Cyberpunk Review » 964 Pinocchio

March 31, 2006

964 Pinocchio

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 1991

Directed by: Shozin Fukui

Written by: Shozin Fukui

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Pinocchio 964: Hage Suzuki
  • Himiko: Onn Chan
  • Rating: 6 out of 10

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    Overview: Back in 1991, Shozin Fukui and crew created a no-budget movie that provided yet another view of Japanese Cyberpunk, one very different from the first Japanese Cyberpunk movie, Tetsuo. In 964 Pinocchio, we don’t get an external merging of man and machine parts – instead, we see the residue of extreme internal struggles – ones that overwhelm the protagonists. The images are very intense, and the pacing is erratic and fast paced. While this movie is uneven and haphazard in places, 964 Pinocchio is definitely a unique experience.


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    The Story: In this film, 964 Pinocchio (Hage Suzuki) is a strange type of cyborg – someone that used to be human but now has been transformed into a sex slave sold as product. Unfortunately, he no longer “functions” so his owners, a pair of sex-crazed, truly bizarre and sadistic chicks, have thrown him out in the street. Simultaneously, a nurse with a mysterious past, named Himiko (played by Onn Chan), has lost her memory, and she too has been evicted to the streets.
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    The two outcasts meet up and seem to have a strange attraction to one another. As 964 Pinocchio is essentially a child who seems to have little understanding or awareness of the external world, Himiko takes care of him. She takes him to her living quarters in the basement of a deserted building, and takes him on a food shopping spree where they steal and eat food in the grocery store. Himiko finds out that the corporation that produced Pinocchio is feverishly looking for him, as they are afraid that their illegal process for creating sex slaves will be made public.
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    Eventually, 964 Pinocchio starts to gain awareness, and begins to wonder what has happened to him. After becoming frightened and agitated, Himiko calms him down, and then they both realize they have found a “like” soul and then make love (apparently 964 Pinocchio is able to perform when his feelings are re-engaged). Unfortunately, this event unleashes unseen forces inside of 964 Pinocchio – forces that are past the point of control. In short, all hell breaks lose – 964 Pinocchio begins spouting bodily fluids of all kinds and Himiko is thrown against the wall, and finally begins experiencing her own version of the horror. From there, the movie becomes a experiential voyage into the crazed and surreal. The corporation is still after 964 Pinocchio, but they soon discover he is not the same as he once was.
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    Rubber’s Lover is the Prequel to 964 Pinocchio: Even though it was created 5 years later, Fukia’s Rubber’s Lover is a sequel of sorts to 964 Pinocchio. In this film, we never really understand the process for how Pinocchio was created. Rubber’s Lover gives us a view of this. While the cover for the DVD describes 964 Pinocchio as an android, he’s really not. In fact, he’s virtually all human (although there is a drill to the forehead scene that shows brain matter being removed). If Rubber’s Lover is any guide, he was created by intense sound waves and special chemicals. So at one point he “was” human, but now is “post-human.”
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    Note to Low Budget Japanese Cyberpunk Film Makers – Use B&W: Because of the low to no budget nature of 964 Pinocchio, the FX are not top quality. While they probably worked better prior to the CG world that we have today, similar to Videodrome, they look very dated in places now. This takes away from the impact of the movie to the point that it just doesn’t really work now unless you put it on a big screen and really crank up the sound. In comparing Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo (a B&W movie) to Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer (a color movie) and Fukui’s Rubber’s Lover (a B&W movie) to 964 Pinocchio, it’s clear that the mood, visuals and ambiance required for Japanese Cyberpunk is FAR better provided by B&W over color. In addition to both Tetsuo and Rubber’s Lover being better movies, they are both FAR more immersive. The low-budget B&W effects don’t detract from the mood, whereas in comparison the color effects look very fake. As an added benefit, shooting in B&W gives the film maker the a critical tool for cyberpunk mood setting: shadows. The use of shadows in a B&W film serve to create a dark, noir feeling which automatically serves up a non-normal mood.
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    If You Have Vomit Fetish, 964 Pinocchio is For You! Fukui CLEARLY has a vomit fetish, and decides to share it with us in 964 Pinocchio. We’re not talking a wee bit’O vomit coming out - we’re talkin GALLONS worth! Himiko in particular vomits, wipes it on herself, wallows in it, and then eats it all back up! Yummy!
    screen capture
    The Bottom Line: 964 Pinocchio is not polished fare, but it does etch out a place in the history of cyberpunk. The story is rather basic, and is really beside the point (many are left confused at the ending – page 2 gives a spoiler understanding if interested). The purpose is to create an immersive mood that details what happens when a dominant power emerges and exceeds human physical capacities. 964 Pinocchio is not for everyone – in fact it’s for a select few. If you aren’t a fan of extreme horror, gruesome imagery, constant screaming, jagged camera work and intense emotions, this movie is probably not for you. If you just want to see a Fukui film, you’re probably better off picking Rubber’s Lover. But if you want an instance of Japanese Cyberpunk in color – the first one in fact – 964 Pinocchio merits a watch.

    Page 2: More Intense Screencaps and Spoiler Understanding of the Ending–>

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Memory Modification, Horror, 6 Star Movies, Japanese Cyberpunk, Surreal Cyberpunk Movies, Good low-budget movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.


    March 31, 2006

    Case said:

    No rating on this one? I thought this was an interesting film, but like yourself, I found “Rubber’s Lover” to be superior. To me, this is one of those films that you have to see with your own eyes at least once (if just for the kinetic experience of it all), but I doubt I could see myself sitting through it again, whereas “Lover” I’ve watched several times.

    P.S.= What do you think about the news that Shinya Tsukamoto is planning to do a “Tetsuo III” and with what he calls a “Hollywood Budget”?

