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Poison (1991)

A boy shoots his father and flies out the window. A man falls in love with a fellow inmate in prison. A doctor accidentally ingests his experimental sex serum, wrecking havoc on the community.

Director:

Todd Haynes

Writers:

Jean Genet (inspired by the novels of Jean Genet with quotations from "Miracle of the Rose", "Our Lady of the Flowers" and "Thief's Journal"), Todd Haynes

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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edith Meeks Edith Meeks ... Felicia Beacon
Millie White Millie White ... Millie Sklar
Buck Smith Buck Smith ... Gregory Lazar
Anne Giotta Anne Giotta ... Evelyn McAlpert
Lydia Lafleur Lydia Lafleur ... Sylvia Manning
Ian Nemser Ian Nemser ... Sean White
Rob LaBelle ... Jay Wete
Evan Dunsky ... Dr. MacArthur
Marina Lutz Marina Lutz ... Hazel Lamprecht
Barry Cassidy Barry Cassidy ... Officer Rilt
Richard Anthony ... Edward Comacho
Angela M. Schreiber Angela M. Schreiber ... Florence Giddens
Justin Silverstein Justin Silverstein ... Jake
Chris Singh Chris Singh ... Chris
Edward Allen Edward Allen ... Fred Beacon
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality, strong language and sexual violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1991 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Veneno See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$609,524
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Millie Sklar: Richie was a complicated boy. On the one hand, very intelligent. But at the same time... withdrawn. It was really strange though, the amount of animosity that he would induce in the other children out of nowhere.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When first released on video in the US by Fox Lorber, three versions were offered. The director's cut was released as the NC-17 version; an "unrated" version was released which was essentially the same, minus a brief shot of an erect penis sticking out of a man's shorts; and finally an R rated version was sold, one which was cut in several places to placate the MPAA. See more »

Connections

References Un Chant D'Amour (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An intoxicating experience of emotion.
18 July 2005 | by NateManDSee 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.


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