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A Kaleidoscopic Look at Extremity

 Cinema Holocaust presents a look at extremity from the joint perspectives of those that know it best – including Chris Alexander, Fred Vogel, Jimmy ScreamerClauz, and Laurence R. Harvey!

The word ‘extreme’ is abused quite a lot these days – anybody care for some X-Treme JELL-O?

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Now, I’m sure that JELL-O is top-notch, but is it really ‘X-treme?’

I extend this argument to the world of film – is the newest ‘extreme’ film going to live up to the hype – is it going to revolutionize the world of cinema?  Are people going to be talking about it for years to come with respect?  Is it going to upset people BUT for a reason? …or will it just be another JELL-O mold forged from the same mold over and over again?

Since starting this column two years ago, I’ve been often asked “What is extreme cinema?” To be honest, I felt my definition alone could not satiate that curiosity, so I decided to recruit a few individuals whom I both admire and respect – individuals who know best on the topic.

Only two questions were asked, and there was no limit placed on elaboration –

  1. What does extreme cinema mean to you?
  2. How do you see it evolving in the next five years?

Here’s what they said, presented alphabetically.

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Chris Alexander

Editor in chief, Fangoria magazine. Writer/Director ‘Blood for Irina’

 Life is far more explicit and extreme than any motion picture could ever be and I think audiences are less naive and easy to offend. I know I am. I find as I age, the naughty, nasty frissons I used to get from watching things I knew were verboten and “bad” for me, has ebbed. I want something a bit more thematically evolved, something that pushes cerebral or emotional boundaries as opposed to wallowing in lazy cruelty. That sentiment aside, this is a difficult question. I mean, how many people will be on the next ‘Human Centipede’ chain? You can only push something so far before people either laugh, get bored or tune out completely. The human anatomy is only so complex. Sexuality can only be distorted so much. People can be duct taped to chairs only so often.

So where is it going? Maybe it isn’t…maybe with extreme media being further accepted into the mainstream zeitgeist, filmmakers who make an impact will have to use different tools to challenge their target audience.  I’m hoping for the next Jodorowsky or Lynch or Cronenberg, masters who distort realities but also attack the intellect.

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Adolfo Dorta

FromDuskTillCon founder, Days of the Dead promoter

I think the best “Extreme Cinema” is the kind that cripples you on an emotional level vs. simply seeking to shock you with sex or gore. Great examples of this would be the films of Gaspar Noe or something like Pascal Laugier’s ‘Martyrs’ or Michael Haneke’s ‘Funny Games’ – films that threaten to break your very soul more so than test your stomach. A good extreme film will be a sufficient enough experience after one viewing that you won’t rush to see it again anytime soon, yet it will nevertheless leave its mark, like a scar, to remind you of what it put you through.

I hope that as the sub-genre continues to grow, we see continued exploration into the aesthetic and creative aspects of filmmaking and less of the tired torture porn schlock. In the last few years, films like ‘Taxidermia’ and Von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’ have shown that “artful” and “disturbing” can co-exist wonderfully together to fantastic effect. Even a work such as ‘A Serbian Film’, while not one I particularly cared for and consider to be played too much for shock value, is visually arresting and ripe with clever imagery bringing a renewed level of artistic sophistication to the genre.

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Laurence Harvey

Actor “Human Centipede 2”

Like the carnival talker, the ‘Extreme film’ promises to show you something you have never seen before, often it draws on horror tropes to deal provocatively with corporeality, it literally, allows us to see inside ourselves.

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Emmet Kiernan

Director/heavy metal musician

 Many of us take drugs, many of us drink alcohol.  Many of us go to church and pray to a God.  Almost all of us need to witness or feel something in this rigid, implacable and thoroughly ordered chaos that feels like perhaps there are things out there that reject the iron clad rules of society and the universe.  We secretly envy the insane, those many that have rejected what their surroundings tell them is right, and true, and whose very brains have rebelled against them, creating hallucinations, phantom thoughts and illusions that can drive them to create works of startling beauty, or commit acts of hideous atrocity.

