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Dark Side of the Womb, The Print E-mail
User Rating: / 9
Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Severed Cinema Review of The Dark Side of the Womb

Directed by: Sam Salerno
Written by: Sam Salerno
Produced by: David Moneymaker, Sam Salerno
Cinematography by: Adrian Hernandez
Special Effects by: Sam Salerno, Sabrina Silva
Editing by: Sam Salerno
Music by: Paul Salerno
Cast: Matt McCarthy/aka Wee Matt, Fay Lytle, Art Roberts, Josh Connor, Stephen McAlpin, Aaron Berjohn, Finlay Polynice, Dean Milos, Sam Salerno, Mickey Faerch.
Year: 2017
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 21min

Official Website:

From early cinema, dwarves and midgets have been associated with the macabre and the odd, aside from exceptions such as Tod Browning's incredible classic, Freaks, and the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, amongst a few others -- especially, Time Bandits. Only in the last decade has the veil truly lifted. It's human instinct to be repelled by the sideshow players, and to cringe upon sight, or laugh. For those people who look beyond the framework, there will lay depth.

Then we have to look at the fact that it seems many dream of running away with a circus or carnival, discovering a family and see the world. However, dwarves and midgets usually have to be the focus of the unusual. Thus we arrive at, The Dark Side of the Womb wherein a dwarf takes centre stage.

Opening the doors on a cheap birth sequence (dolls and a set of curtains), two babies come into the world. One is perfect, the second is malnourished. “Great! Small, weak, and just barely scraping by.” snarls the Mother. Baby one's father is a war hero, baby two, the offspring of a one night stand. It could happen! The Mother coos her first-born, proud when hearing that one twin basically takes the majority of nutrients. “My winner!” The midwife frowns at this. Ending this introductory segment with a lullaby, we are propelled thirty-years after the births.

Mrs. Waend's champion son, Justin, is leaving for a little while. Then in walks, Ed, “Hey, Mom, check it out!” he yells like a B-Boy with his baseball cap and neck tattoo. He's a dwarf. “I drew a big ol' picture!”

“Hey, Mom, you need any help?” he asks after Justin departs. “It's okay, Ed.” she says, “You don't have to pretend you're useful.” Meanwhile, on his strolls in fields, Justin comes across circus folk who film him and wave red noses on their fingers. Creepily smiling and tying balloons to him (plus a headcam), Justin is bewildered. Why he lets the fella shove a red nose in his mouth without protest is beyond me. They continue forth to hack off his hands which float away on balloons. Then his head. Yep, this is a randomly silly film.

The sheriff brings Justin's head in a box to his Mother’s door -- which always happens. To view this movie, simply follow these instructions: 1.) Close off reality 2.) Also close off any sense whatsoever 3.) Grab alcohol and some like-minded friends or family 4.) Just fucking enjoy it for what it is!

Ed tries to get close to his Mother, but she explains that when he was born, it was said he would maybe last a year. But he has kept going, and going. She tells him that everybody she loves is dead now. “I may have birthed you. You're no son of mine!” It doesn't faze him, having suffered many years of similar abuse and rejection.

Next we have another cheap birth sequence with a prat called, Dr. Hook. I don't really want to say anything else about this character because, though Severed Cinema has its fair share of foul language, I may break the internet using a tirade of certain words. So, like an old WWE wrestling storyline, or an unused idea by Weird Al, this Mom gives birth to a head. The young father, Jesse, faints and cracks his skull like an egg. Our Dr. Hook knows of a geeza who specialises in bizarre limb transplants. Thus the new-born head is plopped onto the ailing patient, whilst his memories are stored on a battered hard drive. Indeed.

His girlfriend, Linda, meets Ed at a doctors. He is sat cradling a box filled with his brother's limbs. The plan is to have them stitched to him so he can be tall. Linda takes an interest in Ed. She gives him a pep talk as to how beautiful he is without his planned surgery, then gives him her number. Linda explains how her baby turned out to be an inanimate human head, because the doctor messed up. After the transplant Linda was told she'd never have another baby. Meanwhile, Jesse is acting different and she's worried he may hurt somebody. She has left him since.

Our two psychotic clowns have a falling out over the slaughter of a child, which results in the death of one. Now a solo act, Booger the Clown, is obviously the far more unbalanced in a Maniac-influenced scene. It is quite brilliant. Additionally, there is a photo of Linda on a mannequin. As he rips off his disguise and records his confessional, we find out it is Jesse. His face is permanently stuck as a grin, via Mr. Sardonicus.

“There's one thing I've learnt in life,” Linda tells Ed as they meet up for a date (in somebody's house it appears!!!), “I don't want to play by anyone’s rules but my own.” and then she pulls a cigarette from her mouth when ordered to by the cafι owner. “Sorry.” Ed tells her how dark his mind has been recently, yet the moment he looked into her eyes, he felt something he hadn't felt before. He knew then they would be wonderful friends. Linda still has some feelings for Jesse, but his face is the face of the child they will never have. Aware of everyone staring at them, Ed feels they shouldn't happen, so he walks away. Returning home, he finds another tragedy waiting for him.

He heads over to Linda's home, unaware that Jesse, in full Booger mode, is leering through the windows. Ed is over the moon when she states they should get married. “Hell, yeah!” They get married and live the good life. One day, a man called George turns up saying he can mow their lawn cheaper than anybody else. This guy seems to have a grin permanently plastered to his face…

Throughout the film, there's a repeat scene of Ed standing with a blade in his hand over a pool of blood. When it finally comes to light, I failed to understand why it had been repeated so many times.

Fay Lytle and Matt McCarthy are both equally wonderful in their parts. Every player works seriously, aside from Matt against such a demented script. Fay, as Linda absolutely shines. I can only find one credit to her name -- this movie!! What?? She acts like a veteran of the underground scene. I asked Fay and she confirmed that, aside from theatre, this is her first acting role. She also added that filming this generally was a laugh a day. Matt portrays somebody who has had a lifetime of abuse and coldness, he can dismiss insults with a shrug -- or perhaps it's a case of bad acting, since a handful of his grieving moments are delivered with the same blankness. Who knows?

Let's not forget, Josh Connor as Jesse and Booger. He especially chews the scenery like gum as, Booger the Clown. As a matter of fact, Josh, in my opinion, totally boots everybody aside and leaps to the front of the stage. Once again, I am left flabbergasted that this lad hasn't worked in a multitude of titles.

Ignoring the purposely ridiculous story and the giggle fest of effects, The Dark Side of the Womb is a low budget deep underground movie with some really great talents involved, that bring chunky solidness to their given characters. Plus the direction is a lavish affair with so many ideas.

All said and done, The Dark Side of the Womb is incredibly entertaining. It has nothing but amusing ideas on display and a gallery of boil-in-a-bag special effects taken from somebody's joke book. So what? It's not as if, Sam Salerno, set out to create a long lasting masterpiece. He formulated a disasterpiece which will have you shaking your head, or giggling in glee from your black cult heart. Ignore the plot holes.

There's so many drug trips wrapped into this blanket of crazy. Ed's journey into Linda's body has to be the singularly most original yet cruddy minutes I've witnessed in some time. Back in the ‘80s, this would have been a straight-to-video tape legend on the market, spoken about by real tacky horror enthusiasts, and hated by Fangoria. That is a cool recommendation.

As a footnote, Sam Salerno can hold his head high as a director and writer... but.... he played... Dr... Fuckin' Wank Wipe.... Shitty Voiced....Hook!!!!! Please remove Sam's head now!!!!

Let's leave the finale in the words of Ed: “Maybe that's what life is -- a series of cloudy days.”




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