ByStettler Brown, writer at
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Warning: Multiple graphic images below

Philosophy of a Knife is a Russian-American horror film that was created by Andrey Iskanov. This movie is based on true events and is all about bringing history's darkest hours back to life. Philosophy of a Knife contains, in graphic detail, the events that happened in Unit 731 during the Second-Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) of World War II.

Unit 731

Unit 731
Unit 731

Unit 731 located in Pingfang, China and was a development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook fatal human experimentation, some of which would be known as the most horrific war crimes carried out by the Japanese. Unit 731 was originally created under Kempeitai military police, General Shiro Ishii took over the establishment and was in command until the end of the war.

The Victims and Divisions of Unit 731

Vivisection being performed by General Shiro Ishii
Vivisection being performed by General Shiro Ishii

Consisting of 3,000 Japanese researchers, there are a reported 300,000 men, women and children who were injured or killed during the ongoing experiments. Most of the victims were Chinese, Korean and Mongolian though it does not stop there: 70% were Chinese, 30% were Russian, they were not only military, they were civilians as well. Some others were South East Asians, Pacific Islanders and a small number of allied prisoners of war.
Unit 731 was split up into eight different divisions, to conduct specific experiments.

  • Division one: conducted laboratory experiments into typhus, anthrax, plague, cholera, and tuberculosis using human subjects as guinea pigs.
  • Division two: was responsible for weaponization of biological agents and conducted field tests against the Chinese.
  • Division three: Production of shells containing biological agents. Stationed in Harbin.
  • Division four: Production of other miscellaneous agents.
  • Division five: Training of personnel.
  • Division six-eight: Equipment, medical and administrative units.

Philosophy of a Knife

Scene from Philosophy of a Knife
Scene from Philosophy of a Knife

If the above image is too much for you, then I'd advise against watching any little part of this movie. If you enjoyed Saw for the gore and not the story, then you might enjoy this one. There isn't much of a story in this movie, it is literally ongoing torture scene after torture scene. Sometimes there is an interview but not often enough for myself. I think the most terrifying part of all of this, is the fact that all of these things really happened in Unit 731. Philosophy of a Knife is split up into two parts, it is a four-hour torture fest!

Many victims of Unit 731
Many victims of Unit 731

Andrey Iskanov took these experiments that we only heard about, to the next level. It's terrifying how real all of these things look and giving you the front row seat to experience the horror. These experiments include; vivisections, weapons test, germ warfare and many others. There a few scenes that I'd like to discuss.

1. Watching people get their teeth ground, or worse yet, pulled out of their mouth. The whole scene is just gross, though I'm convinced that was the point. Did Iskanov want people to make it through the movie, or just cringe the whole time?

2. Starting in a room with a man who has syphilis who rapes a woman was tough enough to imagine, let alone watch in this so-called movie.

3. They take a woman, sit here on an operating table, and put a cockroach in her vagina, to later film it coming out of her mouth.

Philosophy of a Knife has very little dialogue, involves torture scenes and it is shot in black and white. This is not a horror movie in my opinion, this is just a big torture film surrounding major events in our history. I love old fashioned horror, with a story surrounding the lives of the wicked. This movie just shows all the worst acts you can possibly ever imagine yourself in.

Watch the trailer see if it's a movie that interests you.


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