Trivia Refused a certificate by the BBFC. In a public statement they said:
Unlike other recent torture-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism.
The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake.
Rejecting a work outright is a serious matter and the board considered whether the issue could be dealt with through cuts.
However, given the unacceptable content featured throughout cutting the work is not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.
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25th Oct 09
A Japanese couple are sexually and physically tortured then murdered.
A Japanese couple are walking along the road of some unnamed Japanese town when I guy jumps out of his van and knocks them both out with a large sledgehammer. Then he drives them back to his torture pit while the opening credits roll. The credits actually are really well done; the camera is pointed out of the windscreen and in the background you can hear the girl wimpering, until the killer stops the car disappears off camera shot, you hear a thump, the girl shuts up and the killer gets back in the the driver's seat and drives off. It's the implied, off camera violence that makes that scene work, but that's the very last time that happens in this film.
The next location is the torture chamber, and from here on in the killer goes on to sexually abuse the girl, genitally mutilate the guy, and then in general torture and chop bits off both of them until they're within an inch of their respective lives. Then, out of the blue, he decides he's done with torture, moves them to some hospital beds in another (locked) room, and nurses them back to life.
Is it all over? Is he going to let them go? What do you think?
There's not much plot to Grotesque, there's not much character development to the three (count 'em) characters in the whole movie, and there are very few sets too. I counted the street with the van at the beginning, the torture room, the hospital room and the restaurant where we're briefly treated to a flashback of the couple having dinner before the sledgehammer incident. And that's kind of it.
In fact, there's not a huge amount to say about Grotesque, except that it's a gore movie made for that point alone. Out of the healthy 70 odd minutes of running time, around 60 is sexual or physical torture. And, to be fair, a lot of it isn't very well done either, with too many cuts and close-ups to make it seem real. However, there's no denying that watching this amount of pointless torture porn has some effect on you, and it's hard to shake some of the images (that close up off the tube coming out of where that guy's penis used to be will stay with me for a long time. Urgh). So why would you watch it? And, if there's no plot or character development, if there's literally only sexual and physical violence, why are you watching this movie?
It's the same old issue. Back in the video nasty boom, a politically correct witchhunt banned a lot of very bad movies with comedy gore in them, and all of those movies are still available uncut to this day purely because they got banned. Most of them stink, but in a laughably bad way that makes many of them huge fun to watch for nostalgic horror fans like us. But there's a huge difference between watching a teenage girl getting her boobs out then getting beheaded in a ridiculuos early 80s bright red gore kind of way, and watching a girl get sexually abused for 20 minutes before she gets her nipples cut off, in a gritty docu-drama kind of way.
Grotesque is just that. It's gritty, unrelenting, harrowing, and just not much fun at all. You know how some movies invoke cheers when the really gory moments come along? You know the cheer that usually supports the head explosion in Scanners? Well, there's no cheering here, it's just not that kind of thing. It's torture porn without any attempt for person redemption, they don't even try to get a plot in there. And when it ends, you'll have that grimace on your face that you have when you've just eaten something that didn't agree with you.
Of course, since the BBFC have now effectively banned it by not giving it a UK certificate, Grotesque is now going to be on every twisted gore hounds wish list. And with import DVD sales and bit torrent being as much a part of our every day lives as buses and trips to the dentist, it's not going to be difficult for anyone who wants it to source a copy. A lot of people I'm sure will do that just to say they've seen it. Others will do that simply because of how offended they are that the BBFC dare judge what they can or can't see, and all that jazz.
All I can say is, knock yourself out if that's what you want to watch, but be aware that you're just sourcing a low-budget Japanese movie where two people get slowly and graphically tortured until they die and that's it. Not for many people.
Versions Known as Gurotesuku in Japan, which is probably the only funny thing about this movie.