    SFAM said:

    Gah!!! I KNEW something looked wrong with the review. I’m a meathead - as you can see from the tags at the bottom, I rated this 6 stars - I just forgot to select this up above.

    As for Tetsuo III, I haven’t seen anything definitive on that (Do you have a link?). I am a bit worried about the idea though. Tetsuo II in my mind was a massive drop off. Yes, it had some interesting visuals, but pretty much dropped the interesting and innovative thematic allegories.

    April 1, 2006

    curt said:

    DaveZ at Tomb It May Concern did a cool post on Shozin Fukui recently. I haven’t seen any of this stuff, and given my weak stomach for things like . . . um, vomit, I may just give it a pass. ;-)

    SFAM said:

    Hi Curt, take a look at the first comment on that post you just listed :)

    Case said:

    I still think TETSUO III could be interesting. Sure, BODY HAMMER wasn’t as visionary as the original. That’s a given, as “money is the enemy of imagination”…all that jazz. I still think it’s incredibly underrated…and it’s fascinating to watch a director revisit their own material with increasingly larger budgets. However, in III, I’d like to see Tsukamoto finally make good on the promise of TETSUO I’s cryptic ending…let’s see the metal people take over the world! (I’ll see if I can find you a link)

    *You also might want to keep your eye out for Park (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE) Chanwook’s upcoming film I’M A CYBORG AND THAT’S OKAY. I’m also currently talking to the director of THE GENE GENERATION…if you should need any info on that film (I’m sure I could get you plenty of stills).

    gwyddon said:

    Park’s “I’m a cyborg and that’s okay”, as I understand it, isn’t really about cyberpunk at all, but a woman in a mental hospital, who THINKS she is a cyborg.. Sounds more like a comedy.
    Could of course still be interesting.
    964 Pinocchio was.. interesting, but all the vomit really was hard to stomach - but I loved the sequence when Pinocchio’s powers emerge, and also the one with all the smoke. I’ve rarely seen as good smoke as that.

    SFAM said:

    The smoke was definitely different. If you listen to Fukui’s interview, you find out that he didn’t have money for a smoke machine so all the smoke was created by setting off smoke bombs! He said the smell was absolutely horrid for those scenes, but in thinking about it, that too probably added to the realism of the actors experience in places where it was used.

    I haven’t hear of “I’m a cyborg and that’s OK, but I’ll definitely look into it. And wow, Case - talkin to the director, ey? Any chance you get to meet Bai Ling? And yes, definitely - if this is a cyberpunk film (the write-up looks suspiciously like one), if you’d like to do a “coming soon” post about this with stills and all, that would be terrific! Or if not, shooting info my way would be great too.

    curt said:

    Haha!–when I saw your post here, I remembered his, so I just pulled it up and linked to it without looking too closely at it, or even glancing at the comments. Since I’ve known him for a while and only recently found your blog through google while looking for cyberpunk stuff, it didn’t occur to me that there would already be a connection. That’s the internet for you!

    April 11, 2007

    brandon said:


    […] 964 Pinocchio […]

    June 6, 2007

    palma said:

    Esta película me ha provocado hemorroides en el aniseto. Chao. Gracias.

    June 8, 2007

    cyberphunkk said:

    very nice pictures and tips, may the circuit underworld unfold.

    August 31, 2007

    Val said:

    I’ve watched all cyberpunk films, but the only thing i hate is the japanese cyberpunk…you must be sick to make these kind of films…

    November 17, 2007

    Jackie said:

    I enjoyed it cause it was all kinds of weird, but really didn’t make any sense to me. What was up with that scene in the field, where those people from the lab really weird stuff, like one girl s**ts fruit..or something. Was there any point to that, or just more Japanese bizzareness?

    Jackie said:

    I want to just clarify, I accidentally used the website link as the title link. So if you click to go to a website it’s not a real adress. Sorry, my bad.

    April 14, 2008

    Evel said:

    I whan a sex pic & video

    April 25, 2008

    harry bland said:

    you stupid emose wtf u basterds what the hell do yo call this ya shit

    June 7, 2008

    peter said:

    verry good

    June 16, 2008

    bob said:


    JIM said:


    July 30, 2008

    ss said:

    after watching this film i realized how disturbed and paranormal some of the japanese are. i really wanted to smack the director’s face and say…”WTF MAN? WTF!?”, then drop kick the rest of the casting crews. w/e…maybe because i’m generally a “happy” human being so i can’t relate to this piece of shit. what a waste of time and my braincells…fuk…

    August 5, 2008

    Jeremiah Bilas said:

    I seen it about 2 years ago so I think I can finally say this is my favorite movie of all time. What a gem.

    August 21, 2008

    Rodneyoscopy. said:


    I’d like to hug the director, buy him a beer and a really good meal. And I’d like to hang out with the cast. Despite it’s grotesqueness I think it is a very funny film, and there’s actually a weird kind of optimism hidden in it.

    August 30, 2008

    Fallen said:

    This movie was really good, though weird. But I think you are wrong about him being human. When an executive says they found Pinocchio, the CEO says to bring him back because he needs to be “reprogramed”. There is no evidence that he truly is an android, but possibly a cyborg due to the fact that androids don’t bleed.

    May 7, 2009

    AprilBlood said:


    February 16, 2010

    SOMATIK said:

    one of the best cyberpunk movies ever made.dark & disturbing=awseome

    November 26, 2010

    firma rehberi said:

    I’ve watched all cyberpunk films.

    June 27, 2011

    barbie said:

    yuck! eow…!!!I hate sex! i hate sex slavery…it make me felt so very bad if someone does it to me! I hate it so much and very much!

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