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Poison 1991

  • 3.6
The second feature directed by Todd Haynes, POISON is a groundbreaking American independent film and was the most fervently debated film of the 1990s as well as a trailblazing landmark of queer cinema. A work of immense visual invention, Haynes’ spectacular follow-up to his legendary SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY is audacious, disturbing and thrillingly cinematic. Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, POISON deftly interweaves trio of transgressive tales (“Hero,” “Horror” and “Homo”) that build toward a devastating climax. “Hero,” shot in mock television-documentary style, tells a bizarre story of suburban patricide and a miraculous flight from justice; “Horror,” filmed like a delirious ’50s B-movie melodrama, is a gothic tale of a mad sex experiment which unleashes a disfiguring plague; while “Homo” explores the obsessive sexual relationship between two prison inmates. A runaway hit which made national headlines when it was attacked by right-wing figures including Dick Armey, Ralph Reed and minister Donald Wildmon, POISON is unsettling, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining.

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1 member likes this review

4 1/2 The three interwoven, completely different stories, told and shot masterfully in three different styles, are so absorbing, I can’t remember the last time 90 minutes passed so quickly. Difficult to watch sometimes, but the humor and tongue-in-cheek styles of the 1950s STD science fiction tale and the suburban crime-documentary tale help balance-out the almost unbearable cruelty in the third. Powerful and engrossing.

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Member Reviews (13)

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top reviewer

...caught me by surprise. I really enjoyed it. Great cinematography, wonderful acting, excellent direction.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

4 1/2 The three interwoven, completely different stories, told and shot masterfully in three different styles, are so absorbing, I can’t remember the last time 90 minutes passed so quickly. Difficult to watch sometimes, but the humor and tongue-in-cheek styles of the 1950s STD science fiction tale and the suburban crime-documentary tale help balance-out the almost unbearable cruelty in the third. Powerful and engrossing.

1 member likes this review

A bizarre, surrealistic tragic trilogy. Although based on the works of Genet, it is strangely reminiscent of a Hubert Selby novel.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

The controversy is understandable; the film is provocative and disturbing; it is sometimes a difficult film to view. But the problem, of course, if not that the film is disturbing but that 'the fault, dear Casca, lies not in our stars but in ourselves,' our Homo sapiens sapiens selves. At least in our selves in "empire civilization" -- designed intentionally by sociopaths and psychopaths to house too many rats in too small a cage ... . Moreover, any film condemned by the hysterical, shrieking panty-wetters and bed wetters like Dick Armey and Ralph Reed -- and praised by John Waters -- is a film to be seen. Frankly the film makes me look with an even more jaundiced eye at what hath been wrought by those white, Christian European settler-invaders of 500 years ago. And since.

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top reviewer

amazing directing, photography, story very inspiring loved it!!

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top reviewer

A wide range of emotions weave taunt stories, peculiar, provocative, perverse?? The neighbor lady who witnesses the "BM" certainly might think so.

Extremely interesting to me and curious with flavors almost like Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Sterling with an LGBTQ twist to some parts.

very strange

The film that simultaneously put Todd Haynes on the map and ushered in the New Queer Cinema movement, "Poison" was both an extremely controversial as well as highly influential picture- and it remains a reference point in LGBT film to this day.

Startling and even though i saw this film when it first came out I had some problems with it. But a this this time I simply enjoyed Todd Hayne's vision.

OK..maybe the strangest movie we have seen on Fandor...and that is saying a lot.

Good!

movie viewed fine but did not like the content as very disturbing and brutal....