming out. Even though I'm still not sure what was on the fork, it was a chewy mouthful. Piercings using various objects are shown in glorious detail. Eiji begins to realize that his experiment may not quite be working out as planned. Mom seems a bit suspicious of him at a few points in the movie, but she never quite gets it until the two girls end up dead. He tearfully admits that he mixed Myson in with the birth control drug. Rika is the only one of the three girls left alive, so the mom needs to find her, fast.

Our hero finds his semi-girlfriend and she still seems fine. He, however, is destroyed by his failure. He let down mom and dad, and worse, just like dad, he failed to save the world. What is a failure to do? Eiji shoots himself up with Myson. Mom works on Rika to see if she can be saved. Fade our.

Rika and Eiji end up back at her pad, both of them doped up on Myson. They have a little sex in front of the cactus. Flashbacks become more important to the movie here. We find out that Rika actually killed the other two girls, they didn't die on their own. Up until now, we thought they killed themselves, but now we see she murdered them. Gasp. Worse, she sliced up mom! That's right, while son is screwing away at the girl who can't sleep, his mom is sliced wide open in a hospital bed. Why she's cut open like she is isn't apparent yet, but there is a point to the mom-slice. Just wait.

Back at the apartment, our hero finishes up with the only real sex in the movie. It's sort of groovy in a 70's way, with a spinning cactus. Not much nudity, but probably the only nudity at all in the whole movie happens here. A little topless shot while spinning around the cactus or floating on the ocean having sex. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess. The girls in the movie are cute enough, with the main girl being the cutest of the three.

We flash back to mom and guess who's there? It's dad - he's back. He's not just back, he's got something to add to the movie. In a visually stimulating scene, dad climbs into the gaping hole in moms torso and proceeds to pull the wound closed with himself inside. Maybe it was just me, but her guts looks suspiciously like vaginal lips when dad pulls them over himself as he's disappearing inside of mom. There is something being said here, if only we could figure out exactly what. Is the opposite of being born, being unborn? That's another movie, right? Did I mention that right before Eiji shoots himself up on Myson, he gives his mom a big kiss on the lips. Is that normal in Japan, or is there some sexual dysfunction in this family? There's not much real sex in the movie, but a number of strange moments that give you some dark hints. Did I mention the fork?

You might be shocked to find out that after the not-quite-wild sex, our hero dies. His girl, Rika, who we now know is a killer, doesn't die. In fact, she doesn't seem to be affected by Myson at all. The girl doesn't sleep and she hears flowers talking, maybe that's why? She also hates people, though I don't think that makes you immune to experimental pain to pleasure drugs - if it did, I'd be immune sometimes too. It's never really explained why she isn't affected, but none the less, she isn't. Very mysterious. Everyone is dead now - mom, dad, son, two girls. Wait, that leaves one girl left - just enough for a tidy (and unnecessary) ending sequence.

Some years later we see Rika out in the desert (with cactus all around you understand) living in a motor home. She's got a motorcycle and, get this, a little kid! That's right, and he's named Eiji. Not only did the Myson totally screw up the experiment that mom was doing, but I guess the contraceptive didn't work either. If mom was still alive, someone would have to ask her about that guarantee of "no problems" that she made near the beginning of the movie. Problems are all we got! How to deal with life's little problems? How about strapping a weed sprayer on the back of a motorcycle, filling the sprayer tank with Myson, and heading for town? That's exactly what Rika is doing when we last see her. She waves goodbye to Eiji Jr. and takes off to spray the earth with pain-to-pleasure drug. It's going to be a long ride on that little motorcycle, but when you hate people, there are some things that are worth the effort. Queue Rod Serling.

Final Words:

I liked Naked Blood. The premise of a drug turning pain into pleasure was interesting enough. The full potential of that idea wasn't developed as well as it could have been. Like many Japanese horror movies, it seems a bit slow in places, but it made up for it with the absolutely gruesome and explicit gore scenes. It isn't a scary movie, and there wasn't really any nudity, which can be a let down in horror movies, but again, the gore offsets any minor negatives. The dialog is pretty good in parts and the acting is ok too. There are some things that weren't exactly explained, and the "a few years later" ending is a little corny and awkward, but overall this movie is recommended. Even if you don't care about the plot, see it for the special effects.

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