Open House (1987)

This poster is far better than the film. It looks like an R.L. Stine novel I would have loved as a teen. (source)

This film heralds the genesis of a new tag on the site ‘so you don’t have to’. As in ‘I watched it so you don’t have to’.

Woo boy.

I found this through the Wikipedia article on BDSM in film, which doesn’t say what or how much kink is in any given piece of…cinema. I’ll watch anything for a kink element (except Takashi Miike) and report back so you can decide if it’s worth your time/caters to your kink.

If your kink is terrible B movies (not even so-bad-it’s-good) from the mid-80s, then here you go. The kink quotient is negligible—there’s one very brief scene where a sleazeball character is put in a dog collar and is about to have a scene with a female Dominant. It’s not a hot scene by any stretch of the imagination.

The ‘plot’.

A serial killer is murdering, rather gruesomely, real estate agents who are showing expensive houses. Adrienne Barbeau (yes, really) plays the head of a firm of agents.

Meanwhile, there’s a radio psychologist named Dr David Kelley (Joseph Bottoms) who begins getting calls from a person he suspects to be the killer. David and Adrienne are in a relationship, but it’s supposed to be a secret for some reason I can’t recall. I didn’t take notes when watching this one like usual because it’s difficult to do so when you’re rolling your eyes through the back of your head.

Barbeau’s arch-nemesis in the real estate trade regularly sabotages her properties. We’re supposed to think he’s the serial killer.

The radio psych cooperates with the cops to tap his line for when the killer calls back and worries about his woman and blah blah who cares; I wasn’t emotionally involved with the characters for one second and didn’t care if a T-Rex came through the ceiling and ate all of them.

The effects are terrible. The camera angles are terrible. The lighting is… what it is. I mean, you could see everyone… unfortunately. The acting is the best it can be for the writing, which is…dreadful.

And the music. It was the 80s. The synthesizers. Oh, the synthesizers.

This is what I want to show these kids who think the 80s was the best decade ever. ‘No. It was more like this. These were the clothes. This was the hair.’ (Oh god. The hair.) ‘You weren’t there, kids, you don’t know.’

Ms Barbeau. You’re so much better than this. I know your mortgage was due or something so I get it. Or they sold it to you in a way that made it sound better than it was, so no hard feelings. I think you know, though. Right? I’m sorry. I’m sure we’re all sorry.

I only recommend this if you’re in love with Barbeau (no nudity on her part, if that’s what you’re looking for), you have a thing for just plain bad B-movies from the 80s, or you are committed to seeing every second of kink in every film ever made.

0/5 Spare yourself. Time is fleeting.

Taxidermia

Morosgovanyi (Csaba Czene) is an orderly to an exceedingly harsh lieutenant in the Hungarian military during the Second World War. Life is brutal so he spends time exploring his perversions (including sticking something flammable in his urethra) and fantasies (like getting a handjob from the Little Match Girl).

One of these fantasies—which turns into one of the more, shall we say, visceral scenes—has rather dire consequences.

But it leads to the second section of the film.

Around two decades or so later (no years are provided, but it’s the height of the Soviet era) the product of Morosgovanyi’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision, Kalman (Gergely Trocsanyi), is a champion speed-eater. His close friend is a top athlete as well and they are in competition for the affection of the same woman—the female champion speed-eater, Gizi (Adel Stanczel). Ah, love.

I won’t tell you who gets the girl, but a child is eventually born and that brings us to the final section of the film.

Which seems to be present day. Giving the audience dates is so over, apparently.

The child of the union, Lajoska (Marc Bishoff) is grown. Unlike his parents the speed-eaters, he’s pale and painfully thin. He’s also a taxidermist—every space in his workshop covered with evidence of his trade. He even carries a change purse made of something that used to be alive and appears to still have tiny feet attached. He is exceedingly awkward when talking to women.

Lajoska is the sort of person where, if he was discovered to be a serial killer, no one would be surprised.

He looks after his father, who is now so gargantuan he can’t stand up and who keeps three show cats behind a locked gate, as they are only fed butter and are starving for meat.

After a client comes into his workshop asking for a mount of something unusual, Lajoska changes. He fights with his father with tragic consequences, which has a knock on effect, leading to one hell of an ending.

I owe the Wikipedia article (spoilers ahoy there) much gratitude for helping me understand this film—apparently it’s a ‘metaphorical retelling of Hungary’s history from the Second World War to the present day.’

