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The Profane Exhibit - Harbinger International Print E-mail
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Written by Chris Mayo   
Thursday, 17 November 2016
Review of The Profane Exhibit on Severed Cinema

Directed by: Uwe Boll, Ruggero Deodato, Marian Dora, Andrey Iskanov, Ryan Nicholson, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Michael Todd Schneider, Sergio Stivaletti, Nacho Vigalondo
Written by: Scott Swan, David Bond, Carlo Baldacci Carli, Ruggero Deodato, Colin McCracken, Ryan Nicholson, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Paolo Zelati
Produced by: David Bond, Manda Manuel, David L. Tamarin
Cinematography by: Vincenzo Condorelli, Gabrio Contino, Matt Leaf, Yasutaka Nagano, Anthony Roldan
Editing by: Jeremy Kasten, Chance Minter, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Francesca Spinozzi
Special Effects by: Giulia Giorgi, Megan Nicholson, Autumn Cook, Chieko Shimizu, Chelsea Still, Taiga Ishino, Oliver Müller
Cast: Dan Ellis, Monique Parent, Tina Krause, Thomas Goersch, Marta Paganelli, Simplicio De Rosa, Maki Mizui, Haruka Nishimura, Didac Alcaraz, Josep Segui Pujol, Clint Howard, Caroline Williams
Year: 2013
Country: USA, Canada, Italy, Russia, Japan
Color: Color
Language: English, Italian, German, Japanese

Studio: Harbinger International

The Profane Exhibit is quite possibly the most ambitious and talked about horror anthology film ever made. Unfortunately for you, it will never see the light of day. As quoted by a source close to the project, who will remain unnamed, “The Profane Exhibit will be coming any day now -- just as soon as pigs fly and Hell freezes over!”

The Profane Exhibit was birthed from (then) producer David Bond in 2011, when he approached writer Scott Swan (Masters of Horror, Maskhead) to write short screenplays based on his story concepts. By 2013 producers David Bond and Manda Manuel had shot the majority of
The Profane Exhibit, giving five of the shorts (Ruggero Deodato’s Bridge, Nacho Vigalondo’s Sins of the Father, Sergio Stivaletti’s Tophet Quorom, Marian Dora’s Mors in Tabula and Uwe Boll’s Basement) a sneak preview at Phil Anselmo’s Housecore event, leaving a stale taste in viewer’s mouths. This was perhaps the beginning of the end of the project right there.

Currently, reliable sources close to the project tell Severed Cinema that (allegedly, yes I’m using that word) there are a lot of problems surrounding the project. No shit! The film has been basically in the can for 3-years, with a bleak miniscule light at the end of an ever growing tunnel. The biggest of the two problems with this project are a wraparound idea that has been attempted for the last five years. The second is with Andrey Iskanov’s segment, Tochka, which needs more work, including finishing the sound design. The problem is that the actors in the film live all over Russia now, making finishing the short film another costly endeavour. And at this point, do you dear readers think more money will be thrown at this project? After all this time? On top of these complications, Coffin Joe (José Mojica Marins) has left the project entirely. Richard Stanley was never a part of it. Along with this, producer and mastermind David Bond has left. Supposedly Sergio Stivaletti had gotten onboard as Bond’s replacement, in a last-ditch effort to get this project released. You have your work cut out for you sir. Folks, I know you want to see this, but it simply just isn’t happening. On a brighter note, one day, you will be able to see each short individually if the directors themselves wish the fans to see it, but as The Profane Exhibit, it just won’t happen.

Onto the short films. The project had the makings of greatness. Many top Horror industry names are attached to this, which have had the fans clamouring for it for years. The theme of each story is “Corruption.” With each subsequent short, they begin with “The Corruption of…” in an attempt to bring each film together, but basically each film is its own entity. They don’t correlate. While “The Corruption” concept is interesting, the films merely stand on their own. Additionally, the majority of the films begin with a quote from French poet Charles Baudelaire, in another attempt at bringing cohesion. The care put into this attempt at anthology unity is admirable, but without a wraparound story they merely exist individually. This is fine with me. Why not just release the The Profane Exhibit at this point as is? Recoup some money and let the fans finally see this. Nope.

