lunes, 15 de febrero de 2010

Maniac 1934

Have you ever seen a film where, halfway through, you start questioning reality and wonder what the fuck are you on? I know a lot of people who suffer from these experiences while watching the films of David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowski. Me? I have only suffered it from this 1934 production, made by the first king of exploitation, Dwain Esper, who gave us such high art as Reefer Madness and How To Dress In Front Of Your Husband. Based somewhat on Poe, the story deals with an actor who assists a mad scientist who is able to reanimate bodies ala Herbert West. The assistant kills the doctor and decides to put on a costume to make people think he is the doctor, and so he continues doing wacky experiments. Some of these include shooting up with adrenaline a guy who thinks he’s the orangutan from Poe’s Murders In The Rue Morgue (I’m dead serious) and then trying to hit it up with a chubby golddigger. Oh, and he’s afraid of cats. Like I said before, this is somewhat based on Poe, mostly The Black Cat, in the fact that the character is afraid of cats and walls up the doctor the way the guy does in the story. That’s as far as it goes I’m afraid, as this is as faithful to Poe as the Karloff/Lugosi Black Cat… actually if I think about it, this is more faithful. But that doesn’t mean it’s better, oh no. By all means this movie should be a forgotten piece of shit. It has some of the worst technical aspects I have seen from a 1930’s movie, and I know about bad filmmaker, being a bad filmmaker myself. The acting is also terrible, going to ridiculous lenghts to over-act and make the story as unbearable as possible. Add to that these weird title cards that pop up every fifteen minutes explaining to us different psychological disturbances and you feel like you’ve stumbled into the Twilight Zone or something. And that’s exactly what makes this film so memorable. It’s so weird, so surreal, that you just have to sit there, in awe, wondering what the fuck you are watching. Am I watching a real movie? Am I watching some sort of abstract play performed by members of an insane asylum? The movie also breaks some ground in that it features some light gore, but more than you could see in the 30’s, from a cat eating a heart to the mad scientist swallowing the cat’s eyeball. We also get some nudity, mostly pointless and ridiculous, but it’s also shocking just because I couldn’t even think of there being tits in the 30’s, except for those bad nudist shorts I previously reviewed (look for those, they’re fun). My favorite scene, however, must be the one with the chubby women in their ill-fitting underwear talking bullshit. One of them has the voice of Minnie Mouse and the other dances to no music. I wish all cinema was this insane.

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