In which case—Christ, Hungary.

Technically and artistically it’s excellent. Writing, acting, directing, all outstanding. The visual and practical effects were great.

It’s difficult to categorise this one. It’s comedy, drama and horror. Specifically body horror. So, you know. Be aware.

If you liked/could stomach The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, then I would definitely recommend this one. I really enjoyed it, but it’s certainly not for everyone. And it was easier to follow than pretty much any Peter Greenaway film.

I want to show it to everyone who could take it right now. That’s how much I liked it. But:

This film is NOT for vegans or vegetarians. I really cannot stress that enough. I’m pretty sure that was a for real pig slaughter in the first section. In the third segment there is a fairly protracted sequence of up close taxidermy on what is probably a pig. And I mean Up. Close.

Also not for people who just can’t deal with viscera.

Also… I think Morosgovanyi is having sex with the slaughtered pig? It’s hard to say with him. Pretty sure he is, though.

Warning for people who are emetophobic. Don’t. The entire middle section of this film would need to be avoided. It’s clearly a visual effect, but that won’t matter if it’s an actual phobia for you.

There’s a scene where Morosgovanyi has a little girl (8 or 9 years old) put her hand in his jacket/trousers in his fantasy.

Why is this kinky? Morosgovanyi is a voyeur who likes playing with fire (touching it to his skin/mouth/dick). He also likes putting his dick in icy water. He jerks it a lot. That’s not kinky. He just does.

There’s what looks like actual sex during one scene, but it all goes to hell pretty quickly so it’s not hot. Well, it’s probably hot to someone. Everything’s hot to someone.

If you’ve seen this, please let me know. I would love to hear other opinions/comments. But, for god’s sake, don’t watch it if it will be traumatising.

5/5 Must-watch if you’re up for it.

0/5 STAY AWAAAAAY if any of the warnings above apply.

The Cell

How to Make an Entrance 101 (source)

How to Make an Muthafukkin Entrance 101 (source)

Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a child psychologist who has been working with a comatose boy for several months. She ‘works’ with him by going inside his mind–into his dreams, sort of. Look, this is science fiction and you’re just going to have to work with us if you want to get to the fetishwear, okay? This film is about the fetishwear and the cool visuals. The plot and the dialogue… just… go with it.

So she goes in and does therapy with the boy inside his dreams. That’s how we learn what she does and how it works. Dylan Baker–it doesn’t matter what his character’s name is–he’s awesome in everything, believe me, you’ve seen him in at least three things–explains part of what’s happening. Marianne Jean-Baptiste (why is she in this?) explains the other half. (She’s in Broadchurch. Go watch that.)

Her character is Dr Miriam Kent and she’d tried co-in-dream therapy but, darn it, she just wasn’t as good as that plucky, young-un, C.De or whatever her name is. So there’s still a third table in there, just in case they need it again later. :cough:Chekhov’s third table:cough:

Focus on the fetishwear, not the gaping plotholes or terrible dialogue.

Meanwhile, we get to see a dude (Vincent D’Onofrio) doing some things to a woman. He then (somehow) self-suspends himself above her.

I need to know how he got himself up there on his own. (source)

Like so. I need to know how he got himself up there on his own. (source)

It’s also intimated that he has some ‘quality time’ with himself while in this position. Is that possible? [I rewatched this film because I’m doing a body suspension next weekend and I will NOT be attempting that. It’s also only two points of suspension.]

The cops find the woman’s body and the FBI (Vince Vaughn) are there, too, as it’s a serial case. It takes the FBI roughly 5.2 seconds to find suspendo boy up there because the point of the film is the pretty visuals.

Also, when they get to his house he’s in a coma.

Because he’s got some super-rare form of schizophrenia that kicked off at just the right second. That’s conven…

Focus.

So. C.De is now in talks about what could happen if she goes into his head to do some therapy. See, he’s already taken another woman and she’s in this automated cell, which seems weird. Why wouldn’t he want to be there…

Focus. Not the point.

Catherine has to find out where this woman is before she dies. Dear god, this dialogue. You may be tempted to bash on the acting, but nobody could work with these lines.

Dream therapist goes in and she’s in a Nine Inch Nails video. Seriously. I immediately thought that, then I was looking at the Wikipedia page when writing this review and the director, Tarsem Singh, took inspiration from ‘Closer’ and ‘The Perfect Drug’. I really dig both of those so it worked for me big time.