Initially there were supposed to be thirteen short films attached to this project, including a wraparound which doesn’t exist. Coffin Joe left the project so that leaves us with ten shorts. Richard Stanley’s Coltan (“Corruption of Wealth”) never existed. That leaves us with nine. The only short I have not seen from this is Anthony Diblasi’s Mother May I (“Corruption of Religion”). Now since this film won’t see the light of day (at least as The Profane Exhibit anthology), I will explore each short individually.

We begin with the theme “The Corruption of Innocence” with Ruggero Deodato’s short, Bridge. The film is the shortest of the bunch, running in at a microscopic three minutes, and unfortunately it seems like an afterthought. A boy and a girl run into a mad woman on a bridge who aims to commit suicide but the children have other ideas. I say this is an afterthought because the short is basically non-existent. It ends before it begins which is a shame not utilizing Deodato’s notorious directing potential. In fairness, Deodato has stated that with this short he wanted to depart from Cannibal Holocaust and drew inspiration from The Shinning to explore the evilness of children. However, whatever good intentions he had at making a solid short film, are left plummeting off that bridge.

The Corruption of Dominance” is explored in Michael Todd Schneider’s mighty short, Manna, running in at 11-minutes. Here we explore a BDSM club where we bare witness to a man being taken to a back room. We see him laying on a mattress, a black bag covers his head and one by one women enter the room to fuck him. This is the fun before the torment, for what happens next Schneider explores next level BDSM with Vorarephilia -- the erotic desire to be consumed by, or consume another person or creature. There is some twisted gore and cannibalism to behold here, including fileting legs, roasting body parts on coals, tong removal, throat slashing, eyeball extraction (A Clockwork Orange -style), bloodletting, blood bathing, a heart ripped out and of course voracious naked women feeding on human flesh. There are even naked women wearing pig heads for good measure. Schneider’s Manna is a feast on the eyes and a gorehound’s wet dream.

Ryan Nocholson’s Goodwife, explores “The Corruption of Love” and is the best of the anthology. Period. Genre favorite Dan Ellis (American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock) stars as John, a family man with a seemingly perfect marriage. However when his wife Lisa (Monique Parent) stumbles upon a folder containing photos of her husband’s victims, her world crumbles. But what does a “Goodwife” do? She joins in on the festivities. But is this enough? Nicholson’s entry into the series is refreshing, and takes Nicholson back to the brutality days of Torched. The film is stark black with no humor. In one scene Ellis has a woman handcuffed and strung up to ceiling joists. He burns her with a cigarette and proceeds to take a meat hook to rip her anus apart. All this before taking a leak on her vagina in graphic detail. B-movie starlet Tina Krause (An Erotic Vampire in Paris) also turns up in this one as a victim.

Next up is a short that had me intrigued -- Marian Dora’s Mors in Tabula, exploring “The Corruption of Duty”. The strange thing about this one is that the Mors in Tabula that was screened at Housecore is a completely different film than this, the final product. At the screening viewers experience a different film, “The Corruption of Trust”, which follows a woman who places her life in the hands of a doctor. The film showed depictions of real surgical procedures leaving it hard to discern between real medical footage of make-up effects. Perhaps this is the reasoning for the film being changed entirely. The final version of Mors in Tabula is an entirely different film. Running at 7-minutes, this short depicts an incredibly sick boy (L. Dora), seemingly on the verge of death from mucus buildup due to epilepsy. A doctor is summoned to the small village and is entrusted to help the boy. The doctor immediately starts work on the boy, performing an emergency tracheotomy surgery. As his father (Thomas Goersch, Carcinoma) holds his son’s legs, the doctor sops up mucus and blood from the hole in the boys throat. This scene is somber and gruesomely real, with sounds of chanting and a Hitler rally being heard in the background. Not as crazy as Dora efforts like Melancholie der Engel but it’s definitely a Dora film. It is utterly dark an bleak and a contender for one of the best of the anthology.

Directed by Sergio Stivaletti, Tophet Quorom explores “The Corruption of Society”. This is an interesting one, since it’s more akin to an old school Italian horror movie complete with extreme gore. Silvia (Marta Paganelli) has just given birth to twins, but when she requests to see one of the babies her husband (and Doctor) Riccardo (Simplicio De Rosa) claims the child died due to an umbilical cord complication. “But I heard him crying.” she protests. He dismisses her again stating “That’s impossible, dear.” Being suspicious, Silvia explores the castle basement where she finds a werewolf-esque looking woman cradling a baby. When her husband catches her snooping around, things get more horrified, ending with a demonic ceremony. Tophet Quorom has some gruesome scenes, complete with baby sacrifice, man-made graphic werewolf transformation and a gnarly grue-filled, blood-spirting jaw being torn off.

