Jul 1, 2011

Subconscious Cruelty

For most viewers, the experimental horror film Subconscious Cruelty directed by Karim Hussain will be a blatant exercise in the director’s conscious cruelty, as the work treats sadistic sacrilege in a most viciously visceral yet artistically sound light that is surely unconventional for such an exceedingly depraved work. Packed with ultra-bloody-flesh-shredding-anti-sex that was assembled with a precision that is comparable to the human-meat-mutilating surgical skills of Jack the Ripper, most audiences will feel unconsciously guilty for finding the bodily dismemberment featured throughout the film to be of an aesthetically pleasing persuasion. Simply put, Subconscious Cruelty is a minor masterpiece of the macabre that will never be rightfully recognized as a work of cinematic art by your typical taste-challenged arthouse film snob. To be fair, Subconscious Cruelty has its fair share of flaws, but they can be easily overlooked and forgiven due to the film’s uncanny aesthetic prowess. Although influenced by auteur master filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Buñuel, and Dušan Makavejev, Subconscious Cruelty lacks the thematic depth and subtle symbolism associated with its influences. While dreaming up his phantasmagorical nightmare, director Karim Hussain was mainly inspired by the unpleasant plague of heroin addiction and nihilism that was vogue among art subcultures during the mid-1990s. Of course, Subconscious Cruelty is a potent film due to its stark imagery and ambient atmosphere and not due to the intellectual pretensions Hussain had while creating the film. After all, most viewers will be too startled to notice the passé philosophical nature of the film after seeing a scene where a woman’s sacred meat curtain is ripped to shreds via nightmarish childbirth. I am willing to bet that most people who own a copy of Subconscious Cruelty also own works by Jörg Buttgereit and Nacho Cerdà but it is unlikely these same individuals own any films directed by Jean-Luc Godard. In fact, it will probably be no surprise to most viewers of Subconsciously Cruelty that Karim Hussain co-wrote the script for Cerdà’s The Abandoned (2006). I was certainly not surprised to learn that Hussain also provided his cinematographer skills to Hobo with a Shotgun (2011); a film that owes a lot of its distinct character to its kaleidoscope of killer colors. 

 Like all truly audacious works of art, Subconscious Cruelty was plagued by production setbacks and trouble with the law. While coming home from a business trip in the United States, Hussain was stopped by Canadian custom agents who viewed parts of Subconscious Cruelty and confiscated it as illegally obscene material. With a name like Hussain’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if the custom agents were under the suspicion that the filmmaker was a terrorist, as Subconscious Cruelty is undoubtedly a delightful work of aesthetic terrorism that cinematically vomits on the medieval morality of American evangelical Christians. I have a feeling that if Hussain were to have created Subconscious Cruelty in a country like Iran, his life would have reached its climax in a rainstorm of peasant pelted middle eastern stones. If I were to lump the film into a category all of its own, I would describe Subconscious Cruelty as an arthouse porn flick for misogynistic serial killers of the more culturally refined kind. Bodily fluids are some of the most imperative components of life as semen is the seed from where all human life begins and blood keeps life sustainable but in Subconscious Cruelty, these precious fluids are demoted to a level that falls below toxic fecal matter. Of course, Subconscious Cruelty is a film that will have its viewers chanting Long Live Death, for few films have made bloodbaths so soothing and depravedly delectable. 

With Subconscious Cruelty, Hussain admirably achieved the seemingly impossible; constructing a work of libertine cinematic art as sadistically powerful as Nacho Cerdà’s short Aftermath but in the form of a perfectly paced feature-length film. Naturally, I assume many viewers will find themselves ejecting Subconscious Cruelty from their dvd player after the first five minutes of viewing it, but for those rare and initiated lovers of blood drenched cinematic bliss, the film makes for a truly rewarding and liberating experience that has next to no worthy rivals. After watching uncountable horror films over the pass year that are typically nothing more than a mediocre celluloid (but more often digital) mess covered with repulsive schlocky blood, I certainly found myself invigorated after watching Subconscious Cruelty; a distinctly flavorful flick where blood is beautiful and genital mutilation is as serenely scenic as a sunset on a beach during the summertime. I just wouldn’t recommend watching Subconscious Cruelty if you’re pregnant, unless you’re hoping to have a painful miscarriage. Despite its bodacious message of remorseless blasphemy, the film certainly puts the fantastic story of Jesus’ birth from the womb of a virginal mother in perspective.  I, for one, cannot think of another film like Subconscious Cruelty where the tall tale of immaculate conception is immaculately murdered in a most tasteful manner that is bound to stain most viewer's souls.

-Ty E


Aylmer said...

AKA "Fully Conscious Wankery". If we're talking "art-horror" I'll take Cerda, Hino, Fujiwara, Buttgereit, Tsukamoto and about a dozen others over this mess.

doomed said...

Cant say it really stained my soul. But it had blasphemy at its best though. Do you know about anything darker than this?

willy jerk-off said...

I dont like the word "wank" because its another one of those irritating derogatory terms (just like my rather unfortunate surname) for something that there shouldn`t be any derogatory terms for, its being negative about something that people should only ever be positive about (although what more can you expect in this "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" that we were all unfortunate enough to be born into).