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Poison (1991)

Three stories, each in a different genre, articulate Todd Haynes' idea of a queer cinema.

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(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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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
Ian Nemser ... 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 ... Jake
Chris Singh ... Chris
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>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

16 August 1991 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Veneno  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$609,524
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The text at the beginning reads: "The whole world is dying of panicky fright." See more »

Quotes

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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Killing Floor (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Not just a "queer" film.
9 July 2002 | by See all my reviews

After reading a bit about Todd Haynes' "Poison" and the homosexual comparisons that people seem to only be drawing from it, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't deserve to just be tagged as a seminal film of the "new queer cinema". It's so much more than that.

First of all, I found "Homo" to be the least intriguing of the 3 stories. "Hero" is actually more disturbing, showing the sudden disappearance of a mentally-inflicted, patricidal child who, according to his mother, was sent from the angels. I was particularly impressed by Haynes' creative use of layering in the adultery and spanking scenes.

But, in blending three prominent aspects (color, black and white, documentary) of the film medium into his film, the beautiful b&w "Horror" is the most notable, showing the sudden downfall of a scientist's prosperity. Haynes conveys the scientist's hysteria to his audience by using slanted, extreme close-up camera techniques and spastic editing, not to mention a haunting soundtrack.

The film is a bizarre one, indeed... but undeniably artful, and it certainly doesn't deserve to simply be pigeonholed into nothing more than a cornerstone for homosexual cinema.


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