Many of us watch or take part in sports, martial arts, mosh pits, headbanging, and singles nights in crowded bars -fast cars and motorcycles- skydiving, paintball.  We crave adrenaline; we love danger – the thrill of standing at the precipice of failure, injury, humiliation… death?  We are all, at the end of the day, animals, locked into a strict and binding, mostly sedentary existence that is unnatural towards every instinct.  This is why we have suicides, serial killers, rapists, musicians.  The animal inside cries out to be freed, to be loosed on the world, and we all respond differently.  If the lives we lead cannot feed the beast, then the beast will not let itself starve without taking the man down with it.

Extreme music is the scream of the animal inside us.  Rock is the rebel, metal is the devil, and industrial is sound of the world killing you on the inside.  But Extreme cinema…. Extreme cinema is food for the beast.  We all crave to taste insanity – that imperfect mutation of the soul, the blend of man and animal- but we fear the consequences- the pain we inflict on others, ourselves.  Through horror, books, cinema, video games, comics, we can see through the eyes of the madman, with the safety of the screen or the page keeping us from crossing over.  Horror lets us watch the world burn, lets us view a world where the universe is more chaotic than we could ever imagine, where in an instant even the strongest of humans can become lambs for the slaughter, or the weakest can become gods.  Horror is mankind rattling the cages of nature’s plan, a rejection of what we’ve been given.  It is the railing against the brevity of life, the insistence that there should be more, and if life should be so brief, then it should be a hell of a lot crazier.

 When alcohol isn’t enough, when sex loses its luster, when you want something new, something darker, something more…. You unleash the extreme, for better or for worse.

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Jason ‘BrundleFly’ Ours

Cinema Holocaust founder

The word ‘extreme’ – in regards to film – is synonymous with the respective time period.  When audiences saw ‘The Exorcist’ for the first time in 1973 – that was the most extreme thing for them – there were stories of people fainting in the theater and even needing therapy after seeing it. Now it is shown on prime-time TV with car commercials and local furniture store blowout sales placed every 17 minutes into it.  Fast-forward to today – in our Doritos-eating, Red Bull-fueled, amphetamine-laced population what exactly is extremity?  In an era where “torture-porn” films like the ‘Saw’ series get national theatrical release, and where 8 out of the 10 top selling video games on Amazon are all violent enough to give your grandmother a heart-attack, what is left to shock and awe?

In some ways, the 70s and 80s were the best time to be an extreme-film connoisseur due to the fact that everything was FRESH.  The main reason things are so balls-to-the-walls today is because , frankly, it’s all that’s left – the more an individual is exposed to something, the more desensitized they become.  Remember when Mrs. Vorhees was decapitated at the end of ‘Friday the 13th’ – that was many people’s FIRST decapitation seen on screen, fast forward to 2002 and you have the intro to ‘Ghost Ship’ where a snapped steel wire slices about 50+ people in half – and that is just the intro! Fast forward again to 2010 where Spasojevic’s ‘Serbian Film’ actually has a woman being choked to death (after all her teeth were pulled out) by a man’s erect penis.  One can see the progression here, where ‘extreme’ seems to correlate to ‘exposure.’

Extremity to me is the ability to scratch a raw nerve AND stick with you days later.  I remember the first time I witnessed Pascal Laugier’s ‘Martyrs’ – it was in the middle of a convention weekend – so I had a million different things to be excited about, but even then, the film stuck with me and kept reminding me of the atrocities I witnessed – THAT’S extremity.  If I sit through your movie and feel NOTHING after it, nor do I never think of it again until I come across it in the $3 bin at Walgreens and STILL pass on it, then you have failed.  If you are claiming to have an ‘extreme’ film – I WANT psychological damage – I am giving you permission to hurt me, do your worst!

