Through a wasteland, Ivan sets up shows of self-mutilation for crowds in an attempt to heal himself and understand why his father did the things he did.
Since I did my first Jim Van Bebber review yesterday I remembered this ol' film, which Van Bebber stars in, and decided to rewatch it. I also figured we needed some more Andy Copp on our page so it just worked out perfectly. Unlike the other film I reviewed of his, "Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain", this one is way beyond reality and I think that alone makes it a lot more appealing too.
The main plot device in this film is the childhood of our lead character Ivan. He grew up with an abusive father who also killed his mother. Ivan is now grown up and is travelling through a wasteland performing shows where he mutilates himself inside of a cage. The story isn't what makes the movie what it is though, because really, the story takes up very little time if I'm being honest. Sure, everything in the film is there because of the story, but the same story could've been told in many different ways.
What makes "The Mutilation Man" what it is, is the style. In every way. It's experimental and surreal. Filled with loud music, ambient sounds, strange lighting, cyberpunk-ish sets and not to mention weird fetish-like scenes of sex and murder. "The Mutilation Man" goes hand-in-hand with films such as "I Never Left the White Room" and even though they're not always the most perfect films out there, the creativity takes them a long way.
"The Mutilation Man" suffers from being too long. Actually, 82 minutes isn't very long, but because of how the film is made I think it should've been around 60 minutes to keep from feeling repetitive. But at the same time the movie does keep you interested because of how eccentric it is. It's a treat for your senses. Sometimes a good treat, and sometimes not as much, but something different none the less.
If you're easily disturbed then this isn't for you. Not only is the style a lot to take, but it features a lot of sex and violence too. More often then not it's a graphic movie, and while the gore could be improved on, it's such a gritty and ugly movie overall that it fits perfectly. This is one of the things only a weird, experimental and surrealistic film can pull off - people like Shinya Tsukamoto has too made excellent films with what some would call poor effects. Sometimes it gives it a unique feel.
"The Mutilation Man" is perhaps Andrew Copp's biggest achievement, and I hope he returns with something similar because it's something I think we need more of. Sure, sometimes you get really crappy productions but that's mostly because there's very little to offer within the hyperactive underground surrealism subgenre (I know that's not an official subgenre but fuck you!). I could find a lot of flaws and things I didn't like about "The Mutilation Man" but at the end of the day the biggest issue is that it feels repetitive, especially in some of the music, but I still admire it.