The following piece is the first part in the first annual "Lazy Baker's Dozen Horror Movie Halloween Countdown". Running from today (Oct 21) until Halloween, I will be reviewing a total of eleven horror films, approximately one a day. I have no plan as to what movies I'll review, so I'll wing it per usual.
here is a two minute clip that still manages to convey the lead character's "angst" (that's German for "fucked up emotional hullabaloo")
The thing about these “beyond the pale” cult movies is that it’s hard to get someone to join you in watching one of them. I remember once sitting down to watch Nekromantik with a girl who was game (at least verbally), yet quickly found herself in the other room, doing something more important (making a sandwich possibly). The offending scene was the part where a rabbit is skinned alive, and then replayed in reverse. She had signed on for some corpse fucking, yet the film broke it’s own unspeakable rules to explore territory beyond the bounds. That’s how the REAL cult slabs operate.
So, unable to convince another human being to join me on this journey, I am forced to watch it with my cat. Expecting a non-judgemental night of shared disgust, I am surprised to hear him speak up.
“You’re watching THIS?!? Of all the things you could be viewing, all the cinematic tales of beauty and love, you choose something called Slaughtered Vomit Dolls?!?“
“Yeah, what? It’s not like you don’t have a choice. You've got those opposable thumbs, you can use them to put any kind of movie you want into the DVD player.”
“Well, this looked kinda interesting…”
“Interesting? VOMIT?!? I didn’t realize that vomit was a vague concept that needed edification.”
“Well…you’re watching it too…”
“Yeah, cause I’m sitting on your lap. I don’t exactly have a lot of options for tonight. I was gonna thumb a ride and maybe…oh yeah, no thumbs. I’m fucked.”
Well, I wouldn’t say that exactly…”
“Really? You have MONEY. You can spend your free time however you please. Instead, you’re watching some stripper chick getting beat up and throwing up and...WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!? Christ only knows what the hell is supposed to be going on. You could be making the world a better place, or be gaining knowledge, or developing a worthwhile relationship. Instead, you’re sitting around watching this trash. I don’t really have any options.”
“Sure you do. You can…”
“YEAH. Let me ask you this. How much money did I make this year? ZERO. How much money did I make the year before. Uhhhhh…zero. And the year before that? Let’s see...oh yeah. FUCKING ZERO. My entertainment dollar has been and continues to be exactly NIL.”
“Shhh…I’m trying to follow the plot…”
“YEAH. Big fucking plot. Twists and turns up the wazoo. You know what, fuck this, I’m gonna stare out the window.”
“You do that…”
Well, the “story" essentially revolves around a stripper/hooker (Angela) mentally having a bad go of it. She's a runaway who escaped a dysfunctional home life (which including some molestation, always a hallmark of childhood dysfunction), and suffers from bulimia, as well as a tortured brain (or whatever the fancy Freudian name for that it is). She seems to be going about her daily stripping and hooking, but suffers from disturbed visions and occasionally throws up in a toilet. These visions include some dude who vomits repeatedly, and also some girl being sexually tortured. Keep in mind that I might be completely wrong in my summation of the film. Hopefully they'll release one of those paperback novelizations that used to always accompany the release of a horror film. That'll help clarify the narrative and what not.
The whole film is edited with rapid fire jagged cuts, taking material that could been told as a straightforward story (or maybe not), and attempting to convey it as an emotional onslaught of image and sound (not unlike an industrial metal video, with spatterings of ambient noise and distorted dialogue instead of a Rammstein song or whatever), and not as a collection of scenes. While it does sort of work in a non-narrative emotional sense, it also makes it unnecessary to drag this experimental music video style short film out to 70 odd minutes. An onslaught of horrific and disturbing images doesn't require an extended passage of time to be effective. It would have made more sense to me to have Angela’s modern day story unfold realistically, in scenes that unfold in semi-real time, intercut with the disturbing, rapid fire experimental stuff, sort of representing her tortured psyche (both as memories and visions). This would also make the disturbing stuff more effective, as it would be placed in better context to Angela’s current life, and also render the rapid cutting more disarming, as it would contrast greatly with the extended scenes of realism. In it's current state, the film becomes a dulling onslaught.
But, then again, maybe I’m just a giant pussy. When I complain that a film lacks breathing room and character development, maybe it's just an excuse to cover up the fact that I can't handle real "extreme" filmmaking. Here is the Cannibal Holocaust of it's generation, and I'm just a 30-year-old geezer who doesn't "get" the kids of today. I guess I'm still living in the dark ages of the 90’s, with my Quentin Tarantino movies and Soundgarden compact discs. There are even two sequels of sorts which supposedly up the ante even further. Here is Fangirl Sarah's Youtube review of the second film, Regoregitated Sacrifice, which apparently includes a scene where a tarantula is shoved into a vagina, which is then sewn shut (the vagina, not the spider). While the very sight of a tarantula is enough to make me scream like a girl, Sarah "hearts" this movie. God bless the youngsters of the world and their balls of decrepit steel.
I, for one, can't even begin to comprehend vomit fetishism, so that "angle" is lost on me. I'll masturbate to pictures of naked chicks and that's about it (and maybe the occasional episode of Bewitched). Of course, it could be that this vomit stuff isn’t supposed to be fetishistic at all, but rather a thoroughly repellent manifestation of the horrors of Angela's bulimia. After all, it's not like she enjoys puking, but it’s nevertheless a part of her life. Either way, this “extreme” angle is what a lot of people talk about when discussing the film, that it only exists to push the envelope. However, for me personally, the overriding aspect to the film is it's exploration of Angela’s emotional state, and correspondingly Amarea Lavey’s central performance. It might be gratuitously disgusting and cinematically erratic, but I sense an unmistakable air of human truth. Then again, I'm just a big pussy. What the heck do I know about anything.