Lucifer Valentine takes quite a bit of pride in having invented a new subgenre - vomit gore. It's undeniably unique, but in saying that I'm reminded of a quote David St Hubbins once made about Nigel Tufnel - "Nobody else plays quite like him. Nobody even tries." That certainly rings true here. The main problem with Valentine's films is that he takes an interesting premise - witnessing the internal visions of a woman during the moments of brain death following suicide - and merely uses it as an excuse to splatter his fetishes across the screen.
So the vomit gore trilogy finally reaches its long-awaited (or maybe not) conclusion and, as I see it, there are 3 options as to how this could play out: 1. The hallucinogenic qualities could be amped up to create an Eraserhead style nightmare. 2. The puking could be pushed to inhuman levels, soaking the screen in a non-stop barfing frenzy. 3. It could be the exact same thing as the other films, with a different title.
Sadly, it takes the third option, although it does head off in a slightly different, darker direction.
The film starts with a spoken disclaimer from star Hope Likens that she agreed to be involved, was informed of the content, signed daily contracts and was given a safe word to be used at any time. Is this just a cheap shock tactic? Sure it is! But hey, when the movie's called Slow Torture Puke Chamber, complaining about cheap shocks seems a little silly. So the curtain rises and immediately cue scenes of Likens being slapped, beaten, choked with a belt, etc. - all very real. Nothing you wouldn't see in your average Max Hardcore flick but still pretty nasty. What follows is a fair chunk of the usual Lucifer Valentine fare - puking blood into shot glasses and then downing them one by one; masturbating with crucifixes and hurling onto Jesus; bloody tampons; pig masks; and of course lots of pissing and blowing chunks.
What sets it apart though is the confessions of self-loathing from the actresses and an even greater focus on degradation than usual. It all culminates in a 20 minute finale involving a pregnant woman, a big knife, a blender and a puking machine named Hank Skinny, that is by far the nastiest set-piece. Sure, it's got plenty of puke and gore, but it's the implications behind what we're seeing that make for a much more pernicious beast - this is the pornography of abuse and there's something quite evil about it. Any sense of enjoyment that might be had from vomit gore leaves the room, making way for something considerably more unnerving.
Certainly gender politics come into play here. A woman pissing on her own face is automatically assumed to be fetishistic porn, whereas a guy pissing on his own face could be put in the new Jackass movie and play in mainstream theatres around the world. But still it's hard to watch the debasement on display here and not think that these women are broken goods. When Hope Likens breaks down on-camera while talking about her childhood sexual experiences with her father, it feels uncomfortably real. If it's not, then she's quite an actress. Either way, I'm not the judgemental type. I'm sure starring in a puke flick is just as cathartic and no less degrading than paying some therapist 100 bucks an hour to pretend to care about your problems. So I say, you go girls! Get them clothes off and puke your guts out to your heart's content. As long as all the barf stays on that side of the screen, then these freaky chicks are alright in my book.
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