Purgatory (2006) – By Jordan Garren

 It’s not too often that I can actually tell people that a film is gritty, dark, and disturbing. (In fact, the last time I ever said that about a movie was after I watched Running Scared.) Eric Falardeau’s Purgatory is all those things and more and proved to be a rather fun sixteen minute short. The film is, for the most part, plotless and contains no dialogue (just a lot of screaming, moaning, and howling in pain) and has some really memorable gross-out moments. This short film centers on a nameless fellow that is apparently in his own personal hell or purgatory if you will. Basically he spends his days horribly mutilating himself, committing suicide, and doing other odd things. (Like watching himself, watch himself, on a TV. Yeah, what?)

This guy starts out by slitting his wrists in a bathtub with a sharp scalpel. Then he’s totally fine in the next scene and writhing on a bloody mattress in a dungeon-like room. Moments later he’s weeping and moaning while curled naked on a cement floor in the fetal position. (Thanks, I really needed to see that!) But the goods come toward the end of this twisted little film. Our torturesome character finds some medical instruments and other nifty tools and slashes himself up, then cuts a square hole in his arm and starts eating the bloody tissue beneath his skin! Then he commits seppuku (i.e. he sticks a large knife in his gut and yanks it upwards through his chest) and his intestines come spilling out! Despite all of this bodily damage, some higher power hits reset and the guy is once again whole…. that is until he smashes a mirror and skins his face with a mirror shard!!!

And during most of this onscreen carnage, a ghostly figure of a woman meanders through the background. Why, I don’t know, but her first appearance definitely caught me off guard! Purgatory is a film that lives up to its name and it doesn’t pull any of its punches. It was shot in Super 8MM film, giving it the gritty look and feel of a 70’s exploitation flick. The movie moves along at a good clip, and really delivers on the disturbing imagery and gore. (When the intestines came tumbling out of the guy’s body I cheered!) And when you add in the creepy music that plays every now and then, you get one of the coolest exploitation shorts ever made! Though it’s not for all tastes, if you are a fan of hardcore horror, gore, and grue, then get yourself a copy of Eric Falardeau’s Purgatory today!

The DVD is available (as of December 1st) and features an introduction by Troma President Lloyd Kaufman, a teaser trailer, the original theatrical trailer, and a making of featurette! Congrats on creating a truly nightmarish vision Eric, and a big congrats for winning the Best Film/Best Director award at Montreal’s Spasm Film Festival!