Apparently Singh was also influenced by ‘Bedtime Story’ by Madonna and Marilyn Manson videos.

Lots of fetish and industrial looking things. Sort of Silent Hill-like, too.

Then this happens:

I *know* this is someone's fetish. (source)

I *know* this is someone’s fetish. (source)

Totally Someone’s Fetish lady puts Dream Therapist down in a big room and dude from way at the top of the page makes the best entrance of all time and wants to know why a new person has arrived in his head. Fair dues.

She wakes herself up. She has a chat with FBI guy about why he no longer practices law. He had a Bad Case. It was Super Traumatic. Then she decides to go back in.

At some point someone explained that it could be really dangerous if Dream Therapist started to believe the world inside Mr Self-Suspender’s head was real because she wouldn’t know to bring herself out or something.

So guess what happens.

Luckily, we have Chekhov’s third table. [This is not a spoiler. If you have three brain cells you’ll work this out and the point of this film is all the kinky fetish stuff to look at. Everything else that happens is to facilitate those moments.]

So then we have two people in the mind of schizophrenic guy–one trained and one so-very-not. But it’s still gorgeous to look at and the scenes could have gone on longer.

Oh, will they find the woman in time? Gee, do they ever in big, Hollywood films?

The make up, costumes and effects are worth it. (source)

The make up, costumes and effects are worth it. (source)

I know I’ve been snarking pretty hard on this film, but … it’s kinda terrible. But it’s also kinda great. It was released in 2000 and the visuals are still impressive, which isn’t something you can usually say. ‘Lush’ is an appropriate word.

It’s the sort of film you can put on in the background and look up at when it gets to the part you actually want to see. You know, the video game parts. Except a really well-rendered, never lagging kind of video game.

The Cell reminds me of lucid dreaming–if you can lucid dream it’s pretty awesome. But then you wake up and everything is a cliche and predictable. Oh god. It’s more like real life than I thought.

There are lots of high quality screen caps here if you’d like to see more.

It’s difficult to rate this one. I’m going to give it a four and say maybe watch it on mute.

4/5

A Serbian Film

A Serbian Film horizontal poster

[This is a review of the uncut version. Spoilers will be behind spoiler tags. Go with God.]

Milos (Srdan Todorovic) was a once a well-known porn star who hasn’t worked in awhile. Burnt out on the business, he’s happily married to Marija (Jelena Gavrilovic) and they have a six year old boy, Petar (Luka Mijatovic). Money is a concern, however, so when Milos is given the opportunity to star in an ‘artistic’ film for an amount that will set the family up for the rest of even their son’s life he is tempted.

The filmmaker, Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic) wants him to sign the contract without telling him the plot of the film, which he’s uneasy about, but after discussing it with his wife, decides to do for the sake of their financial future and being done with porn forever.

His first day he is picked up and driven to the filming location then given an ear-piece and told to follow instructions as they are given to him. There are cameras in various places but he does as he is told and gets through the first scene where a woman gives him a blow job while he watches films of underage girls doing their make up and eating ice cream without incident.

Following work days are worse. Milos is forced to punch a woman while she pulls him off and an underage girl watches, cheering him on something he is not interested in doing, but he has no choice.

And we only descend deeper into Hell from there, folks.

He decides he doesn’t want to work on the film any longer and goes to Vukmir to tell him so. Vukmir gives Milos a line about it not being about pornography, but about life itself. He then shows Milos one of his films, which is of a woman explicitly giving birth and the ‘doctor’ who delivers the newborn then raping it.

Milos is sickened by this and leaves.

He wakes up days later and there is blood and he can’t immediately recall what happened. He returns to the set and finds tapes, which helps him remember:

