“Subconscious Cruelty,” directed by Karim Hussain:
Duo review with @fulltimehorrorjunkie
for a new fav of ours! Do yourself a favor and go read his review!
Perhaps one of the most influential and challenging horror films to come out of the late 90s/early 2000s is “Subconscious Cruelty.” A simultaneously nasty and empowering film, Karim Hussain channels the likes of Argento and Lynch to create a tasteful arthouse aesthetic that showcases some of the most bizarre body horror that could stand toe to toe with Cronenberg.
Now, if you were to ask me what this film’s plot is about, I would tell you that there are several plot lines, but that they don’t necessarily intersect with one another. Take “Subconscious Cruelty” as an exploration into the most crooked aspects of the human mind, and the idea that the logical left side of our brains should be destroyed in order to let the more uninhibited right side take control.
The segments that Hussain concocts to further this overarching theme range from ethereally beautiful to complete sensory overload aided by insane practical effects, be warned: many of these scenes contain extreme content (infanticide, incest, religious desecration, etc). There is even a scene involving Jesus Christ that looks like a collaborative cross between Ken Russell and Ruggero Deodato.
Shot in film and presented in a beautifully appropriate aspect ratio of 1:66, each frame is unforgettable. The score, composed by Teruhiko Suzuki, is intense, emotional and touching, at times even making the film feel transcendental.
I don’t want to describe too much more because this is one that needs to be seen to believed. It’s an angry progressive screech against fascism, controlling women’s bodies, false devoutness, twisted interpretations of religion, and it’s so incredibly in your face. It’s unsafe in every sense of the word, and a perfect example of how extreme cinema qualifies as art.