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Article Archive >> Entertainment

Movies From the Black Lagoon: Anguish

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Anguish - 1986, Rated R

A visually challenged mama's boy goes on a kill-crazy rampage at the behest of his vertically challenged mother in this wild thriller from cult filmmaker Bigas Luna.
The story begins with an eerie sequence, which sets the tone for this mind bender. A portly man named John is cleaning his birdcage when one feathered friend makes a break for it. This startles his mother who is busy cleaning the eyestalk of one of her pet slugs. The pair traps the errant bird behind a cupboard and John who hacks through a section of the wood with a scalpel and then grabs the animal with the aid of Mom who appears to have psychic abilities recaptures it. We are then treated to a day at work with John who assists an optician at a local hospital. Here you get some gruesome eye surgery as well as a socially awkward moment wherein John freaks out when a patient won't sit still for a contact lens fitting. John stumbles home and vents to Mom who encourages him to eat his dinner before placing him under hypnosis. She then sends John out to deal with the troublesome patient.
Turns out that Mom has some ideas about conflict management, which aren't universally accepted. She directs John to the lady's house, her name is actually Mrs. Robinson, and he shows up while the Robinson's are almost out the door for a black tie social. John explains that he has better fitting contacts for Mrs. R and places them in her eyes almost gingerly before ruthlessly slashing her throat. Hubby makes a run for it but gets hacked up too. When John gets home his mom is very happy with her boy but not with the hospital which calls to give John his pink slip. Mom then directs her son to go out and terrorize the city and collect the eyes of everyone he slays.
One minute before the previous sequence the film turns the tables on the viewer by revealing that everything you have just seen is a movie within a movie. The film is called "The Mommy" and a hefty audience, which includes two young ladies named Patty and Linda, is watching it. Meanwhile, the action on screen gets real familiar as John enters a theater and proceeds to hack his way through the patrons one by one. At this point in the action a creepy guy across the aisle also heads out to the lobby. Once there he slaughters the staff and locks himself in with the audience to begin a spree that rivals the on screen bloodletting. Linda manages to escape and get help that arrives just as the police invade the theater for a showdown with John in "The Mommy." Patty manages to survive the ordeal and awakens in a hospital, but get ready for another brain wallop as a certain orderly strolls into her room just as the credits begin to roll.
Horror films like this were not typical of the 80s, which is best remembered for the 'slasher' cycle of horror films. Luna appears to be making a statement about screen violence begetting real violence but it is clear from his methods that he just wants to deliver an entertaining film and he succeeds.
Best Line: "In my opinion there is no way we can establish a dialogue with this guy."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@pennswoods.net.

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