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Todd Haynes' first Film since Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story can hardly fail to set audiences ablaze. Poison is a movie without any obvious precedents, an amyl-charged ride through images of decay, disease and social deviance, it keeps three stories going in parallel, each in a style radically different from the others - the mastery of each genre that Haynes and his crew display here is simply staggering, but won't surprise those who appreciated the multiple delights of Superstar (MFF'89).
Hero playfully uses the form of TV reportage to investigate the case of a boy who allegedly flew away after killing his father. Horror lays into the 'Golden Turkey' syndrome with a pastiche of the kind of movie that William Castle used to make: a mad scientist isolates the human sex drive in a serum, knocks it back in mistake of his coffee and becomes the progenitor of an AIDS-like epidemic. And Homo echoes Fassbinder's Querelle in exploring the space between Genet's literary wet dreams (Haynes draws directly on Miracle of the Rose) and the somewhat coarser fantasies of down-the-line gay porn. The three strands of narrative do eventually converge, but not in a way that anyone would predict. Masterfully realised, the result is a calculated affront to orthodoxies of every stripe, as challenging to the complacent gay audience as it is to the shell-shocked straights. (T.R.)
After a triumphant premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival, (where the film took off the Grand Prize) and now critical and popular acclaim on it's U.S. release last month, Poison is clearly the benchmark US indy feature of the year. We are delighted to welcome writer/director Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and editor/actor James Lyons to the Festival.