Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts ★★★½

"I was thinking of giving it a sad title like "Nature Weeps". You like it?"

Absolutely horrific film that should never have been made but it was and it undeniably rules in all its cruelty. It should come as no surprise that Prosperi was the King of Mondo, as he was the apex predator. He had the unchecked power to claim fiction as fact, rework atrocities as provocations, butcher animals for his photography and sexualise children without interjection.

Then with his sole work of admitted fiction he finally got to bring the world of mondo to himself, all his observed barbarity laying waste to the cities where his exploitations past would screen. To quote Agoraphobic Nosebleed - it's a PCP torpedo, one driven by bestial fury at that. Rats burrow beneath the flesh! Tigers tear limb from limb! An elephant chokes a man to death and then curb stomps his wife! All under the beautiful illumination of Berlin's streets, bringing majesty to decay as the animals roam uncaged from their concrete prisons and find themselves put to the spotlight of streetlamps and emergency services sirens.

Of course, Prosperi's apocalyptic happening proves so harrowing because he actively seeks true death. Once his rats are done mauling stuntmen he'll happily burn them alive and use their smoking corpses as a declaration of disaster. Every reckless car crash proves an exercise in explosive whiplash. And though the human victims left the production with their lives, it wasn't before being buried in mangled gore effects that are barely stitched together through the tendrils of what's left. When Prosperi frames a a cheetah pouncing on a helpless employee you sense the shame of having to reluctantly cut away. Not because the violence was too savage, but because Prosperi was bound by European law and couldn't let a wild beast actually tear apart the actor for sensationalist effect.

And yet in true mondo fashion the finale attempts an awkward "But who are the real beasts!" metaphor in an inane grasp at dignity, one that comes at the expense of a polar bear annihilating an armed militia worth of underage ballet students. Fuck that. Prosperi was a trash person and his trash works better when he accepts that.

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