Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Des Morts"(1979)d/Jean-Paul Ferbus, Dominique Garny, Thierry Zeno

My earliest memory of tonight's movie dates back to the early eighties, where a trip to Gallery of Sound left me holding the fifty dollar Media VHS of Basket Case(1982) in my left hand and the pricey eighty dollar plastic Gorgon clamshell VHS of this in my right.Not yet the eager young real death/real gore-hund I'd blossom into a few years later, I passed on the impressively packaged/ridiculously priced Belgian deathumentary in favour of Henenlotter's legendary siamese brothers, and wouldn't come across it again until one of my regular mom and pop video store 'going out of business' sales haunts in the middle of nowhere years later, for a couple of bucks in a bin by the register.After a successful evening of carousing cooze and getting wasted like a Viking does, I blew through early morning red lights to get home for a chance to finally screen the critically acclaimed thing without passing the fuck out like a chump, the way I ended up doing afterall.Paced somewhere between a funeral procession and the time that'd have to elapse for your entire cadaver to rot down to fertilizer, the filmmakers, who comprise the avant-garde team that brought us the aptly-named Vase de Noces(1974), translated as 'The Wedding Trough', but globally notorious as 'The Pig-Fucking Movie'(uhh, yeah...we'll be skipping that one here, folks.), mix ethnographic art and exploitation in serving up  the poetry, spirituality, and absurdity of death, in graphic detail, for the camera.
Still a two liter of Mt Dew Voltage, a bag of sensi, and some Sabbath away from qualifying as a "ripper".
You groove on dead bodies, man?You're about to get more than a couple here, believe you me.Corpses in various states of decomposition all pass the lens, matter-of-factly, as they're graphically dissected like so many fetal pigs in a high school laboratory(porn for morticians, really), incinerated into charcoal(more or less), and entered into the ground for that lengthy, unpleasant dirt nap that nobody likes to think about while they're surrounding themselves with material wealth and acquisitions or partying their balls off constantly like some guys think they're entitled to do.Ahem.You should be able to execute an autopsy or effectively prep a cadaver for a funeral by the time you've sat through all the procedures depicted in lurid detail for the cameras here.Burial rites your bag?Nepalese, Thai, Belgian, South Korean, and even Yank rituals are examined at exhaustive mandible-numbing length here and segued by exploitative shock cuts.All these funerals and still no stiffie joke?With much respect to Terry Jones of the Pythons, I'll take the high road here and pay my respects to the bereaved within with a moment of silent dedication that won't translate worth a good goddamn to anybody following at home.We see a guy who makes a living dumping people's ash remains over the Golden Gate Bridge via airplane, with discount group rates.Oh, but that's not all...
Even Johnny Blaze needs a little breather sometimes.
...and just when you thought you might get through a mondo shockumentary without having to witness any senseless animal death, four oxen selflessly give their lives for the filmmakers' lens in obligatory gruesome fashion, in case you were feeling too positively about the whole dark affair thus far.Hey, at least they slumped dead on their left sides, allowing the dead Thai mom that they were sacrificed in the name of, a peaceful passage into a joyous afterlife without wreaking vengeance or sickness upon her living relatives.I'm still thinking the cows just might have gotten assfucked on this particular deal.More, you demand? There's Mexican bull-skewering and butcher shop hijinks with still-twitching severed calf heads. Interviews with handicapped individuals soon follow, resulting in some serious heavying of some already weighty eyelids on this end.A satirical look at cryogenics is taken via color still photography For those of you wondering where the hell all the executions in this damned documentary are, ponder no further, as you bear witness to a would-be Filipino guerilla-turned-informant's check getting cashed by his former comrades, his twitching corpse dumped into a shallow grave(a scene Zeno cut from later prints of the film as 'unneccessary').The camera pans a cemetery as the film comes to a close, perhaps leaving more questions for the viewer than it has ultimately answered...
"Dude, the buzzer went off, gimme those fuckin' tweezers, ya cheater!"
Though I probably woulda dug Morts had I picked it up way back when, I have to think I ultimately made the right choice in wicker basket freaks and grillsful o' scalpels.By the time I finally saw the damned thing, I was a different animal entirely, senses dulled against most real shockumentary violence and death by the mid-80s surge of Faces, Traces, Scenes deathumentary barrage me and the boys willingly endured back then, though there are still a few clips I have trouble wrapping my eyes around to this day.Morts is tame in comparison to most of those aforementioned vids, and I'd imagine any hardened gorenophile or death metaller worth his(or her) tits in grue would have the same end result that I did that first time around: riding the somnambulistic sky dragon to la-la land and chainsawing wood planks on the couch where I sit like I was named Jean-fucking-Pierre or something.On the other hand, Morts is a cerebral otherworldly journey that just might hit the spot for one of those rainy afternoons when you're piped outta yer gourd and fancy contemplating the end, which coincidentally, awaits us all, with its cold, final embrace.Worth a look, two Biggies.
Don't you wish they could stay like this forever?Oh, wait...

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