IMDb > Poison (1991)
Poison
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Poison (1991) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
6.6/10   2,028 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Jean Genet (novels)
Todd Haynes (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for Poison on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 August 1991 (Sweden) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of the most unique gay themed films out there See more (22 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Edith Meeks ... Felicia Beacon
Millie White ... Millie Sklar
Buck Smith ... Gregory Lazar
Anne Giotta ... Evelyn McAlpert
Lydia Lafleur ... Sylvia Manning
Ian Nemser ... Sean White

Rob LaBelle ... Jay Wete

Evan Dunsky ... Dr. MacArthur
Marina Lutz ... Hazel Lamprecht
Barry Cassidy ... Officer Rilt
Richard Anthony ... Edward Comacho
Angela M. Schreiber ... Florence Giddens
Justin Silverstein ... Jake
Chris Singh ... Chris
Edward Allen ... Fred Beacon
Carlos Jimenez ... Jose
Larry Maxwell ... Dr. Graves

Susan Norman ... Nancy Olsen (as Susan Gayle Norman)
Al Quagliata ... Deputy Hansen

Michelle Sullivan ... Prostitute
Parlan McGaw ... Newscaster
Frank O'Donnell ... Old Doctor
Melissa Brown ... Woman in the Alley / Additional Voices (voice)
Joe Dietl ... Man in the Alley
Don Damico ... Doctor #1 / Cop #2 / Additional Voices (voice)
Charles Cavalier ... Cop 1
Kyle De Camp ... Neighbor (as Kyle deCamp)
Aimee Scheff ... Neighbor
Jessica ... Nurse
Lorraine Traverson ... Nurse
Phil W. Petrie ... Doctor
John C. Nadeau ... Doctor (as John Nadeau)
James Cagnard ... Bartender
Lauren Zalaznick ... Waitress
Chris Henricks ... Sleazy Man
Leah Mullen ... Little Girl
Elyse Steinberg ... Little Girl
Bruce Cook ... Dr. Strick
Andrew Bishop ... Child's Hands
Tom McCullough ... Townsperson
Chava Tiger ... Townsperson
Jack Tiger ... Townsperson
Frankie Waters ... Townsperson
Richard Hansen ... Narrator (voice)
Joe Glick ... Additional Voices (voice)
Scott Renderer ... John Broom
James Lyons ... Jack Bolton
John R. Lombardi ... Rass

Tony Pemberton ... Young Broom
Andrew Harpending ... Young Bolton
Tony Gigante ... Inspector

Douglas Gibson ... Van Roven

John Leguizamo ... Chanchi (as Damien Garcia)
Les Simpson ... Miss Tim
Joey Grant ... Jamoke
Gary Ray ... Canon / Additional Voices
David Danford ... Basco
Jason Bauer ... Doran
Ken Schatz ... Preacher
Maurice Clapisson ... Guard 1
Matthew Ebert ... Guard 2
Marie-Françoise Vachon ... Foster Mother
Michael Silverman ... Foster Father
Shaun Wilson ... Broom Age 6
Nino Bua ... Fontenal Inmate
Wayne Compton ... Fontenal Inmate
Raymond Dragen ... Fontenal Inmate

John Duffy ... Fontenal Inmate
John McGhee ... Fontenal Inmate
Michael A. Miranda ... Fontenal Inmate (as Michael Miranda)

Anthony J. Ribustello ... Fontenal Inmate
Jonathan Smit ... Fontenal Inmate
Oscar Tevez ... Fontenal Inmate
Gideon Joslyn Brown ... Baton Inmate

John G. Connolly ... Baton Inmate (as John Connolly)
Tom Cross ... Baton Inmate
Eric Cubano ... Baton Inmate
Dani Michaeli ... Baton Inmate
Jim Fletcher ... Additional Voices (voice)
Tom Wayland ... Additional Voices (voice)
Norman Yugutta ... Additional Voices (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Reardon ... Bartender (uncredited)
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Directed by
Todd Haynes 
 
Writing credits
Jean Genet (novels)

Todd Haynes (written by)

Produced by
Brian Greenbaum .... executive producer
James Schamus .... executive producer
Christine Vachon .... producer
Lauren Zalaznick .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
James Bennett 
 
Cinematography by
Maryse Alberti (colour)
 
Film Editing by
Todd Haynes 
James Lyons 
 
Casting by
Karim Ainouz 
Laura Barnett 
Andrew Harpending 
John Michael Kelsey  (as John Kelsey)
 
Production Design by
Sarah Stollman 
 
Art Direction by
Chas Plummer 
 
Costume Design by
Jessica Haston 
 
Makeup Department
Angela Johnson .... hair stylist
Angela Johnson .... makeup artist
Scott Sliger .... effects makeup
 
Production Management
Andy Fair .... unit manager
Lauren Zalaznick .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mark Haffenreffer .... second assistant director
Andrew Harpending .... second assistant director
Christine Vachon .... first assistant director
 
Art Department
Matthew Ebert .... set dresser
John Hansen .... set designer
Kelly Reichardt .... property master
 
Sound Department
Neil Danziger .... sound recordist
Julie Lindner .... assistant sound editor
Mary Ellen Porto .... sound editor
Reilly Steele .... sound mixer
Julie Wilde .... boom operator
 
