Pros: Surprisingly well shot, incredibly disturbing if that's your thing.
Cons: It's really hard to stomach. Pun fully intended.
During my years as a fan and critic of extreme cinema, I've seen a lot of screwed up crap. I've seen FX-created death from the finest practitioners of the form, real autopsy footage, countless genuine deaths in mondo videos, and even more than a few fetish porn videos. I'm essentially jaded when it comes to this stuff-it's hard to shock me. Slaughtered Vomit Dolls, though, is one of the few films that actually affected me-so much so that I wound up feeling a little nauseous at a few points. If that doesn't convince you just how truly messed up this "movie" is, then I don't know what will...other than seeing it for yourself.
The brainchild of director Lucifer Valentine, Slaughtered Vomit Dolls is one of the most divisive films in the annals of gross out cinema. About half the people who see it come away from it amazed by how well-crafted and repellant it is, while the other half finds it to be complete garbage. This second half often likes to say that they also didn't find it all that graphic or disturbing. That scares me a bit-you may not like SVD, but I don't think you can realistically make a case for it not being absolutely one of the sickest films ever put to tape. Sure, if I'd shelled out $35 for it I might be a little disappointed with the end result, but if you saw it and honestly found nothing disturbing about it, you're into a whole other realm of hardcore.
Honestly, SVD isn't so much a film as it is an endurance test. It's a grindhouse experiment in seeing how much a viewer can take, a videotaped postcard sent from the very bowels of Hell. Whether it's good or not is almost irrelevant-it doesn't really exist to be "good" or "bad"...it mostly just exists to gross people out, and in that regard it's successful.
Ameara LaVey plays Blisters, a bulimic runaway stripper-prostitute who pledges her life to Satan. What follows is open to interpretation-it could be hallucinations, or it could be something else entirely. Either way, viewers are treated to a series of sequences where someone brutally murders a group of young women. One has her eyeballs stabbed repeatedly then ripped out. Another has her face peeled off. A third, who says she's a recovering bulimic, has her arm chopped off-then in a strange bit of dark humor, her assailant gives her a guitar that she can't play. Yet another victim has the top of his head sawed off, his brain eaten, then regurgitated back into his empty cranium.
If that weren't enough, we haven't even covered the copious barfing that gives Slaughtered Vomit Dolls its name. I'll admit that I have a bit of a weakness when it comes to people ralphing. I can take a little puking, sure-I'm not one of those people who immediately tosses his cookies when someone else does. However, some of the vomiting scenes in this film last for five minutes or more (easily outdoing the puking scene in Shozin Fukui's 964 Pinocchio, which was sort of the world record holder in this dubious category) and listening/watching someone lose their lunch for that long is bound to make just about anyone queasy.
This isn't even taking the film's coup de grace into consideration, a lengthy segment where a man named Henry uses a severed arm to gag himself, then spews his stomach contents all over the camera and everything else in the room. He follows this up by ralphing in a big glass and drinking it down-one of the few times in my life where I actually looked at a film and said "you've got to be f*cking kidding me". It's gross-which is why its inclusion here was a no brainer
Yet, unlike so many gore films (which are often exercises in just being gross for the sake of being gross), there's some legitimate talent on display here. Valentine is a very interesting filmmaker (and not solely because he professes to be a Satanist-which is funny, since he and I have traded a few emails and he's one of the nicest guys I've ever chatted with), a fact that's driven home repeatedly through his use of the camera and the film's sound design.
Visually, the film has a lot of static scenes, which could become really boring, but Valentine keeps things interesting by blurring the frame, inserting tons of weird cuts, and using the static set-up from various parts of the same room. Audio-wise, the film keeps things ominous by playing lots of music and dialogue backwards, slowing down the audio track so people sound more evil, and using music that's more jarring than melodic. Granted, all of these effects are overused throughout SVD's 70-minute running time, but this is a young filmmaker still learning his craft. I expect Valentine's future releases are going to be equally interesting because they tend to buck the status quo. Of course, if you find any kind of arthouse-style filmmaking annoying, then a lot of this movie is going to bother you.
I still don't really know how I feel about Slaughtered Vomit Dolls, but I do know that it affected me as a viewer-and any film evokes a response from me (other than apathy, maybe) is at least a success on some level. The movie isn't the goriest around, and there's certainly been grosser vomiting in some of the Japanese fetish videos out there, but the way Valentine has combined gore and vomit with a unique visual and audio style certainly makes SVD something more than just your standard extreme genre film. Love it or hate it, if you truly think you're a hardcore gorehound then you need to see this film.