Jigoku The Hell-Chef, directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) explores “The Corruption of the Flesh” in the most oddball short of the entire anthology. A Schoolgirl (Maki Mizui, Helldriver) wearing a Japanese Noh mask, picks up a Male Victim (Hiroki Murakami) and takes him home. A mysterious Komono wearing woman (the film credits her as Drummer, Haruka Nishimura) carrying an umbrella, appears in her apartment and says she will help her get rid of the body. There’s one problem, he’s not dead yet. She remedies this by squirting a substance from a syringe on a knife to incapacitate him in order to chop him up whilst still conscious. The duo then gleefully chop him up as a figure with long red hair covering her face beats a drum to uplifting happy music. Blood splatters the room, they play with his testicles and then enjoy a bowl of human romen. This short also features seppuku and the promotion of wrist slitting. Bizarre stuff indeed…

Moving onward, Sins of the Father, directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) explores “The Corruption of Technology”, and is the most unique of the batch. Here we have a simulated environment of a childhood room where a Son (Didac Alcaraz) confronts is elderly Father (Josep Segui Pujol). By attempting to recreate an act his father committed on him as a child, he wants his father to admit what he did and take punishment for his actions. Will justice be filled on the sexual misconduct of a father?

Next, we get another one that’s amongst the best of the bunch, with a short film from (unfortunately) retired filmmaker Uwe Boll, responsible for powerhouse films such as Heart of America, Stoic, Darfur, Auschwitz, Tunnel Rats and the Rampage trilogy. Basement explores “The Corruption of Family”, which is a similar theme to Nicholson’s Goodwife wherein we get a seemingly wholesome family, with a dark secret in the basement -- their 25-year old Daughter. During dinner one evening, happily married couple, Bob (Clint Howard, Evilspeak, Ice Cream Man) and Lucy (Caroline Williams, Leprechaun 3 , Blood Feast 2016) discuss having a date night. Howard gets up from the table, turns on “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven, then brings a plate of food into the basement. There in a windowless room, he gives his daughter her food and mentions her upcoming birthday. “What would you like for your birthday?” he asks. “Outside.” she says as she devours her food. He continues to claim it is too dangerous outside as he unbuttons his shirt. She pleads but is shut down with promises of a pretty new dress. He unbuckles his belt, “Hurry up and finish. Mommy and daddy have somewhere to go.” The rest dear reader, you can surmise. Clint Howard was an exceptional choice for this role, making the situation all the drearier.

Rounding out The Profane Exhibit, is the Andrey Iskanov (Nails) directed Tochka which explores “The Corruption of Drugs”. The film takes place in a Russian brothel or Tochka. Since this is unfinished it’s hard to know what the basic premise of the story is but from what I can gather it is about a girl who attempts to escape this brothel but is captured and brutally beaten and tortured. Now this isn’t just any brothel -- it’s chock full of every form of sadist, pervert, sexual deviant and drug addict imaginable. This is hands down the most fucked up short of the bunch and it’s a shame that it won’t get finished. Here is a list of some of the insane brutality within: a dude injects heroin in his erect cock, a chick gets her teeth kicked in, a bound girl gets fucked by another girl with a large black spiked strap-on, a guy gives a happy ending to a girl’s face, another chained girl is pissed on by her laughing captive, disembowelment, people are shot in the head, set on fire, a double mastectomy by razor blade, buttholes are impaled with wooden stakes, chicks on sticks (Cannibal Holocaust-style) and a woman gets the ever-loving shit kicked out of her. Phew! Tochka is the longest short of the anthology, running in at close to a half hour.

So as it stands the only short from this rough cut of The Profane Exhibit I have not seen is Anthony Diblasi’s Mother May I. That, said, I am uncertain if that one exists either, but with the nine short films present it is a solid attempt at an anthology series. Is it better than something like the recent German Angst -- which I loved -- no, but it deserves a place in the annals of horror anthology. It is far from perfect, it’s rough around the edges, it’s not as cohesive as the producers seemed to grasp for, but for the most part, it’s a well-rounded compilation. Now give up clamoring for The Profane Exhibit folks. It ain’t happening. Just be hopeful the filmmakers release these on their own… eventually. At this point it’s the only way these films will ever see the light of day.

 

 

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