Poison: 20th Anniversary Edition
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Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, Poison deftly interweaves a trio of transgressive tales - 'Hero,' 'Horror' and 'Homo' - that build toward a devastating climax. 'Hero,' shot in a mock tabloid-TV 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 conservative figures including Dick Armey, Ralph Reed and minister Donald Wildmon, Poison is audacious, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining.
--New high-definition transfer created from original film elements
--Sundance Q&A with Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and executive producer James Schamus, for the 20th anniversary of the film's Grand Jury Prize
--Archival 1999 audio commentary by Haynes, Vachon, and star/editor James Lyons
--Original poster concepts and collages by Haynes
--Behind-the-scenes polaroids by Kelly Reichardt (director of Meek's Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy)
--Last Address, a short film by Ira Sachs (director of Married Life)
--Original 1991 U.S. theatrical trailer
--English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired (SDH)
--16-page booklet with original press kit documents and more
Top Customer Reviews
It is easy to understand why the film never caught on in any broad sense. It is deliberately "art house," and your ability to "get" the film will depend a great deal on your knowledge of the literature and films it references. In a general sense, the film is inspired by the writings of Jean Genet (1910-1986), a French author associated with the existentialist movement.
A deliberate outsider, Genet spent so much of his youth in and out of prison that he was ultimately threatened with a life sentence as a habitual criminal. In his writings, Genet fused his homosexual, criminal, and prison adventures into a consistent point of view--one that championed freedom of choice (no matter how unattractive the choice), self-determination (no matter how unfortunate the result), and generally gave the finger to any form of authority (no matter how necessary.) POISON specifically references three of his most celebrated works: OUR LADY OF THE FLOWERS, THE MIRACLE OF THE ROSE, and THE THIEF'S JOURNAL, all of which were to some extent autobiographical.Read more ›
I remember the first time I saw POISON after it's debut at Sundance in 1991, where it received Best Feature and much controversy. I can understand why some people may find it unsettling (homo-errotic jail scene) which at the time was considered oh so taboo. But, it's much more than a "shocking" scene--it's tender and intense. That kind of situation is what I find the most compelling--something no other film director has the guts to show.
This film is one of my all-time favorites, especially since it gave me new insights into a world I didn't know exsited. No small task!
To begin with, the three stories do not have much to do with each other. Haynes took the three vignettes by Jean Genet and made them into a very experimental and passionate film. Those familiar with some of Haynes' other work (namely "Safe" and "Velvet Goldmine") should not find it difficult to catch common themes found in all of Haynes' movies. Freedom, sexual happiness, and a medium between the extreme and the sterile all pop up in Poison, like they did in the Haynes films which are predecessors to "Poison." The performances are all by no name actors who all give exceptional performances, pulling every ounce of pain and drive out of their characters. The extremity in the movie is hard not to respect because it touches on the issue of society's socalled "Freaks," all of who, we are reminded in "Poison," are simply other PEOPLE, like us. The film certainly works to acheive a point, although that point remains hazy on only one viewing, but what it comes down to is that "Poison" is a film about humanity and the neuroses specific individuals must live through. I commend Haynes incredibly for this film. It's just as good as his others. And that, I feel, is how it is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of these days I'll have the time to look up all the masters theses written about this film by students of queer theory. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kurt Steele
A bit dated but equally disturbing. However, it's interesting to watch this film, directed by Todd Haynes, then to watch the remake of Mildred Pierce.Published 4 months ago by JohnNDFW