Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type

M.A. Essay

First Advisor

James Dorsey

Second Advisor

Paul Young


Guinea Pig (ギニーピッグ) is an anthology series of six body horror films created and released in Japan from 1985 to 1990, all connected by a common theme of bodily experimentation and destruction. The series has maintained a controversial legacy due to its portrayal of intense misogynistic violence. However, upon closer examination, the films reveal subtle moments of patriarchal critique when viewed as a cohesive unit. Using Cynthia Freeland’s framework for creating feminist readings of horror films and Eve Sedgwick’s concept of reparative reading, this research aims to highlight those moments of subversion in order to create a more progressive feminist reading of Guinea Pig. By analyzing the series through this theoretical lens, my research constructs a feminist interpretation that acknowledges Guinea Pig’s problematic aspects while uncovering its broader gender politics, establishing a more comprehensive understanding of the series. My examination of Guinea Pig serves as a case study to more broadly explore the merits of adopting a reparative position, particularly from the perspective of a female spectator of horror cinema. It demonstrates that media which appears highly problematic on its surface can offer legitimately engaging and progressive moments of subversion that complicate simplistic universalized readings of extreme cinema and its viewers.