Sunday, October 3, 2010

Summer of Sexual Deviance at the Multiplex

It never occurred to me that Frankenstein (1931) would have been a better film if it ended with the monster raping Dr. Frankenstein and his bride. Yet, this is the idea at the root of Splice (2010), a re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend that uses gene splicing in place of body part splicing and brings a sense of sexual allure and erotic tension to the misguided scientists determined to play God.

The storyline for My Favorite Year (1982) never suggested to me Peter O'Toole should arrange a threesome with Mark Linn-Baker and Jessica Harper. However, this is more or less route taken by Nicholas Stoller, the writer and director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), as he reworks the premise of My Favorite Year for Get Him to the Greek (2010).

In old horror films, a mad scientist would stitch together body parts to create a fascinating new creature. The Thing with Two Heads (1972) took this idea to a new level by depicting transplant surgeons joining two heads together onto a single body. It did not seem that this practice could get any more outrageous until the recent release of The Human Centipede (2009), which shows a sadistic surgeon joining three comely young people together by using his stitching prowess to fashion a gruesome mouth-to-anus union.

Sexual deviance does not breathe new life into an old story or make a trite film daring and edgy. These desperate updates come across as nothing more than juvenile, twisted and crass.

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