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Severed Cinema review of Torment - Enchanted Architect - Unearthed Films

Old School Italian: A Severed Cinema Interview with Actor Franco Garofalo

Bringing Back Erotic Horror: A Severed Cinema Interview with Filmmaker Domiziano Cristopharo

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Music Review: Comus - First Utterance - Rock Fever Music

Music Review: No Please Not in my Mouth - Poison Rouge - White Gardenia

Doll Syndrome - TetroVideo Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
Written by Chris Mayo   
Tuesday, 06 August 2019


Directed by: Domiziano Cristopharo
Written by: Andrea Cavaletto
Produced by: Domiziano Cristopharo, Tiziano Cella
Cinematography by: Domiziano Cristopharo
Editing by: Domiziano Cristopharo
Music by: Il Cristo Fluorescente, Jarman
Special Effects by: Athanasius Pernath
Cast: Tiziano Cella, Yuri Antonosante, Aurora Kostova, Michela De Nicola
Year: 2014
Country: Italy
Language: N/A (English Subtitles)
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 35min

Enchanted Architect

Domiziano Cristopharo (House of Flesh Mannequins) is no stranger to controversial subject matter. Doll Syndrome opens with titles featuring haunting imagery of naked prisoners of war being tormented and sexually abused. The images showcases torture and humiliation akin to that of Iraqi and Afghani prisoners who suffered at the hands of American soldiers at Abu Ghraib Prison which made international headlines around the time this film was originally shot back in 2014. This seems to be a major influence for Cristopharo in making this film. The footage truly builds some disturbing foreshadowing into the principle idea of the feature.

Doll Syndrome follows our main character, simply called ‘Him’, played by co-producer, Tiziano Cella, in an unnervingly bleak role as a man merely trying to make it day by day. Obviously suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder (ala a prisoner of war perhaps?), our hero spends his days fulfilling monotonous duties, including doing laundry, cleaning his bathroom, staring aimlessly out his window, trying to choke down food without becoming nauseous, and venturing out into public, attempting to appear like he’s a part of society. He lives a wooden, robotic, formulaic lifestyle, stabilized only by the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Fluoxetine, he takes to keep his major depressive disorder in check.

One day whilst choking down food at a café he sets his eyes upon a woman reading a book, and becomes enamoured with her. Shortly thereafter he vomits in a nearby dumpster. Increasingly he chances upon this woman, called ‘Her’ (Aurora Kostova), wherein his infatuation grows for her. That is, until one day when he sees that she has a significant other half (Yuri Antonosante). How will our protagonist deal with this dilemma? Unhealthily no doubt…

Our main character is a completely tormented oddball whom regularly does strange shit. His emotions range from deer-in-the-headlights to bug-eyed. He masturbates in front of windows, wanks into sinks, licks toilet seats, he sits down to pee, but pisses all over himself, rubbing it into his skin, and has twitchy nightmares about a turd-like creature that comes out of his ashtray to attack him. Whilst dealing with his idiosyncratic existence he tries so hard to be a “normal human” that he even uses his hand to force his mouth into a smile whilst looking at himself in the mirror. But in his true fashion, this action culminates with him burrowing his fingernails into his gums until they bleed.

Doll Syndrome is told through the eyes of our main character, virtually dialogue-free, except for one scene with the couple arguing in the park expressed via English subtitles. The film is repetitious, so the pacing might turn some people off who want instant gratification. However, the repetition lends to the bleakness surrounding this man’s lonely life and the monotony of his daily existence. The film culminates with an ultimately downbeat, yet poetic conclusion, so fans of Torment should hang along for the ride with our bizarre character. You folks should not be disappointed.

Tiziano Cella pulls off a stoic performance as our virtually catatonic protagonist, whom isn’t afraid to showcase it all for a Domiziano Cristopharo production, including ejaculating on camera, as well as the torturing of his fellow cast mates, echoing certain imagery from Adam Ford’s Torment, and more.

Doll Syndrome had a previous North American DVD release by way of Wild Eye Releasing, but now fans can pick this one up on DVD by way of the TetroVideo treatment.





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