Never let it be said that independent horror cinema isn’t educational. I have learned a new word: emetophilia. Emetophilia is a sexual fetish that involves the act of vomiting and the use of vomit during sex. I’ll leave it at that.
Directed by "Lucifer Valentine" and starring "Ameara La Vey," which I suspect are both pseudonyms (Anton La Vey founded the First Church of Satan in San Francisco, so the two’s names are either a great irony or completely planned), Slaughteredvomitdolls is a mildly interesting and supremely grotesque experiment in extreme cinema.
In real life, La Vey was (is?) a stripper and sometime porn-actress dating director Valentine. They formed an extreme relationship where Valentine was dominant while La Vey, unsurprisingly, was the submissive. The agreement was that Valentine could film La Vey 24 hours a day doing anything he asked her to do. Slaughteredvomitdolls emerged from this concept.
The plot is essentially incoherent and I was only able to really piece it together from the supplemental materials and a little help from the Internet. La Vey stars as Angela Aberdeen, a 19-year-old runaway with dreams of becoming a ballerina but instead becoming first a stripper and then a hooker. Her life has taken a downward spiral, as has her mind, and SVD is a collection of her broken and crazed thoughts as she inexorably moves toward suicide. The film is quite surreal and reminds me of Shinya Tsukamoto’s underground cult classic Tetsuo. With very little true plot, the film is fractured into hellish visions from Angela’s drug-and-sex crazed mind, mirroring Angela’s fractured life.
But this film wasn’t really made with a linear plot in mind anyhow. Clearly a splatter movie fan as well, and with a decided European hardcore porn fetish influence clearly in evidence, SVD is Valentine’s own personal vomit fetish film. You always hear directors say, pretentiously I might add, "I didn’t make this film for the audience–I made it for me." Well, here is a true example of that. Mixing his taste for gore and his newly discovered taste for emetophilia, SVD must seem like a perfect film to the director. And while I’m sure that there is a fringe audience that also gets off on this kind of stuff, I’m also equally sure that most people will dismiss this film as the meanderings of a depraved and lunatic mind. In fact, as I read up on the film, it seemed that it has been universally reviled by everyone who has ever seen it. While I’m not ready to jump up and support the film, I’m also not entirely comfortable with dismissing it.
The images are certainly strong. The adjectives "repulsive" and "repugnant" come to mind. "Gross," in every conceivable use of the term, also applies. We are treated to several prolonged and fairly well-done gore scenes for no apparent reason. We see a girl’s eyes gouged out with a long, sharp instrument in loving close-up. Another girl has her face sliced and peeled off. Still another has her arm sawed off at the shoulder. And finally, a man has the top of his head sawed off so someone else can then eat his bloody brains. But these images aren’t enough for someone with emetophilia. Vomit must be involved. Thus, the girl’s dismembered arm is used to induce vomiting by sticking the bloody hand down a person’s throat. And in what gets my vote for the most repulsive scene is the man who eats the brains only to puke it all up into a large measuring cup so that he can chug the half-digested gruel and puke it back into the empty brainpan of the corpse. The vomit scenes are real in all their chunk-blowing glory and repeated over and over–forgive the pun–ad nauseum. (I know, I couldn’t help myself.) But while initially vile and disgusting, because these scenes are repeated so often I found myself almost desensitized and getting slightly bored. If you’ve ever seen some of the infamous Japanese Guinea Pig films, you may have experienced the same feeling. Initially lurid and gross, after a few minutes, the extreme violence becomes boring and you find your mind wandering. This film may be an emetophiliac’s dream, but the prolonged puking scenes ultimately became monotonous for me.
The film is constantly disrupted by intentionally quick edits, extreme close-up shots, repeated images, and shaky filmwork, but rather than being annoying, I found it oddly helped the film. We are supposed to be seeing the private images of a crazed person’s nightmares. Just as I would imagine a psychotic’s mind would jump and ramble, so does the film. The soundtrack is just a bunch of weird noises accompanying the even weirder images, but again, far from annoying, I found this particular soundtrack added to the overall atmosphere of this admittedly dark film.
I won’t go all out and say I enjoyed this film or even that it is very good. While I can’t pretend to understand the sexual draw of vomit, I could appreciate how the director was trying to express the breakdown of a person’s mind. I would also say that I watched all of the extras–the DVD is packed with them, including two audio commentaries–before I watched the film (had to build up my nerve) and I found that all of the background material helped me to understand a bit of what I was watching.
Ultimately, I would recommend this film to only the most seasoned veterans of extreme cinema. The film includes graphic and brutal violence, a veritable ton of actual puking, and wall-to-wall–and quite clinical–female nudity. If your stomach isn’t cast-iron or if you offend easily, then steer well clear of this film. On the other hand, if you try and brave the content of SVD, try to move past the disturbing images and to grasp what the director’s message is and you may see some validity in the film. My final evaluation of SVD is that while it is no doubt one of the two or three most disturbing and vile films I have ever seen, it gets an unfair rap as "total garbage" and shouldn’t be summarily dismissed.
Released by Unearthed Films and distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures, SVD is now available with its two companion films, ReGOREgitated Sacrifice and Slow Torture Puke Chamber, in special packaging called "The Vomit Gore Trilogy."