It is important to note that extreme film is not limited to violence and horror, but, at least now, that’s where a majority of the films in the category predominantly rest.  There exist cerebral documentaries such as ‘Dear Zachary’ and ‘The Bridge’ that are completely soul-crushing and WILL stick with you for days and days after your initial viewing of them – so, going by my definition above of scratching a raw nerve, these films are most assuredly in the ‘extreme’ category.

In terms of evolution, I don’t see much in terms of mainstream cinema, but for underground cinema, I see another story.  I see the only direction to go is to show actual harm being done to the actors – something I do not condone, but I will not be surprised when it happens.  You already have Lucifer Valentine’s ‘Vomit Gore’ trilogy where the third film, ‘Slow Torture Puke Chamber’ actually starts with the actress saying that everything done to her was consensual.  I feel that goes against the magic of cinema, when it is not make-up of sfx, but rather real.

The most extreme film(s), in my world, will always be Fred Vogel’s ‘August Underground’ series – those films changed my life in terms of perspective – and the first one came out in 2001, some 11+ years ago.  How do you top that?   I think we have reached an apex, and unless something completely new comes around, everything will just be re-hashes of the same JELL-O mold.

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If one takes Peter Greenaway’s notion that the only two areas worth discussing in art are Sex and Death, then surely it is in the realm of ‘Extreme’ cinema one discovers the pinnacle of such explorations.

The cinema of the extreme uses and revels in the most deplorable aspects of humanity, depicting the most heinous acts of debasement imaginable, in service of ideas and bringing to light, what in the manufactured consensus deemed too repugnant to discuss. Extreme cinema expands in a way on Nietzsche’s declaration that “God is dead”, by adding – we will also die.

With this then the cinematic extremes burst forth like a flesh obsessed, cousin to the existentialists’ experimentations in the theatre of the absurd and further still that of cruelty. In this sense extreme cinema occupies a similar space that Georges Bataille would claim for evil in literature, being that, literature without evil is pointless because there is no tension, nothing happens, no catharsis. This evil, whether it includes abject scenes of torture – or abuse or in the case of Pier Paolo Passolini’s ‘Salo: 120 days of Sodom’, coprophilia – is incorporated as a structural element to signify whole ideas.

As it is, extreme cinema has for me two profoundly interesting aspects. The first is its utilization of allegory within its investigation of taboos, all of which are connected to Sex and Death – with the allegorical component itself, using the visual linguistics of extremity to de-mystify the obscene. The very metaphorical fabric of a film such as ‘Salo’ is arranged in such a way as to not attempt to corrupt the subject (as some international censors claimed) but instead to disgust the viewer. However this disgust is not simply there as a form of shock currency, instead it is an intentional revolt against the atrocities of fascism and its methodical degradation of the generations subsequent to its power obsessed hierarchy.
Through the use of allegory the taboos of Sex and Death are most divisively – in the sense that those who praise it see it as the a trove of fascination, whereas its detractor claim it as utterly repugnant exploitation – explored in Srdjan Spasojevic’s ‘Srpski Film’ (‘Serbian Film’) which again details the frenzied grasps of an exposed (post?) totalitarian regime, attempting to cling to some sense of power. The use here is different to Passolini’s, in that rather than being an overall assessment of the post-Yugoslav republics and attempts of the Serbs to keep their authority over the region and showing as ‘Salo’ did, deplorable acts as a way to keep a sense of power. Instead Spasojevic uses characters as signifiers, representing ideas, fears and truths faced after the series of wars subsequent to the dissolution of Yugoslavia. For instance one could read in the scene where Milos is coerced firstly into raping a handcuffed woman before being commanded – after being told that she was unfaithful to her war hero husband – to decapitate her, that it is a rumination of the Croat / Serb splitting of Bosnia into the Republika Srpska and The Federation, as well as the genocide of the Bosniaks. Allegorical taboo rears its head again with the idea of the indoctrination of Serbian youth into the reactionary politics of the country as it now appears, via the (initially unsuspecting) rape by coerced father on son only to still be, degraded after death, the triple suicide of Father, Mother and Child is filmed by another group, prior to engaging in necrophilia.  Or even in the case of the ‘original’ Serbian (extreme) film – Dusan Makavejev’s ‘Sweet Movie’ – using emetophilia, documentary footage of excavating massacred human remains and again coprophilia in exploring the notions of dissent against sexual repression and the Yugoslav politburo as brought to bear with an naval effigy of Karl Marx, floating through Dutch canals, the perversion of Marxism under Tito as well as the seductive nature, that ultimately corrupts anyone who enters what could be read as the authoritarian political class.

