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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 2,268 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?


According to James Lyons, on the film's commentary, the film was at one point called "H". 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 »


Referenced in The Killing Floor (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

I'd rather drink a cup of poison
21 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The art-house buffs may appraise this film, but to me it's a load of gibberish. I saw Todd Haynes' first film, a short called "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story." Despite the fact that it was performed by Barbie dolls (no, I'm not joking or overstating), it's 10 times better than this trash. At least that movie had creativity.

From a technical standpoint, the film isn't bad. "Poison" is well-acted and the cinematography is pretty good, except for the prison sequences. I'm sure the dim lighting was an aesthetic decision, but the images in those sequences were barely visible. The script is an incoherent mess. The way the stories intersect is all over the map, unlike the slick way it was done in movies like "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs." Many were bothered by the film's overt depiction of homosexual themes (Haynes being gay himself). That didn't bother me. "Poison" is self-indulgent, disgusting, appalling and an overall nightmare to sit through. Whether the director was gay or straight doesn't matter. It's still a mess. I'll never understand why this movie won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

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

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