Anyone who sits down with a movie directed by “Kids” scribe Harmony Korine should know what to expect: a small group of ugly people engaging in a variety of ugly acts for their own demented amusement. “Trash Humpers” is perhaps the least accessible movie Korine has lensed thus far, and it should only be approached by those who are willing to forgive the film its shortcomings. After all, there’s really no plot to speak of, and what passes for dialogue is either incomprehensible or downright bizarre. However, those who don’t mind watching elderly sociopaths wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting residents of Nashville, Tennessee will probably enjoy every demented moment of this truly unique motion picture.
Here’s the setup: A small cluster of wrinkly suburban degenerates spend almost all of their free time dry humping random objects and giving violent hand jobs to the local plant life. Sadly, that’s about all you get in terms of story, and even that is stretching the term substantially. Sandwiched in-between these psychosexual freak-outs are a number of cinematic non sequiturs, which range from bits of laughter brought on my discarded toilets to random acts of extreme violence. These fiends seem to exist in their own little worlds, a decidedly peculiar universe where normalcy takes a back seat to degenerate behavior and unrestrained lunacy. It’s fun to watch if you can tolerate the film’s numerous annoyances.
The proverbial glue that holds all of this unbridled nonsense together is Korine’s unconventional presentation of the material. The entire film appears to have been recorded by an unmedicated maniac who just so happens to own a camcorder produced sometime during the late 80’s. Instead of trying to arrange these moments into some sort of narrative, Korine opts to piece them together haphazardly, often cutting away from scenes when you least expect it. The result is something akin to a fever dream; every random act of depravity seems surreal, creepy, and none of it ever seems to make much sense. I’m sure Korine was attempting to make some sort of statement with “Trash Humpers”, but it works much better as a very peculiar, very unusual horror picture.
Although Korine’s peculiar directorial style and his desire to make the entire production seem like a cheap home movie are definite selling points, it’s really his brave, uninhibited cast that make “Trash Humpers” so damned appealing. Nobody seems to be even remotely bothered by the subject matter, even when they’re rubbing their respective crotches on unsuspecting trees in plain view of other people. That, I think, is what makes the picture so creepy: despite the outlandishness of their actions, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find someone thrusting obscenely against my shed during the wee hours of the morning. Korine may think he’s delivered a thought-provoking commentary on social deviancy in America, but he’s actually delivered one of the most oddball horror flicks I’ve seen all year.
I am painfully aware of the fact that not everyone is going to appreciate “Trash Humpers” the way I do, and that’s perfectly okay. In fact, the audience for something as intentionally bizarre as this is probably quite small. That having been said, those who purposely seek out this sort of nonsense will no doubt have a blast with it, especially if they consider “Gummo” to be one of the crowning cinematic jewels in their digital video disc collection. Korine is a master of the macabre, a demented mastermind who revels in his ability to assault your senses from every possible angle. “Trash Humpers” is a subversive delight, though I would be extremely surprised if anyone felt the same way.
Harmony Korine (director) / Harmony Korine (screenplay)
CAST: Paul Booker