Visions of Evil From a Disturbed Mind. “Lung” review!


An unidentified man, wearing medical scrubs and gloves, wanders through town, encountering hellishly gruesome scenes of death.  He wanders barefoot through a  ghastly journey that might figuratively expresses his back story of how he came to witness such visions and be relatively undisturbed by the horror they represent.  The filthy, gory, and ill-fated moments might also be hallucinations brought upon by a traumatic occurrence that wrenches him out of reality and into grisly purgatory.  Either way, the nameless man is a lost soul with no ambition, no emotion, and no direction to guide him through an inner conflict of blood-soaked entombment.

Unearthed Films’ 2-disc collector’s edition of “Lung I” and “Lung II” continues with the distribution company’s legacy of delivering the best underground cinema to the forefront of home entertainment.  Phil Stevens, director of positive-reviewed “Flowers,” writes, stars, and directs both feature films about the wandering man in a foggy, distorted haze, but “Lung II” is not a sequel to “Lung I.”  Instead, “Lung I” is the softcore version of events whereas “Lung II” is a hardcore redux – think along the lines of “The Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead II” – that’s much more detached from rationality and by collaborating with “American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock’s” Marcus Koch seizing upon the special effects, you can damn well count on “Lung II,” and certainly “Lung I” as well, being bare-faced dark, violent, and twisted. In more a sequential reality, “Lung” is part of the Phil Stevens’ proposed trilogy entitled the Violence of Dawn with “Flowers” leading the horrific charge. This review will focus more on “Lung II.”

Stevens stars as the unnamed lead, waking up lost under a creek bridge, dressed in medical scrubs, and haunted by unspeakable, bloody post-violence mayhem while continuously battling his evil doppelgänger self. Is this just a strange nightmare or a telltale sign of this man’s troubled past? Then, again, Stevens’ impassive take feels more like wandering through one hell of a dream, an endless journey into one’s post-traumatic warped mind rather than spelunking into one of a murderous soul’s, even if one of the moments of trauma could be his wife – or girlfriend – cheating on him and he catches her in the act with ill-fated consequences. Characters also related to the medical profession, such as a psychologist (David Copping) and quick flashes of a nurse (Angela Jane), are a part of this visceral vision quest. Finally, we come to The Exile character. The Exile might sound familiar if you’ve read my review on “Flowers” as he’s the only character, portrayed once again by Bryan W. Lohr Sr., that connects the two films. The Exile continues to mystify us about his presence, an extremely large and intimating brute with a deathly blank stare and a “don’t fuck with me” attitude.

Unlike “Flowers,” Stevens went the devoid of color route, constructing a black and white feature that, like “Flowers, goes without as much as a sentence of dialogue. Actions, expressions, and every sense of the word “art” tell the story. Non-linear editing and brutally realistic scenes of savagery in the confines of special effects exercise and sparks your brain’s neurons to try spitfire pieces together to cement a coherent narrative. Stevens is almost able to re-tap into and revitalize the silent film genre with “Flowers” and “Lung”, and with the help of a vehement brooding score by Mark Kueffner, I believe this type of experimental horror story telling can fascinate just about anyone without a weak stomach.

Unearthed Films and MVDVisual’s 2-disc DVD collector’s set a beautifully monochrome piece of art with roached infested severed heads, a halfway decomposed homeless man, and a pile of refrigerated sexual organs meshed together like something out of Brian Yuzna’s “Society,” but more gnarly. Im interested to see how Paradis, aka Paradis III, comes to conclude the trilogy and see how Unearthed FIlms releases Phil Stevens’ visionary tales. The Borderline Cinema and Extreme Horror Cinema “Lung” is comprised of two discs that entail “Lung I” Feature Film, “Lung II” Feature Film, Directors Commentary, Editors Commentary, Isolated Sound FX Track, Making of Lung 2 (which is very informative and fun to watch underground cinema come to the fold), Mark Kueffner: Lung Composer Featurette, Martin Trafford: Artwork Featurette, “Cats” Short Film, “Descent” Short Film, and Unearthed Trailers. “Lung” will not tickle everybody’s taste; surely sick and part of a niche network of darkly persuaded and humored people will most likely get it, but there’s still very much to appreciate here from director Phil Stevens and his eye for detail and disturbia. This gore and shock is worth a look and worth a chance.