This engagement with taboo elements as such is what I would deem an, ‘in-severe, severity’. In this notion is the idea of an insincere severe, that is to say, something so utterly hideous (possibly traumatic, stomach churning, vomit inducing, depending on the viewer) yet at the same time not genuine. It is an act of absolute deplorable cruelty experienced at a safe distance, with that distance being the unconscious understanding that even though the act is utterly obscene, it is false it is performed. This violent performance within the realm of spectacle then can in a sense transcend itself in the same way George Bataille alludes to in “Death and Sensuality”. Such transcendence through pain, tension or horror comes to the fore as an affirmation of the body and its inevitable decay, further still, an affirmation of life.

Related to this is also the idea that the audience has become complicit in the acts depicted, bring the subject from a passive position of non-interpretation into a more shattering realm of active participation in a films themes.  From Fritz Lang’s ‘M’, when Peter Lorre, looks at his reflection in the mirror, asking himself “Is this the face of a killer?”  With the answer of course being yes, as it is the face of human. From this idea that we each have the potential for act as debased as anyone else, ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’, goes further, not by breaking into our homes and attacking us as audience but doing something shatteringly radical.  It involves the murder of family and initially seems as though the scene – being recorded on a video camera – is occurring in real time, however the twist comes when it is revealed that in Henry and Otis are in fact sitting comfortably on their couch, as the viewer might well be, watching the murder of the family on tv. With this reveal it is implied that the audience has become part of the spectacle of murder, forcing the viewer to digest the idea of violence as entertainment and its implications. The ‘August Underground’ films then, to return to the modern arena of the extreme develops like a collection of these home videos, bringing to its most extreme level the scopophilic urge in Henry and Otis to watch and re-watch the tape, showing the key points in the protagonists lives as killers and it is as though, through the taping of the event (death and mutilation) that the perpetrators gain a more rounded appreciation of the act after the fact – with the audience or spectator in the guise of the camera.  It is then as though the subject, rather than an objective gaze of the other dictating what is seen, has become a partial puppet to the big Other, in that the viewer is put in the role of camera, what is seen is what happened as it were, as though it is occurring because of us.  With the audience by proxy signifying those who committed the act.

From the depths of the sublime abyss – a void from which as Georges Bataille would suggest comes “the desire to obtain, beyond the world of appearances, the answer to a question one is unable to formulate” – crawls the second beloved point of interest, the utilization of philosophical or psychological notions. This is why, for me ‘Martyrs’ is such an interesting case and perhaps the greatest horror film made in the new millennium. ‘Martyrs’ as a text is a prime example of borderline nihilism and dissection of the horror found at the emptiness of belief – the lack of catharsis for Lucie after the massacre of her former tormentors, to the nothingness expressed by Anna after being subjected to transcendence through flaying. The violence used in the film, including murder, self-mutilation and torture, is effectively a weapon at service not simply to the narrative but to the philosophical readings at play. Pascal Laugier has claimed the film to be a response to Michael Haneke’s ‘Funny Games’ as well as kick against the pointlessness of what was dubbed “Torture Porn” because, as the director claims – the film is about something.

What ‘Martyrs’ is about, following on from what occurs in David Lynch’s work, is an exposing of the devastating emptiness of the big Other, or the prime instigator and constraining element of belief, desire, illusion, fantasy. The religious cult in, ‘Martyrs’ are a collective personification of Bataille’s obsession with torture and transcendence, even using the same images of Ling Chi (slow slicing) as evidence of the belief that transcendence and nearness to death can result in either a form of near canonization or at least a glimpse of an afterlife. It is this hope or illusion that is necessary as a stringent belief that is required for them to function as a sect.

