Begotten (1990)

DVD Cover (World Artists)
E. Elias Merhige E. Elias Merhige
Brian Salzberg Brian Salzberg
Donna Dempsey Donna Dempsey
Stephen Charles Barry Stephen Charles Barry
James Gandia James Gandia
Daniel Harkins Daniel Harkins

5.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Avant-Garde, Religious Horror, Supernatural Horror, Surrealist Film
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 19, 2007
Hands down, the most disturbing motion picture ever made. This film will stick with you long after you switch off the television, and it might even give you nightmares for a very long time afterwards. It's a film that makes David Lynch's "Eraserhead" seem more like "Gremlins 2: The New Batch". It's a bleak and violent and grisly and profane and utterly fascinating look at man and religion, from the director of "Shadow of the Vampire".

There is no dialog -- only a series of images and sequences. The film begins with God slicing open his torso with a straight razor and basically gutting himself, eventually dying. After his death, Mother Nature emerges from his corpse blessed with his blood and semen and gives birth to Man, which is represented by a maggot, which is supposed to represent man on Earth. The location is a stark and desolate landscape where we see the rape of Mother Nature and the eventual destruction of Man. The humanoid creatures who inhabit the land eventually turn the corpse of God back into the ground so that the cycle of life can begin again. The whole theme of the film can be summed up by one early phrase, "Life is nothing but man spasming above the ground".

The imagery here is haunting and powerful. The religious references are far more intense and potentially very offensive than anything else we've seen before, yet this film received very little backlash upon release. Maybe it was because the religious zealots knew the film would not be mainstream enough to cause problems. This is, by far one of the most graphic films ever made, and the blood and guts are extremely realistic and will be difficult for a lot of people to watch, especially after recently eating. "Begotten" is as experimental as they come and was very much influenced by both David Lynch and the short films of Salvador Dali. It leaves them all in the dust.

You're only going to be able to find this film on VHS, unless you want to 'illegally download' it (and no I am not endorsing that) or pay a fortune for it on the internet. But, whatever you pay -- it's worth it. It's rare when a film leaves such a lasting impact. The pacing is slow, much like "Eraserhead", but the pacing is how it needs to be for this film to be as affective as it is. "Begotten" is all visual and all style and all hidden substance, but any fan of the horror genre needs to see it to believe it, and to appreciate it. Director and writer E. Elias Merhige is an amazing filmmaker whose one stumble was "Suspect Zero", but I can't wait to see what he gives us next. I am hoping this film sees a special edition DVD release some time soon so we can learn more about this fascinating film.

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Chad #1: Chad - added 09/19/2007, 03:05 AM
I was just about to go pick this up, but...

6 Used & new from $109.95

Damn, I don't care if it's a special edition or not, but this needs a DVD release.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 09/19/2007, 10:05 AM
I first saw the trailer for this back on the initial VHS release of "Interview With the Vampire". Wow. That long ago.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 09/19/2007, 10:21 AM
I saw a few pieces of this on that 100 Years of Horror DVD. At least I think it was this. Either way, this looks pretty good, and I'll have to start searching for it tonight. Torrents, if need be.
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 09/19/2007, 09:47 PM
Just got the .torrent file today. Gonna watch it now.
Chad #5: Chad - added 11/30/2010, 12:40 PM
Watched this one last night, and my God. There is some great imagery here, but if ever a movie needed to be watched on fast-forward, this would be the one. This seventy-minute movie could be condensed down to ten minutes and lose none of its shock value, so to say that it's glacially slow is an understatement.
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