Buy LUNG at Amazon!

An Evil Bouquet of Purgatory. “Flowers” review!

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Six dead women relive pieces of their previous mucky lives embodied in one seamless soul that’s trapped in the literally gory innards of their serial killer’s home. Forcibly held in the limbo of a filthy purgatory, each woman find themselves in a different, and extremely hellish, part of the house and each carry the same gruesome autopsy laceration across the front of their chest, crudely stitched together and coming apart at the seam ready to pop open their insides at any moment. Unknown to why their confined, an ill-fated reason develops at the end of the maze’s demented journey through the home made of severed body parts, decorated with pieces of human tissue, filled with decomposing bodies, strewn with ghastly entrails, and drenched with blood.
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Director Phil Stevens composes an avant-garde horror story orchestrated with no dialogue what so ever through the duration and spatially effective in close, uncomfortable quarters . Certainly unique from anything else I’ve ever witnessed, “Flowers” doesn’t apologize for being overly gory and disgusting, pursuing a stomach-churning reaction from all allegoric angles. Slip-and-sliding through the murderous muck and goop, each of the six dead women seem hysterically unfaded, yet more intriguingly curious to their surroundings, even if that means putting their hands through a tonnage of viscera and ripping their own flesh open. Indie films like Phil Stevens’s “Flowers” will never catch the eye of most mainstream audiences and will never know of their existence, but a few lucky viewers, like myself, get to experience the surreal work from the horror underground. Fans of Marlan Dora’s “Cannibal” or Jörg Buttgereit “Nekromantik” will revel in “Flowers’s” grisliness and gloomy nature.
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The cast is made up of six alternative lifestyle women, each one credited only as Flower 1 through 6, and take up a particular different segment and sprinkled into their story is their merciless and necrophiliac killer, only credited by the name The Exile. In sequential order, the Flowers are played by Colette Kenny McKenna, Krystle Fitch, Anastasia Blue, Tanya Erin Paoli, Kara A. Christiansen, and Makaria Tsapatoris and the killer is played by Bryant W. Lohr Sr. The majority of the actresses take on more than their literal roles in the movie. The physical body horror effects are applied by Anastasia Blue and Krystle Fitch to create open wounds across the actress’s chests and the uncleanliness costumes and wardrobes are provided by Makaria Tsapatoris, whose experience has been from the 15 year participation of the horror season attraction Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.
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The abstract story is intensively focused on the women’s lives rather than their slaughterer The Exile. Their stories are personally tragic as if the Flowers are trying to purposefully or unintentionally ignore real life by way of drug abuse, prostitution, or both. Each actress has to put forth extra effort in their silent performances as dialogue is nonexistent and they’ve successfully compel themselves to act out the scenario, working with their surroundings and being, well, dead. The Flowers may not seem frightened of their killer’s house made of guts, but the Flowers are definitely disgusted, nearly tossing their insides in a few putrid cladded rooms. You may not want to eat while watching some of the segments. Very little is known about The Exile, a very large, but well kept man with a hankering to kill the gutter girls, bathe in their guts, and, sometimes, have sex with their gut-exposed dead body.
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“Flowers” is available in two DVD editions, a standard one disc which is reviewed here and a three disc limited edition set, from Unearthed Films and distributed by MVDVisual. The technical video is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio with a 2.0 dolby digital audio and, frankly, the two channel audio is all “Flowers” needs with no dialogue or major sound effects as a poetic soundtrack guides with harmony mostly through all of the audio work. The image quality is detailed and vividly enticing, but the colors are intentionally dull and for darker scenes that create ebony silhouettes that are practically not visible or coherent; these scenes only deter for only the first 20 minutes of crawling through the house’s bloody undercarriage and won’t ruin the remainder. For only the disc one edition, extras are fairly good with interviews with The Exile actor Bryant W. Lohr Sr., an audition tape of Makaria Tsapatoris, behind the scene stills, an isolated FX track, and commentary tracks with director Phil Stevens and associate producer “Ravage’s” Ronnie Sortor. I recommend the grotesque “Flowers” to any horror fan without a weak stomach and a mind for the abstract!
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