Review: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

Review by: Topo Sanchez
SCUM Rating: ★ ★ 

Looking for love

I have always enjoyed the cyberpunk genre, so I was quite excited when a friend of mine passed me a copy of 964 Pinocchio to review. An amnesiac sex cyborg is kicked out of an orgy, and meets with a fellow amnesiac with a violent past, Himiko. Sounds cool huh?…

The story opens with a homeless girl named Himiko, who frequents the streets dressed in military attire, and spends her time developing a map of the street, presumably for other amnesiacs. One fateful afternoon, a sex cyborg by the codename of Pinocchio is thrown out by his female customers for a ‘malfunction’ during the threesome (viagra, anyone?). He runs off into the street and is spotted by Himiko, who decides to take him in. Together, they try to piece together their fragmented past and make sense of their existence.



It starts off innocently, with Himiko providing shelter for Pinocchio in an underground sewer tunnel, teaching him how to say his own name, and going to supermarkets to get free food samples. However, through a series of flashbacks, the both of them slowly discover the connection between their pasts. Seems like Himiko could be one of the nurses that was responsible for turning Pinocchio into this mindless cyborg in the first place.

Overwhelmed by this memory overload, Pinocchio goes into a fit and starts to spew thick pus-like fluid from his head, which solidifies and glues him down to the ground. Himiko on the other hand, goes loco and dashes off into the subway station, where she gets into a stomach churning vomitting episode, involving puking out massive amounts of porridge-like substance and re-ingesting it. This scene lasts for a good 3 minute. *burp*

Heartburn has never been more gruesome

Following this realization, Himiko’s personailty takes a 180 degree turn and she becomes a maniac with a purpose; to return Pinocchio to the rightful owner (which presumably is also her boss). She chains up Pinocchio and drags him down the street. After much struggling and fighting between the two of them, the film climaxes with Himiko ripping off her own face to reveal a grotesque alien-like giant head underneath. Pinocchio dashes forward, tears off her head and places it over his own head, where he finally seems to find solace and calm.

Plastic surgery disaster

There are no explanations in the movie and I don’t think there is a need to ask too many questions either. This is simply a platform for director Shozin Fukui to indulge in experimentation since it is his debut film. I find that there is a lot of influence from Tetsuo: Iron Man, and its no wonder, because Fukui was involved in the production of the Shinya Tsukamoto’s masterpiece. However, 964 Pinocchio loses out in terms of coherence and editing. Fukui seems more interested in developing disgusting special effects for the camera rather than improving on the screenplay. And some scenes are kept way too long, which made the film feel self-indulgent and boring. It is as if Fukui is afraid the audience will not notice his efforts…

But there are also several gems in this film. One of the brightest one is obviously Kyoko Hara, who plays Himiko. She puts in a priceless performance as the depraved Himiko in the second half of the film, with wildly exaggerated facial expressions (coupled with extreme wide angle) so grossly interesting that puts rubberface Jim Carrey to total shame (check out her teeth gnashing sequence, its brilliant!) And mind you, all the actors in this movie are acting ‘live’ in front of the public. All that rolling around in vomit, dragging around of a chained up freak, and screaming with a blood covered face are all done in front of a bemused japanese crowd. Hats off to the two actors for such a committed performance.

El loco herself, Himiko

I personally was quite glad that I watched this piece of extreme cinema, because its daring, bizarre and utterly outrageous, definitely not your usual blockbuster. I would have given it a 3 star rating, but because this is such an acquired taste, I think a 2 star rating would be a fairer rating for the general viewers.

Try it and see for yourself!

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About The Author

As a child, Topo Sanchez filled his little head with the great mysteries of UFOs, Bigfoots and bearded women as bedtime stories. His first revelation came about while watching El Topo, when he realized that two freaks became normal if they combined. So he figured if three combined, they would be superheroes (hence the birth of SCUM). His first words to his mom were 'Klaatu Barada Nikto!'

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