Men Behind the Sun – Hong Kong, 1988

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‘This film will provoke, anger and sicken!’

Men Behind the Sun is a 1988 Hong Kong feature film directed by Mou Tun-fei. The Chinese title is: 黑太阳731 / 黑太陽 731; pinyin: hēi tài yáng 731, literally meaning “Black Sun: 731”.

It was followed by three pseudo-sequels: Laboratory of the Devil (1992), Narrow Escape (1994) and Black Sun (The Nanking Massacre) (1995).

The film is a graphic depiction of the war atrocities committed by the Japanese at Unit 731, the secret biological weapons experimentation unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Though Mou claims he was trying to depict historical accuracy with the film, he has been criticised that the film’s appearance as an exploitation film negates any educational value.

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Because of its graphic content, the film has suffered mass controversy with censors all over the world. It was originally banned in Australia and caused public outcry in Japan to such an extent that director T.F. Mou even received death threats.

The film is extremely controversial for its use of what Mou claims to be actual autopsy footage of a young boy and also for a scene in which a live cat appears to be thrown into a room to be eaten alive by hundreds of frenzied rats. In a scene later in the movie, live rats were set on fire, which drew criticism for its cruelty in many countries.

Reviews:

“If Scream-style horror is your bag, then avoid this. If, like me, you like stronger fare, watch it and expect horribleness. Regardless, it’s a well made and, as I said before, powerful, if oppressively depressing, film.” Mr Intolerance, Digital Retribution

“The film is tasteless and disturbing, but as a window into the depravities of humanity and man’s fetish-like need to purify his art of killing, it is very powerful.” Jesse’s on 42nd Street

“This Hong Kong shocker has attained near-legendary status among extreme movie buffs, and is indeed a shocking, traumatizing film. It’s also a profoundly exploitive one whose intent to expose a little-know chapter of WWII is largely obscured by all the voyeuristic nastiness.” Fright.com

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