Hippocampus M 21th
Dir. Alexander Fennert (2014)
A collection of short films about perversion and bizarre sexuality, Hippocampus M 21th pushes the boundaries of fetish and propriety.
CAUTION: THIS MOVIE'S SUBJECT & CONTENT IS EXTREMELY DISTURBING AND/OR BRUTAL. I HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO INCLUDE ANY PICTURES IN THIS REVIEW BECAUSE THEY MAY BE UPSETTING TO SOME READERS. MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Have you ever watched Fear Factor and gotten to the really gross challenges and thought to yourself, hey, I’d really like to try that completely naked? Yeah, me neither.
The ridiculously named Hippocampus M 21th is a series of bizarre vignettes wherein: siblings live out sadomasochistic fantasies wherein they eat human organs; a man tortures barbie dolls with aspirations of graduating to the real thing; bloody body painting occurs; a man has an annoying heroin trip; a woman is really, really into bugs; a necrophiliac psychic practices both hobbies; and there’s a stabby goddamn house clown.
Hippocampus M 21th is the sole film from director Alexander Fennert, because this is not the sort of film you show to people to get them to let you helm other films: this is the film you show the board to explain why they committed you to a psych ward. Sexual fetishes are explored throughout the film, transgressing the boundaries between perversion and sexuality. And, apparently, eating human organs is a sexual fetish now. I’ve been out of the game for way too long.
It’s certainly a weird film, seemingly trying to arouse its audience while grossing them out, and I’m sure more than one viewer will discover something, shall we say, interesting about themselves. We have knife rape (graphically shown, of course), cannibalism, necrophilia, and clowns, all set to classical music with absolutely no dialogue. In fact, the only sound effects we really get outside of the music is that damn clown popping balloons. Although, I suppose that one way to hide a lack of ability in writing dialogue is just simply to not have any (and, I must admit, I’ve seen many movies that would’ve been vastly improved by eliminating all dialogue completely.) It’s relatively well produced and directed, though it drips with pretension. It’s an avant garde oddity, and, quite plainly, it’s just gross.
The film reminds me of Begotten in a way, in that you can tell that Fennert thinks that he’s super artistic. Generally, I’ve found that the more artistic someone thinks that they are, the more their work just reeks of self-superiority. This film is absolutely no different. You know the old saying about art, and how you’ll know it if you see it? Well, I know that this was art, I just don’t really see why it needs to be a thing at all. I understand that there’s art being presented, but I’m left to question its validity and necessity. There comes a point where your “art” is not something that makes the world a better place, and if it makes people question your sanity, sometimes that’s a good time to call it quits. Granted, with those parameters we would’ve lost out on some great art from some of the true masters of the discipline, but I can pretty much promise you that Fennert is not one of those masters, and more than likely never will be.
Why is the movie called Hippocampus M 21th? Well, the M is in reference to Fritz Lang’s film, of which Fennert is apparently a huge fan. The 21th part is because its the 21st century (not entirely sure where the “th” came from). And the Hippocampus part… well, they needed some way to indicate what part of the psyche is disturbed in someone who found this film appealing. It’s a film about perversion, but it spends much more time focusing on the perverted than analyzing their perversions. And hey, whatever strokes your goat or whatever, but like… come on, really? Bugs? That’s just fucking gross, man.
Who this movie is for: Extreme film fans, Psychosexual horror lovers, Kink shamers
Bottom line: There comes a point where psychosexual horror is just too much. Far be it from me to tell someone that their film shouldn't be made, but really, this film shouldn't have been made. It's only worth a watch if you want to discover the sexual fetishes that you really shouldn't have, but art is art I suppose.