Poison (1991)

NC-17  |   |  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  16 August 1991 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,307 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 33 critic

Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what ... See full summary »



(inspired by the novels of Jean Genet with quotations from "Miracle of the Rose", "Our Lady of the Flowers" and "Thief's Journal"),
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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edith Meeks ...
Felicia Beacon
Millie White ...
Millie Sklar
Buck Smith ...
Gregory Lazar
Anne Giotta ...
Evelyn McAlpert
Lydia Lafleur ...
Sylvia Manning
Sean White
Jay Wete
Dr. MacArthur
Marina Lutz ...
Hazel Lamprecht
Barry Cassidy ...
Officer Rilt
Richard Anthony ...
Edward Comacho
Angela M. Schreiber ...
Florence Giddens
Justin Silverstein ...
Chris Singh ...
Edward Allen ...
Fred Beacon


Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what Richie was like and what led up to the shooting. In the black and white "Horror," a scientist isolates the elixir of human sexuality, drinks it, and becomes a festering, contagious murderer; a female colleague who loves him tries to help, to her peril. In "Homo," a prisoner in Fontenal prison is drawn to an inmate whom he knew some years before, at Baton juvenile institute, and whose humiliations he witnessed. This story is told in dim light, except for the bright flashbacks. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for explicit sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 August 1991 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Veneno  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$250,000 (estimated)


$609,524 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of James Lyons. This also marked his first film as a film editor. See more »


John Broom: [V.O] Prison was not new to me. I'd lived in them all my life. In submitting to prison life, embracing it... I could reject the world that had rejected me.
See more »


Featured in Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

profound and provocative
6 August 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Despite this film receiving a lot of negative feed back from a lot of its viewers, I think the film is a truly provocative experience. Granted this film is definitely not everyones cup of tea to say the least, but it operates beyond entertainment. It is not there to be liked or disliked, it is there to be analysed and that is where the enjoyment comes into play.

The film is constructed of 3 stories; the homo, the horror and the hero. Spread out over three different time periods. If any one is thinking The Hours or 21grams think again, its not. This is a much slower paced film and for want of a better word, 'duller' than the two previously mentioned films.

Upon first viewing of the film, it appears that the three characters share no apparent link. However, each story acts as a metaphor for a wider issue, which does connect them all. I wont say what it is, thats your job! Overall poison is a very clever work of art, which belongs to the sub genres of expose and art-house. So if you enjoy those types of films and are interested in queer cinema go watch it! Finally I think Todd Haynes is a genius, a true auteur.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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