  • Being drugged with something to induce rage, tumescence and suggestibility
  • Rage fucking the woman he had to hit earlier and eventually being provoked into decapitating her with a machete
  • Being thanked for killing the woman and invited to deflower the underage girl who’d encourage the violence against the woman in the earlier scene. At this he’d jumped up and threatened to cut off his dick then jumped out the window.
  • Being raped by one of the security guards on set whilst he was unconscious.
  • One of the tapes shows a longtime friend of his who’d connected him with Vukmir saying he shouldn’t be treating Milos this way.
  • Then she’s on her knees, her wrists in chains above her head, her teeth have been removed. A man chokes her to death with his dick by holding her nose closed while forcing himself as far down her throat as possible.
  • He is led into a large room with a huge, low bed and two unconscious people lying face down with hats on under a duvet. Milos is guided to one of the bodies and someone else in a mask gets behind the other and they begin doing what they do. After awhile Vukmir pulls off the other man’s mask to reveal it’s Milos’ corrupt cop of a brother. Then the hat of his person to reveal it’s his wife, just about the time his brother is finishing. Then Vukmir pulls off Milos’ partner’s hat to reveal it’s his six-years-old son.
  • Marija regains consciousness around this point and, realising what’s happened, kills the shit out of Milos’ brother while Milos is murdering everyone else. There was one death in particular I thought rather grand, which was when he shoved his dick through someone’s eyesocket. Dudes threaten to skull-fuck people regularly, but they never do it. Milos did it.

Caught up on what’s been happening, Milos finds his family in the basement. They decide it’s for the best if they all die. So Milos shoots the three of them lying together on their bed.

Just in case that was a very nearly redemptive ending: Another film crew walks in and the new director says to the new star, ‘Start with the smallest one.’

A Serbian Film UK Poster

When I was doing research for this section—I was looking up reviews to see how on Earth people had reviewed it—I discovered that the film has a website. Not all that surprising, most things do these days. But there are downloadable wallpapers. In case you want to be reminded of the most horrific film ever every time you look at your desktop. (I mentioned the film had wallpapers to my husband and all the features of his face scrunched to the middle of his head in confusion.)

So now it’s time for my critical comments. Because those come after the plot synopsis. Here I go.

Well. The filmmakers, Srdan Spasojevic and Aleksandar Radivojevic, have given articulate explanations of what the film’s intentions were. And, viewed through that lens, as it were, it succeeds in spades.

The acting, directing, writing, cinematography, all those things are… fine? Believable within the context of the particular Hell these poor fuckers inhabit.

And thus ends my critical comments.

The film has been banned in Spain, Finland, Portugal, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Norway. It was temporarily banned from screening in Brazil.

Three highlights, for me, in terms of trivia: [all from Wikipedia]

  • It was banned in Germany because it couldn’t be rated, as the ratings board wasn’t sure if it violated federal laws.
  • In Serbia there are no ratings. Anyone can watch anything.
  • At the first screening in the world, which was at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the owner invited people on stage, where they snorted lines of salt, squeezed lime juice in their eyes and took shots of tequila in order to ‘understand what Serbians have been through to create a culture of A Serbian Film’.
    The beauty of this being that, according to the creators of the film, the reason they made it was because the films there were all too politically correct as opposed to this being the only way they could feel anything after being numbed by the horrors of living in Eastern Europe.

(I told my friend Bug about the salt, lime, tequila torture and she said she’d rather do that to herself after seeing it as a way to perhaps forget having watched the thing. When I asked if she’d seen it her response was: ‘No fucking way!’ Which may be the sane way to go.)

Speaking of, time for the rating portion of the review.

Usually I give films a rating out of five, but I can’t rate this one. You probably have some idea of what you’re getting into. Watch it if you’d like. I’m creating a new rating for this film: UNRATED

If you do decide to watch it, do yourself a favour and have something lighter to watch afterwards. Like Requiem for a Dream.

Little Deaths

Little Deaths

Little Deaths is a collection of three short horror films—the first and third have BDSM as a main component and the middle one…the less said about that one the better.

House and Home
A well-to-do couple picks up homeless women and has sadistic sex with them after verbally degrading them over a nice meal. This could be fun as a roleplay for a threesome, until the horror part of the bit kicks in. Probably want to leave that part out. This one will possibly work for those interested in graphic rape and verbal humiliation scenes.

Mutant Tool
Nil BDSM. Nazi experiment gone stupid. Fails even in the horror department. Not even bad enough to be funny. Next.

Bitch
This one had the most potential. I actually cared about one of the characters (something I can’t say for either of the other selections). Pete (Tom Sawyer) is in a relationship with Claire (Kate Braithwaite) where they practise pet play and pegging. When he feels he’s no longer being valued for who he is Pete decides to get his own back in a really disturbing way.

I’m a big fan of horror and on that front I’d give it about a 3 overall. Also, obviously, a fan of BDSM and on that side of things I’d give this a 2.

This is one of those ‘I watched it so you don’t have to’ sorts of films.