Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
"Trouble in Mind" is one of those movies that only reveals its greatness about the third time you see it; a wealth of details which, on first viewing, strike the perceptive viewer as scatterbrained or irrelevant, unfold on closer inspection into a rich, lushly imagined fantasy world, and dialogue which at first sounds precious or forced becomes endlessly quotable. It's hard to be an Alan Rudolph "fan," as his work is decidedly uneven; but on this picture, which followed the critical and commercial success of "Choose Me," he is at the peak of his powers. And, if none of this convinces you, you should check this one out for the performances, not least among which is Divine's startling turn as coldblooded (male) gangster Hilly Blue (worthy of awards, in a better world than this).
According to the box (and as an aside - God bless Something Weird Video!), this feature is cobbled together from material censored out of Marins' earlier "Coffin Joe" films. Though there are plenty of topless girls, and a good bit of torture and mayhem as well, the content of this movie seems to indicate that the censors in question (Brazilian?) had more serious issues with intense hallucination sequences. The handful of scenes which comprise the framing device, some mumbling business about a psychotic guy and the people trying to cure him, are certainly inept and boring enough, but this is actually a relief, because the hallucinations are pretty overwhelming, and you'll be happy for opportunities to catch your breath. An endless barrage of utterly grotesque and disjointed imagery, much of which seems to be intended as literal hellscapes, is liberally flavored with nude women, partially obscured by psychedelic lighting and editing effects, and staged on sets which must be seen to be believed (parts of actors' bodies are often built into the backdrop). It's easier to compare this to other movies than it is to describe it; if you can imagine Kenneth Anger's Satan movies, interspersed with gore scenes from H.G. Lewis, and rationalized by the further insertion of pieces of a fifties health class film on mental hygiene, you're on the right track; and, not to be snotty, but if you can't imagine that, you might not be ready to watch this one. If one can judge by this film alone (as, unfortunately, I must, though that won't be the case for long), Marins' big influences are Jung, Bosch, and E.C. Comics, which places this picture in heavy company by virtue of its aspirations alone, despite its technical shortcomings. (Not to mention that its very incoherency makes this movie a more accurate picture of some forms of schizophrenia than many more "serious" films which address the same subject.)
This is a pleasantly dated picture, the story of a womanizing linguist who is hired to sort through an old widow's sexual biography (written by her late husband) and gets tangled up with his employer's mysterious beautiful daughter and her lover. Very Italian, slightly Gothic, slightly mod, and erotic enough (for its time), this is a slow but pretty movie, which is also pretty satisfying, all things considered.
Perhaps it's a matter of personal taste, or the lack thereof; I love Jean Rollin movies, and this Rollin film in particular I've seen several times. Of all the European erotic horror of the sixties and seventies, Rollin's movies most effectively maintain a certain morbid psychedelic vibe, a genuinely Gothic atmosphere, which most of his peers' work only captures fitfully, at best. "Shiver of the Vampires" was the movie that firmly established my fondness for this entire genre; and if it sounds interesting to you, do yourself a favor and seek it out, especially the Redemption DVD, which is gorgeously mastered from (according to the liner notes) the director's own print.
Among the lesser known Poe stories, a personal favorite, for me, has always been "The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather," which uses role reversals in a country asylum as a leaping-off point for pseudo-comedic, proto-surreal flights of fancy. This film adaptation uses a more-or-less faithful adaptation as the framework for Eurotrash erotic horror, with results that come off like what you might get if someone like Rollin or Franco directed "King of Hearts." Within these parameters, this movie is perfectly self-assured, and if it sounds like something you might be interested in seeing, you are, and you'll love it.
This is almost a typical castle Gothic, distinguished by an extraordinarily beautiful handful of locations and actresses, weak filmmaking from a terrible script, and a distressing, lascivious fascination with rape imagery, which, I guess, was a couple of years ahead of its time. It also features extensive real open-heart surgery (intercut with a sex scene, no less!), which is probably the most interesting thing about an otherwise dull and unrewarding picture. Unless you're heavy into this subgenre, don't bother.