The blithely grotesque Taxidermia certainly isn’t for everyone. Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi uses three connected stories to explore the tenuous relationship between our bodies and ourselves, and similar to Nacho Cerda (Aftermath), Palfi is more than willing to take the audience places they don’t necessarily want to go. In short, the easily offended need not apply.
The first story concerns sexual frustration, as Vendel, an orderly serving in WWII, fantasizes constantly about the various women he encounters, sometimes masturbating so furiously that flames shoot out of his erect penis. (Hey, it happens sometimes.) When his fantasies remain frustratingly unfulfilled, Vendel is forced to turn elsewhere for sexual satisfaction…
In the second story, two competitive eaters desire the same woman. Kalman, always self-conscious about his weight, has finally found his niche in society through eating competitions. When his impending marriage to a fellow fatty is threatened by a horny teammate, Kalman must step up to the plate to defend his eating prowess…
Palfi’s final tale involves a reclusive taxidermist. Forced to take care of his morbidly obese father (Kalman, from the second story), lonely son Lajos is left without much of a social life. Summarily ignored by the supermarket cashier he’s crushing on, the pale-skinned Lajos spends most of his time in his elaborate home taxidermy office, stuffing things, feeding his fat-ass father, or breeding giant house cats(!). Despondent and depressed, Lajos yearns to apply his taxidermy skills to an artistic project, something so amazing, his legacy will never be forgotten…
Visually striking, with some mind-blowingly surreal special effects, Palfi’s movie never fails to captivate, even as it lingers on the more grotesque aspects of human life. Those willing to wade knee-deep into Taxidermia should come equipped with a tolerance for vomiting, wang shots, bestial necrophilia, Jerry-Springer-caliber obesity, disembowelment, and all manner of awesome, awesome debasement. Of the three tales, only the final story lands decidedly within the horror genre, but the entire film stands proudly as a stylish tableau of perversion and excess.
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