Mar 23, 2013


Although starting his filmmaking career as New Zealand’s only arthouse punk auteur with Buñuel-esque films like the phantasmagoric short Circadian Rhythms (1976), the supremely sardonic and anarchistic anti-suburbia fantasy flick Angel Mine (1980), and the first NZ splatter flick Death Warmed Up (1984), “Kiwi Gothic cinema” pioneer David Blyth (Red Blooded American Girl, My Grandpa Is a Vampire) eventually made his way to Hollywood and made the drastic change of becoming a director of the pathetically p.c. kids TV-series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and even a pansy ranger Christmas movie, but thankfully he has gone back to the colony and is back to his subversive, surrealist roots. On top of directing deranged documentary works like Bound for Pleasure (2004), a close-up and personal look at dominatrix dames, and Transfigured Nights (2009), an unsettlingly voyeuristic view of “wildly perverse, fetishistic pleasures of web cam mask performance” (including an ex-Vietnam Vet who has a fetish for dressing like a female pig in leather and who bring an all time low to transvestic fetishism), bad boy Blyth has returned to the realm of experimental narrative film after a two decade break with the kiwi arthouse horror shocker Wound (2010) – an innately deranged depiction of one insane incest victim’s sadomasochistic struggle with psychological pandemonium and her attempt to reunite with her equally fucked up and fetishistic estranged daughter in a film that falls somewhere in between the nefarious nightmare realm of David Lynch and gorgeous and atmospheric arthouse gore of Jörg Buttgereit, except even less linear in structure and which the director summed up follows in an interview as follows: ““Wound” is a woman’s pictorial descent into madness, seen as a series of events or visual mental shards from Susan’s tragic life as she fights a losing battle for her sanity in an indifferent and uncaring world.” Described by none other than Brit of celluloid blasphemy Ken Russell (The Devils, Altered States) in the following manner, “A two-headed doll! Iron-phallused Pig-man stealth! Birthing your own twin! The nightclub of dream-wandering! If your family of origin doesn’t kill you, you may just make it…Gorgeous images and repulsive dream-surgery into the recesses of female consciousness. Enter at your own peril! A masterpiece!,” Wound is certainly a daunting and deranging work to experience, sort of like watching a Russian execution video while in a mescaline-induced state as a deathrock mix-tape plays in the background, thus it will only appeal to the few, the proud, the aberrant arthouse connoisseur as an uncompromising work that manages to create an unholy marriage between surrealism and splatter, as well as foul fetishism with family matters. Needless to say, if you have ever suffered erotic debasement via a degenerate daddy, Wound – a work of audacious aesthetic terrorism that pours artsy acid in the grotesque gash that is post-cultural Occidental society – is not the sort of film to watch on Father’s Day, or any day for that matter.

As a sadomasochistic bitch who cuts off her daddy’s dick within the first five minutes of Wound, schizo Susan (Kate O'Rourke) is not exactly a woman whose sense of judgment the viewer can trust, thus the film becomes a hallucinatory horror show where concrete reality and mental derangement become dismembered in a blender of S&M surrealism, anti-erotic excess, Gothic gratuity, and longing for something darkly romantic but totally intangible. With a pedophile fiend for a father who probably could be described as the ‘New Zealand Josef Fritzl,’ Susan makes it clear why “incest” and “patricide” go together like aristocrats and gulags, but she has a more pressing matter on her mind. At the ripe age of 19-years-old, Susan gave birth to a beautiful still-born baby girl, yet, quite inexplicably, a Gothic school gal named Tanya (Te Kaea Beri) who was born an orphan, and may be the daughter Susan thought was born dead, is on the prowl for her mommy dearest. When not trying tirelessly to make sales for her telemarketing job and basking in sexual abuse from her S&M Master John (Campbell Cooley), Susan is daydreaming day and night about an ostensible daughter that was spawn from the most unholiest sin. With the rotten, worm-eaten apple not falling far from the devitalized tree, night owl temptress Tanya is also engaged in an all the more sickening branch of S&M that includes being senselessly buggered by a swine-mask sporting degenerate whose only other piece of ‘clothing’ is an iron-cock with a deathhead on the end and whose bloated body covered in heretical tattoos makes him seem like some sort of satanic Maori tribesman who took the Gothic blues lyrics of Glenn Danzig a little too seriously. A strikingly haunting and oftentimes hysterical collection of phantasmic tableaux that never relents in its metaphysical prodding and pillaging of the viewer’s soul, Wound is a work that only offers solace to the deceased, but only aesthetically pleasing torment to the living, or so protagonist Susan finds out during her deluge of the mind. With visions of romantic suicide pacts on train tracks, a two-headed monster being born through a ghastly gigantic vagina, visitations from a matricidal daughter who wears death on her sleeve, elderly S&M madams, and non-rides to nowhere on an antiquated Victorian train full of lost souls with a punk rock fashion sense, Wound pours buckets of blood of the anti-Electral love sort.

In an interview for the website Schurr Sound, Wound director David Blyth stated the following regarding the contemporary Hollywoodized Occident, “In the Victorian times, children were present when dead bodies were being dressed and that was part of them understanding the process of death. Now in our western white society the coffin is closed. It’s only actually the Maori culture that has an open coffin and a healthier attitude to death.” Of course, Wound is a work that not only wallows in death, but also in unchecked perversions in a fundamentally anti-life society where pathological fetishism is rampant, even of the incestuous sort. In fact, the father-daughter castration scenes in the film were inspired by a real scenario course case Blyth read about in a U.S. newspaper. As Blyth has mentioned repeatedly in interviews, Wound is a work that fundamentally explores the “unconscious mind,” most specifically of the badly diseased sort, thus the film can be looked at as a renegade reaction to a sick and intrinsically repressed society and a depiction of a deepening laceration in the Western collective unconscious, as well as an incendiary indictment of the decadent wasp patriarch whose role in society in no more prestigious than that of a glorified sperm donor who spends his free time masturbating to images on the internet of young girls around the same age as his daughter. As a man who has gone to Hollywood hell and back, and has created sentimental kiddy horror films starring Al Lewis aka Grandpa Munster, David Blyth has proven not only that his subversive spirit has not withered with age, but also that his view of humanity, especially in regard to those from the post-colonial Occident, is no less pessimistic as a weeping wound of the auteur's mind's eye that continues to bleed in every shot of film and digital video he shoots.

 -Ty E

No comments: