A Glimpse of Hell / Homunculus Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Andrey Iskanov
A Glimpse of Hell
Written & Directed by Andrey Iskanov
13 Minutes, Unrated
Some live people...
...and some dead ones
Written & Directed by Alex Shevchenko
6 Minutes, Unrated
Ah, the wonders of the internet. Not only can you keep in touch with filmmakers, but out of the blue they can send you news about their latest projects. Andrey Iskanov (Nails, Visions of Suffering) goes one further; he sends whole films. And that’s how I came to watch Andrey’s A Glimpse of Hell / Homunculus, created by his close friend and collaborator Alex Shevchenko. and the oddly titled
They’re two strikingly different, but equally disturbing, short features. Homunculus sees a man’s nightmarish vision of his own suicide and rebirth. Shot in monochrome, and entirely free of dialogue, it’s an unsettling five minutes of creepiness. What’s quite remarkable is that it is a one man show, quite literally. Alex Shevchenko is credited for everything in the closing titles; actor, director, editing, special effects, and of course his trademark musical score. In soviet Russia, you don’t make the movie, the movie makes you.
Andrey’s A Glimpse of Hell takes an entirely different direction. Billed as a ‘short documentary about death’, it is filmed in a small room, no more than ten feet by eight. The room is lined with stainless steel and piled on the floor, and on shelves attached to the wall, are corpses. Dozens of corpses.
“There aren’t any special effects in A Glimpse of Hell”, Andrey told me “all the corpses are real. It was morgue for the unidentified bodies of homeless people.”
The film is like a short Faces of Death style mondo movie. And there’s something morbidly fascinating about seeing what the camera sees as it wanders around the room, randomly filming the dead. Some bodies lie, faces contorted with their eyes open, the beginnings of putrefaction showing in their skin. Others lie peacefully, eyes closed as if sleeping. They could be merely resting ? only the stitched up autopsy wounds that zig-zag from neck to pelvis reveal the fact they’ll never wake.
While the camera sweeps the room, a narrator talks about the sights on screen. Although the narration is in English, it is difficult to understand as it is rendered inaudible in parts by an echo effect. This is a shame, because the parts I did catch appeared to be both interesting and philosophical on the topic of death.
Audio, video and special features not rated as this was a preview
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