THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK

THE SEVERED HEAD NETWORK

The best of Volumes 1 and 2 (previously released on VHS in the US).

Hmmm. If you're familiar with names such as Eric Stanze, Jeremy Wallace, Jason Christ and the late Tommy Biondo (which I assume most SGM visitors are) then you'll have a fair idea what to expect

For the uninitiated, herein lies a collection of short films from a collective of the most uncompromising and unapologetic film-makers working in America today. The New Wave of the Cinema Of Transgression, if you will.

Which means what, precisely?

Well, it means you can expect a whole of heap of soft porn in Biondo's SATISFACTION, as he and his girlfriend get fiendish in several positions before she reprimands him for raping her by garrotting him. Whilst copulating! Biondo is, of course, best known for his unflinching portrayal of sex killer Leonard in the awesome SCRAPBOOK.

You can anticipate Chad Elvins' VOMIRE - which starts beautifully in deep contrasting black-and-white, before bombarding us with the catchy subtitle "How my cunt discharged your morals and started believing in unicorns". Grotesque scenes of slaughterhouse footage and blood-drenched sex ensue. Thrown into the mix are various religious motifs (in case we miss the point). The whole thing teeters between crass pretension and satisfyingly repulsive art. You decide!

FAITH IN NOTHING (directed by Eric Stanze - SCRAPBOOK; SAVAGE HARVEST; ICE FROM THE SUN) is a duff music clip that basically shows a woman stripping on a bed, getting fresh with herself. Cool, if you happen to be 14.

UNWANTED (by Todd Telvin) is better. Marginally. Another music clip, but set to high-octane video editing and lots of graveyards/strangling/gunfire. Not bad for 4 minutes of disposable fun.

Jason Christ's VICTIM is a very polished black-and-white affair. It looks great, but at 5 minutes in length fails to reach it's true potential. Intriguing though and it looks like it would make a fantastic feature film.

SEDGEWICK starts well but quickly degenerates after it's animated titles and outstays it's 21 minute running time.

LIONTOWN is a 10 minute "musical" that demands to be seen at least once. Come on, I need to converse with SOMEONE about how bad it is!!! But in a curiously affable way

CURVEBALL: PILE OF JUNK is another offering from Jason Christ. A music video that entails a heavy metal band performing 'live' on a building site, alongside shaky shots of a bald headed bloke (Eric Stanze) driven to distraction by the shit on his TV (I know the feeling). Unfortunately all this angst and testosterone leads to nothing much.

The disc here is a good one. Considering the various low budget mediums applied for these shorts, you'll find that the picture quality is generally superb and mono (2.0) audio is reliable throughout.

Extras include the original Titles Sequences from the VHS volumes 1 & 2 (both of which Stanze had a hand in). The first is basically a naked woman writhing around in chains for 5 minutes - no, I'm not complaining - whereas the second one sees a loved-up couple being all prissy, interspersed with scenes of the female's disembodied head bouncing around a white room!

You also get a couple of Behind The Scenes featurettes (brief) and a stills gallery.

Oh, let's not forget trailers for SCRAPBOOK, ICE FROM THE SUN, SAVAGE HARVEST and CHINA WHITE SERPENTINE.

The menu pages are attractive (it's quite novel how the options on each screen are invisible until you actually manipulate your remote control to hover over them!).

One thing's for certain - this is strong stuff and will not appeal to all sensibilities. I commend the directors and (especially) actors involved for being so bold.

Do you want to be offended? Do you want to be challenged? Are you open-minded enough to take on these (mostly 8mm/16mm) movie shorts?

Go on you'll feel better for it. A worthy addition to the realm of objectionable material on DVD, and in lieu of BFI releasing their classic CINEMA OF TRANSGRESSION package on digital format, this must be considered the ultimate substitute.

For ordering details visit the Wicked Pixel site by clicking here.

Review by Stu Willis


 
Released by Wicked Pixel
Region 1 NTSC
Not Rated
Extras : see main review
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