Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 1st, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2009
Director: Domiziano Cristopharo
Writer: Domiziano Cristopharo
Cast: Domiziano Arcangeli, Irena A. Hoffman, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Jerred Berg
DVD released: February 21st, 2012
Approximate running time: 100 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Elite Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A loner artist’s obsession with that darker side of humanity takes him on a dark journey that tests his grip on reality.
There is a lot to take in while watching House of Flesh Mannequins. The film’s many layers almost demand multiple viewers so that it’s many nuances can be fully appreciated. With this film’s main themes being, gratuitous violence on T.V. and the aftereffect of childhood a trauma.
Right from the get go this film is not shy about wearing its influences on its sleeves, there is a dash of David Lynch like surrealism, flamboyant visuals that are rooted in the Grand Guignol and a more than a pacing glance of Michael Powell’s Peeing Tom in the rear view window.
And while the film’s narrative follows a linear path. It is its subject matter that makes the journey all the more difficult to digest. To say that this film features some shocking imagery would be a gross understatement. There is an abundance of grotesque imagery that often involves mutilations and moments of sexual depravity.
Without a doubt this film’s greatest assets are its surreal visuals that give this film some much needed atmosphere. Unfortunately when it comes to the other areas of this film production, things are not always smooth sailing. There are many lulls in the narrative that tend to cripple any chance of momentum sustaining.
And while some of this is due to the less then charismatic characters that populate this film. The majority of the blame should falls squarely on the shoulders of the cast, who are for the most part rather forgettable in their respective roles. With the film’s most challenging performance coming from Domiziano Arcangeli in the role of this film’s protagonist. And while his performance is a hard one to embrace, the honor of this film’s worst performance goes to Randal Malone, who’s character Cannoluti is the mastermind behind child pornography syndicate. The film’s most unusual performance comes from Euro Cult regular Giovanni Lombardo Radice (City of the Living Dead), who portrays yet another eccentric character. If any performance comes out of this film unscathed, it would be this film leading lady Irena A. Hoffman, who does a superb job as this film’s Femme Fatale. Ultimately despite its short comings there is plenty to admire in House of Flesh Mannequins, a film that is willing to push the boundaries of cinema in a era where most filmmakers are far to content to play it safe.
Elite Entertainment presents House of Flesh Mannequins in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a strong transfer that boasts nicely saturated colors, flesh tones look accurate, black levels look consistently good, details always look crisp and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. There are no problems with distortion, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a thirteen minute ‘Behind the Scenes’ segment that is comprised of onset footage, a six minute segment titled ‘It’s Just Flesh’ that focuses on the gruesome special effects that appear in the film, interviews with the cast & crew and the complete version of all five Snuff films that appear in this film. Overall House of Flesh Mannequins gets a solid DVD release from Elite Entertainment.