Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Film Review: PELTS (2006, Dario Argento)

Stars: 3.5 of 5.
Running Time: 58 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Meat Loaf, John Saxon (ENTER THE DRAGON, TENEBRE, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), music by Claudio Simonetti.
Tag-line: "Dario Argento: Director of Suspira, Opera, and Jenifer."

So, after the lackluster CARD PLAYER, the abysmal DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?, and the pretty good but not-all-that Argentoish JENIFER, a lot of Argento fans didn't know what to expect from PELTS, his second stab at an episode for Showtime's MASTERS OF HORROR. Is it good? Debatable. But is it Argento? Unwaveringly yes! John Saxon of early Bava and TENEBRE? Check. Claudio Simonetti of GOBLIN doing the music? Check. Vaguely arthouse sleaze with a slight Eurotrash tinge? Check.

Bright primary colors artfully presented? Check. Love for animals and a belief in animal rights? Oh, my, yes. Check. Over-the-top ridiculous gore, the likes of which you may have never seen? Check, check, and double-check.

To the point of which you won't know whether to laugh or cry. The plot involves poetic justice in its most literal form, as sleazy fur-trapper MEAT LOAF desires some magical raccoon pelts to win the heart of a local stripper. But all who touch said pelts meet their end in fashions relating to the animals' demises or the pelts' conditionings.

So you'll see people's eyes sewn shut, their heads caught in traps, their abdomens gutted, their skulls bashed in, their hands gnawed off, and- in the film's final, epic, unbelievable gore setpiece- their bodies skinned alive. Argento has succeeded in creating the bloodiest, trashiest, most eccentric public service announcement for animal rights the world has ever seen. And I do believe that we're all the better for it. 'Fur Kills,' indeed.

-Sean Gill

2009 Halloween Countdown

31. PROM NIGHT (1980, Paul Lynch)
30. PHENOMENA (1985, Dario Argento)
29. HOUSE OF WAX (1953, André de Toth)
28. SILENT RAGE (1982, Michael Miller)
27. BASKET CASE (1982, Frank Henenlotter)
26. THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983, Douglas McKeown)
25. PELTS (2006, Dario Argento)

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