Visual Effects by
Paul Seidman .... production assistant
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Karim Ainouz .... third electrician
Stephen Earley .... second assistant camera
Russell Lee Fine .... still photographer
Tom Gilmour .... first assistant camera
Sam Henriques .... first assistant camera
Jenny Hwozdek .... best boy
Bethany Jacobson .... still photographer
John C. Nadeau .... gaffer
Dave Samuel .... gaffer
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ivan Flores .... assistant costume designer
Julie Lindner .... wardrobe supervisor
Kelly Reichardt .... key dresser
 
Editorial Department
Karim Ainouz .... supervising assistant editor
Tim Brennan .... negative cutter
Alan Hofmanis .... apprentice editor
Irin Strauss .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Peter Golub .... conductor
 
Other crew
Andy Fair .... location manager
Philip Harrison .... production assistant
John O'Hagan .... intern
Jennifer Opresnick .... script supervisor
Jeffrey Schwarz .... production assistant
Derek Yip .... production assistant (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated NC-17 for explicit sexuality
Runtime:
85 min
Country:
Language:
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
According to James Lyons, on the film's commentary, the film was at one point called "H".See more »
Movie Connections:
References A Song of Love (1950)See more »

FAQ

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
One of the most unique gay themed films out there, 23 January 2011
Author: tonymurphylee from USA

Poison, the first theatrical film of Todd Haynes, is a grotesque, pessimistic, and extremely disturbing picture that is both celebration of misery and cruelty and a reflection of human tenderness and sexual freedom. The film interweaves three very different stories together into one narrative line. The film goes back and forth between each story, and each story is completely different from one another in theme, content, style, musical choice, genre, and tone. One story, titled 'Horror', is shot in the style of a 50s B-horror film and is about a scientist who manages to alienate the human sex drive into a vial of fluid. Unfortunately, he accidentally drinks the fluid and mutates into a blistering pile of pus and proceeds to go on an infectious rampage, spreading his disease to all he comes into contact with. Another story, titled 'Homo', is a sinister, gritty, muddy, and emotionally tender love story set in an underground prison of some kind in which two male prisoners slowly descend into an obsessive and violent S&M relationship. The story contains flashbacks to their traumatic youth. The remaining story, titled 'Hero', is shot in what appears to be a documentary format in which several members of a distraught community are interviewed about a recent bizarre tragedy involving a disturbed family. A little boy named Richard shoots his sexually abusive father and then flies out the window, and the entire incident was witnessed by his mother who considers her son to be an angel sent from God to watch over her.

Poison is a rather strangely enchanting film. One of the most enchanting things about it is that it never quite gives you any time to breathe. From frame one, the film plunges you into a world full of cruelty and chaotic confusion and you're left on your own to pretty much sort through the images. It's all rather elegantly pulled off. Haynes manages to capture a lot of the charm and the overall structure from each film medium his stories represent. With 'Hero' he manages to present that optimistic 50s family sitcom outlook gone slightly wrong found in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. He does this by using a lot of bright colors and simplistic architecture. The effect is unsettling, but it is also strangely hypnotic in it's own weird way. By using mostly mastershots and by allowing a little more time for talking heads, he's able to create a real creepy sense of foreboding fury that fits really well with the other two stories. With 'Homo', he uses a lot of low angles and close-ups. He also uses more natural lighting, at least in the scenes that aren't flashbacks. It's a much more testosterone driven story, and so the dark look really helps to highlight a lot of the sweatier, more vulnerable aspects of the bodies of these characters. This adds a much more psychological aspect of male sexuality to the film that carries over to the other two stories, making 'Hero' seem ever so slightly more perverted to the average viewer and making 'Horror' seem a lot more metaphorical and realistic in some ways. With 'Horror', we get the bleakest and most disturbing tale of the three. In order to create that classic horror movie feel, Todd Haynes uses a lot more fade-outs, more specific music cues, and noticeably melodramatic narration. He allows us to really feel sorry for this disturbed character, and that feeling of uncleanliness pervades the rest of the film as a result.

It seems to me that Haynes wanted to create this film in order to develop an intricate puzzle of how genre pictures can manipulate other genre pictures, the viewing experience of each picture, how watching one sort of theme in one picture can invisibly affect a separate viewing of another picture, and to recreate the style of multiple viewing itself. His personal reasons for making this film, however, seem to be much more complicated. Poison is what I would consider the quintessential gay picture. It has everything I love and hate about most gay themed films (the depressing endings, the perverted camera-work, the abundant strange behavior, the gratuitous sex), but it's self-awareness is so fun to watch that it rises above all the schlock and finds it's own path toward narrative freedom.

Above all, Poison is a masterpiece. Along with In a Glass Cage, If...., My Own Private Idaho, Mysterious Skin, and the films of Derek Jarman, it's one of the more challenging gay themed films that you're likely to see. Even if the subject matter disturbs you, there is still so much to digest in terms of imagery and in the wonderful music score. Even if you put aside all that, however, you still have one of the most unusual storytelling structures you will likely see for this kind of film. You can spend the entire film just studying the structure and you will learn so much about scene and theme composition. Even putting aside THAT, however, the ambition of the film is enough to admire. I find that there is way too much going on here that can simply be written off. The things I've noticed upon re-watching this film have chilled me to the bone, and watching it only makes me want to watch it again. It's one of those films that really hit the right notes with me. I will admit that the first time I watched it I couldn't quite comprehend it. It is a dizzying film in that sense, and I don't expect most viewers to digest a lot of the imagery on their first viewing. However, it's a film that I think really says a lot about human progress in terms of sex, imagination, violence, and physical desire. It's a powerful film with a lot of quiet emotion with an ending that left me feeling very polarized. Watching it once is simply not enough.

*to read more, go to cuddercityfilmchronicles.blogspot.com*

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