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The Strange Things Boutique





Cursed Bastards (Malditos Sean!)It’s quite an achievement to make a film that features an eyeball-vomiting, hook wielding demon, supernatural flesh-eating garden gnomes and a man with a beard that fills a room seem dull, but sadly, directors Fabián Forte and Demián Rugna manage to do just that in Argentinean movie Cursed Bastards, a film that is full of good ideas and striking moments, but needs a seriously vigorous amount of editing before it can fulfil its potential.

The film consist of three stories (each set ten years apart) that are vaguely linked (by a Santeria witchdoctor who, in the great tradition of horror films, grants magical favours that the customer will come to regret) and vaguely interwoven – the second and third story run pretty much in one section, but the first is intercut throughout the film. The first story features corrupt cops, a crafty criminal, a prematurely aged woman, evil gnomes and a strange, gold-hungry monster; the second is a tale of hitmen haunted by the ghost of child they have killed; and the third has the afore-mentioned demon trying to wipe out a house of clairvoyants.

Each tale has its moments of excellence, silliness and jaw-dropping madness. The cop whose beard grows to excess after the witchdoctor places a spell on him, the man ripping out his own heart, the clairvoyant being saved by a horny friend (only virgins can be clairvoyants apparently, and so they opt for what is known as the Joe Dallasandro method of saving her)… and an army of dwarves. There are impressive scenes of horror, amusing moments of gross-out bad taste, and plenty of gore. But at two hours, this film is way too long. None of the stories can justify this running time, and all it does is make the stories plod where they should gallop – and often become incoherent. Normally, it’s the removal of plot points that render a film a bit of a mess plotwise, but here it definitely seems that the overly-long stories are less easy to follow, if only because you find your attention wandering. I’ll concede that part of the problem with the print I watched was the subtitles, which not only lagged behind the dialogue and were often completely absent, but which often bordered on the incoherent. A better translation may well make this more interesting.

Shorn of thirty minutes or so, this could be a great slice of bad taste terror. As it currently stands though, it feels like a good idea that is still in need of development.




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