Poison

Poison

4.0 1
Director: Todd Haynes

Cast: Larry Maxwell, Edith Meeks, Susan Norman

     
 

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This film has become infamous thanks to the efforts of the Rev. Donald Wildmon, who publicly questioned the fact that NEA dollars were spent on this "filth." While Wildmon's point was certainly overstated, this debut feature from Todd Haynes is quite disturbing. The Poison in question is sex, and its toxic effects are explored in three segments which have been

Overview

This film has become infamous thanks to the efforts of the Rev. Donald Wildmon, who publicly questioned the fact that NEA dollars were spent on this "filth." While Wildmon's point was certainly overstated, this debut feature from Todd Haynes is quite disturbing. The Poison in question is sex, and its toxic effects are explored in three segments which have been shuffled together like a deck of cards. "Hero" is a pseudo-documentary about a seven-year-old boy who shoots his father and then ascends into the sky. "Horror" is a mad-scientist story filmed like a Roger Corman "B"-movie. The scientist in question has managed to distill the essence of the human sex drive into a test tube. When he inadvertently drinks it, he turns into a leprous monster, terrorizing the city. "Homo" is a gay love story set in a prison. All three segments are based on the writings of Jean Genet.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
This arresting feature debut from the always interesting Todd Haynes explores human differences and alienation in the form of three seamlessly interweaved storylines. As in Dottie Gets Spanked and Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Haynes draws from familiar cinematic genres and devices to tell his distinct and bizarre tales. Genuinely subversive, even if its parts are sometimes greater than the whole, this film feels like the truest form of independent cinema -- endlessly inventive despite its low budget. Based in part on the writings of Jean Genet, the film is at times peculiar and difficult to follow, but worth sticking with, if only for its striking originality. Poison was partly funded by the NEA, a fact that stirred up controversy when the film was eventually released with an NC-17 rating due to a shot of an erect penis. Many have speculated that it was the film's gay context -- not just one "obscene" shot -- that was under attack by anti-NEA forces.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2011
UPC:
0795975113533
Original Release:
1991
Source:
Zeitgeist Films
Time:
1:25:00
Sales rank:
36,312

Special Features

Sundance Film Festival Q&A with Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and executive producer James Schamus, for the 20the anniversary of the film's Grand Jury Prize; Archival 1999 audio commentary by Haynes, Vachon, and star/editor James Lyons; Original poster concepts and collages by Haynes; Behind-th-scenes polaroids by Kelly Reichardt (director of Meek's Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy); Last Address, a 2010 short film by Ira Sachs (director of Married Life); Original 1991 U.S. theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Larry Maxwell Dr. Graves
Edith Meeks Felicia Beacon
Susan Norman Nancy Olsen
Millie White Millie Sklar
Scott Renderer John Broom
Buck Smith Gregory Lazar
James Lyons Jack Bolton
Al Quagliata Dep. Hansen
Michelle Sullivan Prostitute
John R. Lombardi Rass
Tony Pemberton Young Broom
Andrew Harpending Young Bolton
Edward Allen Fred Beacon
Nino Bau Fontenal Inmate
Charles Cavalier 1st Cop
Bruce R. Cook Dr. Stick
Kyle de Camp Neighbor
Jessica Nurse
Carlos Jimenez Jose
Parlan McGaw Newscaster
John Nadeau Doctor
Elyse Steinberg Little Girl
Chava Tiger Townsperson
Marie-Francoise Vachon Foster Mother
Anne Giotta Evelyn McAlpert
Lydia Lafleur Sylvia Manning
Ian Nemser Sean White
Rob La Belle Jay Wete
Evan Dunsky Dr. MacArthur
Marina Lutz Hazel Lamprecht
Barry Cassidy Officer Rilt
Richard Anthony Edward Comacho
Angela Schreiber Florence Giddons
Justin Silverstein Jake
Chris Singh Chris
Frank O'Donnell Old Doctor
Joe Dietl Woman in the Alley
Don Damico 1st Doctor,2nd Cop
Aimee Scheff Neighbor
Lorraine Traverson Nurse
Phil W. Petrie Doctor
Jim Cagnard Bartender
Lauren Zalaznick Waitress
Chris Henricks Sleazy Man
Leah Mullen Little Girl
Andrew Bishop Child's Hands
Tom McCullough Townsperson
Richard Hansen Narration
Tony Gigante Inspector
Douglas F. Gibson Van Roven
Damien Garcia Chanci
Les Simpson Miss Tim
Joey Grant Jamoke
Gary Ray Canon
David Danford Basco
Jason Bauer Doran
Ken Schatz Preacher
Maurice Clapisson 1st Guard
Michael Silverman Foster Father
Shawn Wilson Broom-Age 6
Wayne Compton Fontenal Inmate
Raymond Dragen Fontenal Inmate
John Duffy Fontenal Inmate
John McGhee Fontenal Inmate
Anthony Rubustillo Fontenal Inmate
Jonathan Smit Fontenal Inmate
Oscar Tevez Fontenal Inmate
Gideon Joslyn Brown Baton Inmate
John P. Connolly Baton Inmate
Eric Cubano Baton Inmate
Dani Michaeli Baton Inmate
Matt Ebert Guard 2
Michael A. Miranda Fontenal Inmate

Technical Credits
Todd Haynes Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Maryse Alberti Cinematographer
James Bennett Score Composer
Barry Ellsworth Cinematographer
Jean Genet Original Story
Brian Greenbaum Producer
John Hansen Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Jessica Haston Costumes/Costume Designer
James Lyons Editor
Chas Plummer Art Director
James Schamus Producer
Sarah Stollman Production Designer
Denny Vachlioti Producer
Christine Vachon Producer
Lauren Zalaznick Associate Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Poison
1. "The Whole World is Dying of Panicky Fright" [5:30]
2. Homo [3:08]
3. Horror [5:06]
4. Hero [5:36]
5. "Love Comes Slyly Like a Thief" [10:36]
6. Scarred Souls [12:31]
7. "My Heart is Caught" [8:52]
8. The Infected [6:54]
9. Angel of Judgment [2:13]
10. Stolen Glances [4:22]
11. "Dreaming is Nursed in Darkness" [10:18]
12. End Credits [7:15]

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Poison 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't know exactly what to say. Know that I tried to read Gene Genet and always will check out a Haynes film from now on. The first 2 episodes I admit I've forgotten. 'Homo', in addition to its shocking humor, struck me vividly in presentation. The possibly artificial background of rocky landscape eerily reminded me of those simple religious frescoes, where the figures are larger than their bleak, simple medirranean landscape. Call me crazy. Maybe you'll call Haynes crazy.