Monday, 14 June 2010

Ultra Culture Cinema #02: Trash Humpers

Following last month's screening of The Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call - New Orleans, Earth's second-best movie blog Ultra Culture went and did it again last week, showing Harmony Korine's mentalistic weirdgasm Trash Humpers to a perplexed but mostly entertained audience at London's ICA cinema.

As with last month, the film was preceded by daft competitions and random prize-giving dependent on where you were sitting, which meant my decision to occupy an aisle seat in case I had to make a sharp exit from a potentially awful film paid off when I won a Buffalo 66 DVD. In a moment of satisfying karma the lady in front of me who stuck her massive head across quarter of the screen for most of the film took home a Demi Moore VHS.

When Korine himself appeared via liveinterwebcamvidlink to introduce the film and shake a doll at the audience I thought the entertainment had peaked, but then an alarmingly posh young man called Charlie Lyons appeared on screen and did this at us:

Two things became clear after watching this:
  1. "I don't like things which unfold in time" is one of the most baffling things I've ever heard.
  2. Charlie Lyons will one day either be Prime Minister or the subject of an enormous tabloid scandal involving a member of the royal household and an empty bottle of Dom Perignon.
So I suppose I should STFU about all that and pass some comment on the film. It's essentially 78 minutes of four people in grotesque prosthetic masks bimbling about, squawking, teaching children bad habits and trying to have it off with inanimate objects (mostly rubbish bins). It's shot on VHS which looks like it's been through the washing machine, it makes no sense whatsoever and it's still better than Iron Man 2.

Trash Humpers exposes a peculiar underbelly of suburban America populated by misfits and freaks but doesn't pass judgement on them, leaving it to the audience to decide whether to be appalled by or sympathetic to the lives of others. It has something to say (although I've no idea what) about the thin line between creation and destruction, with TVs and stereos being routinely obliterated while the act of procreation is performed on bins full of waste. I'm sure there's something clever in it but I was distracted by one of the Humpers' resemblance to Bo Selecta's Michael Jackson.

Not that you can tell from that murky image. Blame Harmony Korine's video camera.

Often funny, occasionally disturbing but always challenging, Trash Humpers is a refreshing reminder of the power and diversity of cinema. Like having sex with a wheelie bin, you probably won't like it, but if you don't give these things a try you'll never know.

To comment on this post, click here


  1. Natalie Portman14 June 2010 at 14:04

    Who wouldn't hump Orlando Bloom! Quite Right!

  2. I'm curious how it compares in terms of unsettlingness with Gummo?

  3. Phew. For a moment there I thought I was going to have to admit that I haven't seen Gummo.