MEN BEHIND THE SUN (1988)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Tun Fei Mou

Starring:
Hsu Gou
Tie Long Jin
Zhaohua Mei
Zhe Quan

Country: Hong Kong
Runtime: 105 min
Original title: Hei tai yang 731
AKA: Man Behind the Sun,
Squadron 731
         

This is another one of those films people talk about for being extremely graphic and grotesque. Hong Kong’s Men Behind the Sun is a good drama about the horrors of secret wartime experiments and does contain shocking and grotesque scenes. We all know that the Germans and now the Japanese conducted biological and bacterial experiments on people. Here you get to see what it’s like to be inside one of those covert hideaway camps and peek into the experiments being conducted inside.

Around the time of WWII the Japanese are looking for an advantage to win the war. In a remote section of N.E. China is the base of the Manchurian 731 squad. Biological warfare experiments are being conducted inside. Lieutenant General Ishii Shiro is reinstated as head of the organization after being released for bad behavior (probably for doing messed up crap on people). New young recruits are also sent to the squad to strengthen the effort.

A group of young recruits are goofing off in the snow with a small ball. One of the superiors reprimands them and tosses the ball over the fence. That night they set out to retrieve the ball and the young owner of the ball gets electrocuted and fried when he touches the rigged fence in search of the stupid ball. The first amazing experiment we witness is truly graphic and original. There is a tied up woman with her arms outstretched in freezing cold weather. Ice cold water is poured over her hands to freeze them. The icicles are broken off with a stick and more water is poured over her hands. Her hands are kept frozen for hours. Later she is brought inside and her hands are dipped in warm/hot water and when she brings her hands out the skin is ripped off her hands in one swift pull. You see it dangling off her forearms as she screams in agony. This crap looked so freaking real that I was stunned. Truly one of my top ten most gory moments of horror movies. And another such moment follows. Let me just tell you that what you see in this film you cannot see anywhere else.

There are like three or four more insanely graphic moments in the film. I won’t describe them all but I will tell you what two of them are. There is a cat dropped into a small room of hundreds of crazy, diseased rats and you can only guess what happens. By the way, most people (including me) believe that this scene was done with real animals.

I said I wouldn’t describe but I must describe this next experiment which was my favorite of the whole movie, even more so than the frozen hands woman. A naked man is tossed into a sound chamber. Little by little an intense sound wave is sent into the room. The frequency is slowly amplified. The first thing that happens to the man is that he lays belly-down on the ground clutching his ears and his skin begins to sweat and glow. The sound becomes more intense until the man shits himself. Then the frequency is raised to the max and the man’s cooked intestines come out through his ass! It looks like a really long brown snake curling up at the end. Now my horror fiends, if this is not enough to warrant a rental of this film then nothing is.

In the third act the whole squad is broken up and everything is set fire too. Men Behind the Sun isn’t really a horror movie. It is a drama about war atrocities depicting true horror. But you cannot find this stuff anywhere else like I mentioned earlier. The grotesque scenes here are flawless. I can’t tell you enough how real this looks. By the way the "Blood" category in strictly splatter not only refers to blood, but also to gore, and carnage. There is some blood but plenty of quality gore here.

This is a drama but I think they really put a lot of work into the grizzly scenes that makes me wonder whether they enjoyed it as much as we do. Beware of Dr. Ishii and the Manchurian 731 squad!

  - Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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