Follow by Email

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Laboratory of the Devil (1992) Review

I had purchased this movie on VHS a while ago because it was included in a high spot on Tim Wambolt's list of most violent/goriest movies. It's badly dubbed, so it hurts the viewing experience a little, but it's still very easy to follow. At least it's in English, as opposed to copies of Muzan E and other underground fare. Anyway, I finally watched it, over about five viewing sessions, so let's begin.
The film is a pseudo-sequel to Men Behind the Sun. Many of the great extreme Japanese films concerned the torture/research camp Unit 731 that conducted the meanest, most painfully lethal and effective biological experiments in WWII. The movie's tacked-on story-line is of a solider sent to work at the unit and not being able to take what it entails. Laboratory of the Devil is a little too talky and the dialogue doesn't feel authentic enough. The hammy acting doesn't help either. It's too bad because the subject matter deserves much better. When the experiments begin, there are one or two moderately impressive effects. That's really the only reason this movie exists.
The sets also don't seem to have the least bit of authenticity either. Close-up camera angles try to hide the fact that the medical facility only appears to be small white rooms with meager character and hardly any set decoration.

These were my thoughts up until about the 55 minute mark. Then things just become hilarious for all the wrong reasons. A commander gets mad at a soldier for sending a letter to his girlfriend and he bitch-slaps him and his friend nonstop about 30 times with the worst slapping sound effect ever. This scene rivals the infamous Troll 2, "They're eating her," scene for being so brainless that it's almost enjoyable. Almost enjoyable, mind you. And it only gets worse from there. The effects become far less impressive, the story bores you to tears and most of it is devoid of all gore. See Philosophy of a Knife instead.
Rating: 1 out of 5.