Hanging Heart (1989) Poster


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Obscure thriller with plenty of homoerotic imagery.
HumanoidOfFlesh6 December 2014
"Hanging Heart" is an odd little slasher flick which to my knowledge was never released in US on VHS.Denny is an aspiring theatre actor.The girls he knows romantically are being murdered one by one by a hooded killer.Of course Denny becomes the main suspect and is arrested and thrown in jail.His homosexual lawyer tries to help Denny because he loves him.Who is the killer?"Hanging Heart" by Jimmy Lee was actually released in Poland on VHS.The plot is very disjointed and there are only three killings in "Hanging Heart" including two stocking stranglings and one shooting execution style.The copious amount of homoerotic imagery is quite surprising as is rather negative and obnoxious portrayal of gay men.The film is also quite dull and too long.Still if you like obscure slasher flicks you can watch in on Youtube.6 stockings out of 10.
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Fairly slick low-budget, gay-themed psychological thriller
drownsoda9012 March 2023
"Hanging Heart" focuses on Denny, a stage actor in Los Angeles who is pinned for the strangling murder of his girlfriend. A series of similar killings within his theater troupe follows in its wake, and a gay attorney (who acts as his benefactor, as well as being romantically obsessed with him) attempts to help him.

This ultra-obscure 1989 effort (IMDb erroneously lists it as a 1983 film at the time of my writing this) was written and directed by Korean filmmaker Jimmy Lee, and boasts enough surreal visuals to please fans of weird cinema, as well as plenty of strapping shirtless men and male homosexuality to appease any self-respecting gay man. The film never had a proper release outside of Europe until it was brought to Blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome in 2022.

While the film's oblique origins may lead one to have assumptions about its quality, "Hanging Heart" is actually slickly-made for a low-budget effort, and has a somewhat sophisticated visual style, while its plot is very giallo-esque. The core mystery here is easy to unravel from quite early on, but the visual elements and twisting plot manage to keep you relatively engaged despite some circuitous court room sequences.

The film is riddled with homoerotic imagery as well as frank depictions of sexual repression and male homosexuality, which was unusual for the time. It goes without saying that Lee must have been heavily inspired by Paul Verhoeven, as there are sequences in the film that are flagrantly based on key moments in "The Fourth Man" (1983). The acting here is decent for a low-budget horror film, with Barry Wyatt playing the sexually-troubled lead; Wyatt spends what seems like half of the film shirtless, furthering its overall gay appeal. There is also some great cinematography that acts as a time capsule of late-eighties Los Angeles, with many street scenes and photography of the city, including shots of the cityscape and historic landmarks like the Chateau Marmont.

While the film does suffer from some lack of connective tissue at times, the core themes here are still clearly stated. As a thriller, it is only marginally effective, but its melding of the giallo/slasher film with prominent homosexual themes renders it certainly strange enough to stand out among its peers. Overall a well-made (albeit fairly predictable) low-budget psychothriller, with plenty of male eye candy if that's your cup of tea. 7/10.
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