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Poison (1991)

NC-17  |   |  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  16 August 1991 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,267 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 31 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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Title: Poison (1991)

Poison (1991) on IMDb 6.5/10

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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 <>

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
See  »

Did You Know?


This was not the first or last feature film featuring intercut episodes set at different times in history. D.W. Griffith Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916), The Fountain (2006) by Darren Aronofsky and _Cloud Atlas (2014) by Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer feature multiple intercut episodes set at different times, too. 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.
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User Reviews

An intoxicating experience of emotion.
18 July 2005 | by (Bloomsburg PA) – See all my reviews

Todd Haynes became well known with his film "Poison", which was successful at the Sundance film festival. What I like about "Poison" is that is not another stereotypical gay film. It contains three separate stories, all shown out of sequence. So it's like watching three bizarre surrealist films within one movie. One story "Hero" is a mockumentary which deals with a young boy and his abusive father. After killing his dad, he mysteriously flies away. Another story deals with a disease like epidemic, which seems to be symbolic of aids. This part is filmed in a style of a campy 50's sci-fi film. The man drinks some sort of potion and is given the disease. A colleague still loves him even though he's infected. Then the last story "Homo" deals with two men in prison and their homosexual relationship. These two guys have known each other from their youth and the one has flashbacks of the torment he has faced. "Poison" is a unique experimental masterpiece of queer cinema, reminiscent of Derek Jarmon. The film went through much controversy with its NC-17 rating. But really, there's R-rated films which are much worse. "Poison" is definitely not a film for everyone, but if your looking for something strange and different you'll probably enjoy it.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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