Writer/director Lucifer Valentine's film follows the exploits of young runaway Angela (Ameara LaVey), who dances at a strip bar and prostitutes herself to it's sleazy clientele to help pay for the run-down hotel rooms she lives in.

The film is almost documentary-style for the most part, with Angela addressing the camera frequently and giving us (her unseen Johns) insights into her fragile mental state: "I don't know what's left of me but you can fuck it if you want", and so on.

Angela is frequently naked, writhing around in a weak, pathetic state. Occasionally we'll get a glimspe of a client - a hand wrapped around her throat as she's being screwed, for example - but for the majority of the time it is just us, looking on uncomfortably as this teenage hooker literally falls apart before our eyes.

Angela, you see, is haunted by home movies from her childhood, where she is captured on screen filled with a lust for life, and speaking of her aspirations to make it on TV and in Hollywood when she grows up.

Unfortunately, the path Angela chose has lead her to living in cheap hotel rooms screwing strangers, and forcing herself to vomit. Angela is bulimic.

Early on in the film, Angela pledges herself to the willings of Satan. Or does she? As she is the sole person on screen for most of the film, her actions and words seem more hallucinatory than real.

But it this belief that she is commanded by a dark force, and her mental breakdown provoked by her desperate unhappiness and physical disintergration, that draw some compellingly nasty nightmares from Angela.

In the first such episode, a rival hooker is tied to a chair. Her eyes are carved out in an unflinchingly brutal - and surprisingly well executed - fashion, in a scene which seems to go on forever. As this ultra-gory scene appears to be drawing to it's eventual end, Valentine pushes it even further.

The woman, named "Pig" (Pig Lizzy), is untied and forces herself to vomit onto a glass table. You can guess where Valentine's camera is positioned.

More hallucinations ensue at regular intervals, involving bloody dismemberments, a cranial sawing, and some of the most unrelenting barfing scenes ever captured on film. I mean, what have these people been eating to produce such volumous vomit?!

SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS is almost impossible to assess. On the one hand, it's a well-shot, interestingly edited docu-drama with artistic flourishes and an engagingly candid (if tragic) performance from LaVey.

On the other hand, the regular forays into excessive bloodletting and forced vomitting are sure to alienate the arthouse crowd a sanitised version of this film would surely appeal to.

The film's erratic, frequent jump-editing may irritate some (it's similar to the Aussie flick KISS OR KILL, in a way) but I appreciated it as a different look - and it helped the docu-style approach that Valentine took.

Inevitably, the extreme content will no doubt mean this film will be lumped in with stuff like AUGUST UNDERGROUND MORDUM - but it's a different beast and I suspect Valentine has a bit more to offer on more levels.

Hmm. That last comment may perhaps be hard to justify when I recall the scene where a man called Hank Skinny scoops a pile of brains out of a man's head, eats them, spews them into a cup, drinks his own sick, then vomits again ...!!

The film looks good here in it's original full-frame ratio. Filmed on what looks like 16mm, the picture is clear, sharp and free from grain. The 2.0 English audio is equally impressive.

Extras include two audio commentaries. The first, by Valentine and producer No One Body, is enjoyable enough. Valentine seems more serious about his intent to show the fragile, complex mental state of a bulimic than some of the film's more exploitative moments would suggest. No One Body comes across as more laddish, with comments like "Ameara looks sexy as fuck" ...

The second commentary is Valentine in conversation with Ameara, a sometime "adult movie actress". Valentine is less absorbed in the theme of the film here, and thus more scene-specific. It also transpires that he is a vomit fetishist (we never would have guessed!), with Ameara saying she's never met anyone who loves puke as much as him.

A 20 minute "Making Of" featurette sees Valentine speaking in a Satanic voice (he also takes this persona on about halfway through the first commentary, to illustrate the point in the film where Angela becomes convinced she has sold her soul to the devil). Ameara seems to enjoy her role and it's comforting to hear Valentine ensure that she's physically well between takes.

Two trailers for SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS are featured (gory, but nothing compared to the main feature). There's aslo a teaser trailer for REGOREGITATED SACRIFICE - the forthcoming second instalment in Valentine's "Vomit Gore" trilogy.

An image gallery concludes the disc's extra features, but there's also links to Online material such as reviews, deleted scenes and film news.

The packaging for this release is quite nice. The disc is housed in a fold-out digipack, with an additional card slipcase for added security. Inside you'll find a large fold-out poster, a sticker and a copy of the director's pact with Satan. No, really.

As dark, nasty, gory and sick (sic) as they come, SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS is also better acted, better shot, and graced with much better FX work than you'd expect. I went into this expecting a juvenile college film with crappy FX work and dumb young women spewing for giggling jocks. What I came away with was a sense of art Richard Kern-style, and a genuinely dark gorefest with the power to stay in the mind afterwards.

Whether or not that's enough to make you want to take a chance on it though, is a different matter altogether!

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Review by Stu Willis

Released by Kingdom of Hell
Region All NTSC
Not Rated
Extras : see main review