Taking the idea that extreme cinema is at its core primarily concerned with aspects of the body, its failings, pains and decay – humanity as flesh – then perhaps for the sake of argument we can call the avant-garde (surrealist, experimental, art films) as tackling something similar in relation to the mind and the formulations of desires and drives. Symmetry of the two should be sought in order to disrupt and disturb the flow of mundane, meaningless cinema and its over-bearing grasp on the medium. To again allude to Peter Greenaway, it is important to face his provocation that there has never yet been any real cinema just illustrated text as it were and to an extent I would agree. The unison of both mental and physical (cinematic) extremes might well induce, in film, its first equivalent of a Jackson Pollock for instance – dragging film to become not just a medium seen devoured by a passive, docile audience but rather one that challenges the viewers and begs for interpretation. This challenge should be, as any previously innovative movements worth their salt have been, about unnerving, disgusting, shattering and combating the accepted ideals of the times. Film has for the most part been too constrained by, as Greenaway would decry, the tyranny of narrative, cinema has to become more ambiguous, it has to face to problematic of ekphrasis, that other arts have embraced, in order to create for itself its own truly distinct language.

Film is art and as such should seek to engage itself in what concerns a society. An extreme avant-garde, in my opinion, would be the greatest way in which to engage in these ideals, using its extremity to shock in order to provoke discussion.

 As Guy Debord writes in “The Society of the Spectacle”, “If we do not want to participate in the spectacle of the end of the world, we will have to work towards the end of the world of spectacle”.

If the extreme is to move forward meaningfully it should combat the mundane images that saturate modern life.

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Jimmy ScreamerClauz

Director/animator –  “Where the Dead go to Die”

Extreme cinema is a genre of film that prides itself on outdoing the previous entries. They are films that show the darker, more horrible, aspects of life that other filmmakers are afraid to go and most viewers would rather not know about. They deal in topics that are off-limits, and often end up generating some sort of controversy.  They are loved and hated equally among the population and will fuck your head up if you aren’t ready!  But at the same time they are just movies and shouldn’t be taken so seriously.  Just try to take them for what they are and remember they are works of fiction.  Try to laugh at them as much as possible, even when you probably shouldn’t be!

I think it’s starting to get harder to top stuff, at least not without being a truly awful person!  I’m just hoping for something fresh because everything seems to just be rehashes or re-imaginings or just flat out rip-offs.  I wish more extreme films would take risks story wise instead of just seeing how much graphic gore and baby rape they can put on the screen without going to jail.  Trying to work dick-cutting, worm-shitting and eyeball-violence into coherent story lines with real characters should be the new challenge!  So hopefully within the next 5 years there will be some sort of new revolution.

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Fred Vogel

Writer/Director ‘August Underground’ trilogy, ‘The Redsin Tower’, Maskhead

Extreme cinema means that there is still danger.  It’s something that I have always been drawn to. I’ve always enjoyed the films that somehow provoke me in a way, the ones that makes me uneasy, the ones that really seem to resonate in my brain.  It’s not just in horror, there’s a lot of just extreme movies out there that provoke a lot of different emotions – you know, movies like ‘Kids’ and more recently ‘Red, White, and Blue.’  I knew that it when it came to me and making my movies, I always wanted to fall into that bracket – to make something that sits inside somebody’s head for more than just a day.

I think it will always evolve – it goes through many different shapes of what people think is extreme, and it just comes back to how you come off as real as possible, and that is really what affects you.  If you can just keep telling stories that people can relate to a point where it scares them – a different effect than a traditional horror movie. I think it can evolve forever.

