Thursday, December 31, 2020

#2,525. Begotten (1989)


Shot in black and white on 16mm, E. Elias Merhige’s dialogue-free, experimental horror movie Begotten is a shocking, violent look at the myth of creation, which, based on what’s presented here, is every bit as terrifying as death itself.

As the film opens, a masked being, seated in a chair, is slicing its abdomen with a straight razor (the credits list this character, played by Brian Salzburg, as “God Killing Himself”). From its bloodied remains springs Mother Earth (Donna Dempsey), who proceeds to ejaculate the God’s corpse, using its semen to impregnate herself.

Soon after, she gives birth to The Son of Earth (Stephen Charles Barry), and together mother and son wander from place to place, a journey that grows more dangerous with every step they take.

Featuring imagery that is simultaneously hypnotic and disgusting, and influences ranging from ancient mythology to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Merhige crafts an unforgettable motion picture experience, a movie that seems to revel in its own ambiguity while, at the same time, challenging the audience’s perceptions of life and death.

Begotten is not an easy film to watch (it’s both bloody and sexually explicit), but if you have the stomach for it, this unique work of art will leave you with plenty to think about.
Rating: 9 out of 10

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