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Mike ‘Corpse Monger’ Waison

Writer – Fangoria, Horror Hound, Strange Kids Club, Cinema Holocaust

Extreme film. Extreme anything.  It’s where I live.  It’s what I am.  And yet when I hear people calling it that, I cringe.  I cringe because I know what it can lead to, and believe me when I say; it can lead to a very dead-end street.  It has the capacity, at its heart, to open up the parameters, to make everything bigger, wider, deeper, more…that’s what it means.  More – but so few people see it that way. They switch into “extreme” mode (or at least what they ‘extreme’ represents), and it suddenly becomes about being less.

 Fewer actors.  Fewer sets.  Fewer ideas.  “Let’s really make ‘em suffer!” they say, without realizing…it’s not hard to do that.  Not hard at all.  Take what’s been done, and go further.  Literally, anyone can do it.

 So the Extreme subgenre (even though extremity should be a tool, and not a subject heading, not really) gets confined to a ghetto.  Simulated snuff…simulated snuff…and more simulated snuff.  Because that’s the easiest “you are there” thing we the viewer can relate to, that’s what we get served up again, and again, and again, and again…eating our own vomit until we forget what the food ever tasted like to begin with.  Again…it’s not hard to pull off.  Make a list of what the last sociopath put on film, and go a step further, eliminating the filter of legitimate artistic style to make it more immediate for the audience you intend to horrify.  Spout some shit about wanting to make your Pollyanna audience face the real world, man, because you’re enough of a badass to live there.  Yawn.  Whatever. It’s bullshit.  And it’s lazy.  And bullshit + lazy = offensive, but not for the reasons such cutting edge auteurs are hoping.

But it’s not all about 8mm poseurs and their pretense and posturing…there’s a bigger world out there.  And Extreme cinema is often the only real way to even look upon it, let alone address it for all it’s worth.  The truth that Extreme cinema holds, is that it’s not about making the audience suffer…it’s about making them feel, a lot.  And for that, you have to take the blinders off.  There is as much beauty as there is ugliness, for those brave enough to tackle it head on.

 True, while the likes of Fred Vogel and his ilk offer a master class in the unyielding, promiscuous simplicity of human suffering, one thing tends to get overlooked: that’s not all they do.  That was one concern, one color on the palette, and he perfected it.   He also went on to make ‘The Redsin Tower’ and ‘Sella Turcica.’ He dreams of invading zombie cinema, making a film about Boris Karloff, and the making of ‘Frankenstein’.  Yes, he stayed within the faux snuff genre, more or less, for the lion’s share of his professional career, but there is much more to the body of work still waiting to blossom, and we’ve seen very real signs of it.  This is a man with a legitimate preoccupation – that of the killer among us, and how low their deeds truly are away from the light of the Hollywood camera – who dissected that preoccupation until there was nothing left of the corpse.  Every artist does it.  Whatever the preoccupation is, the artist will inevitably focus on it until it has run its course in their blood.

But the carnal legacy of ‘August Underground’ is the exception that proves the rule…Fred’s got this. Follow that journey or don’t.  But either way, we need to leave his table scraps alone and see what else is going on in the world of extremity.

 Films like ‘Enter the Void’, ‘Martyrs’, ‘Hobo With a Shotgun’, ‘Chillerama’, ‘Inside’,’ ABCs of Death’, ‘Human Centipede’, andthe J-Splat tidal wave have pried our hands away from the cul de sac of faux-nihilistic killer-with-a-camera repetition and given us huge palettes, with big ideas, massive sensations…overstimulation of every emotion.  And that is what the subgenre, such as it is, truly exists for.  Not to narrow our path of vision, but to blow it wide open.

It has always been around to do that very thing. In the ‘60s, we HG Lewis and his hyper-gore schlock geek shows to spit in the face of, well, any form of remotely respectable filmmaking. Across the hemisphere, we had Coffin Joe, daring to show us what Hell was truly like in ways that wouldn’t register here for years. Romero and Hooper would go on to gut the mainstream, and wear its skin, changing the game on all corners from that point on, period. Later in the 70s, ‘Last House On the Left’, ‘Last House On Dead End Street’,’’and ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ broke every law of man in ways that are still painful.  Somewhere in the midst of all of that, John Waters was running wild.  In the 80s, the work Romero and Hooper began initiated an entire generation of blurred lines, where gutter-dweller punk rock gore and coal-black humor suddenly came up from the sewer, and into our living rooms.  You had every extreme imaginable, with Rugerro Deodato creating the towering Extreme cinema signpost ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ on one end of the spectrum, and a gleeful Stuart Gordon on the other, painting the screen red, green, purple and pink with an entire library of films that were balls-to-the-wall insane, but somehow heartwarming and fun at the same time.

 And the thing was…it was all different.

 ‘Henry’ coexisted with ‘Street Trash’, and we were all the better for it, because we weren’t limiting ourselves.  Quite the opposite…we were turning shit up to 11 on all fronts.  We were omnivores, not satisfied until all holes were filled.

 It should have stayed that way…we should have gotten more ‘Tetsuo’, more ‘Meet the Feebles’, more ‘Day of The Beast’…but somewhere along the way, we slipped up.  Forgot what it was all about. Gave the killers their cameras and called it good.  It’s not all that way…but we have pigeon-holed ourselves.  Look up any list of so-called Extreme film, and you will find that two thirds of the list are man-with-a-knife-and-a-hardon epics that struggle to show how dark they are, as if we haven’t all been there a thousand fucking times before, as if we’re unaware that ugly shit happens in the real world, yeah the real world, and gee, aren’t the filmmakers tough for making us realize it?

 Fuck your tough, give me creative.  I can’t read about the type of shit that goes down in ‘Brain Damage ‘in the newspaper.  It’s your job to give me the new shit.

 So…where do I see it going in the next phase of things, where do I hope the next five years or so of Extreme cinema goes?  Hope…I do have a lot of hope, actually.

 ‘A Serbian Film’ breathed a lot of refreshing air into my famished lungs. Yes, it’s about snuff.  But…it’s an actual movie, with a terrific story, superb filmmaking, monumental performances…it shattered some of the last taboos we’d yet to get to at that point, but in spite of what it’s cynical critics would have you believe, none of it is there for mere  exploitational shock.  It’s a real goddamn film, like something a big studio would put out, a hard-hitting prestige picture the likes of which Fincher or a reigned-in Schumacher might put out…but fearless, unwilling to look away, ever  -an Extreme film of Hollywood caliber.  And that, brothers and sisters, was a notion so thrilling as to be dizzying.

 The afore-mentioned ‘Martyrs’ was a similarly beautiful film, in both craft and intent…and goddamn it, it was one of the most hard-hitting cinematic experiences I have ever had, and never once did it feel content to simply wallow in the reductivist pain-delivery-system basement a lesser film would.  It tackled nothing less than the meaning of life.  On the other side of the tracks, ‘The Taint’ was a singular experience that came off like an episode of ‘Regular Show’ by way of ‘Crossed’ (look it up), and was nothing short of thrilling in its raucous, vulgar, bottomless pit of neon nonsense.  This is where I hope the genre will explode in the decade to come.  The very existence of Jason Eisener is a harbinger of great things to come, and hope everybody pulls together to live up to that kind of promise.  Even the mainstream, defiled in the past decade by the likes of marauders like Eli Roth, Darren Bousman, and Rob Zombie, has begun to show massive promise, with even remakes like ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘Maniac’ somehow not only living up to, but surpassing the extremity of their iconic forefathers.

Above ground and below, I think we’re in for beautiful times…just so long as we can leave the camcorder at the door.

I want it all…so fucking give it to me.

A special THANK YOU to everybody that participated in this edition of Cinema Holocaust!

Be sure to follow Cinema Holocaust (and leave your feedback!) on Facebook HERE.

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This entry was posted on March 11, 2013 by in Cinema Holocaust and tagged , , , , , .
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