PAZUCUS: ISLAND OF VOMIT AND DESPAIR * Brazil 2017 Dir: Gurcius Gewdner. 111 mins
Prolific Brazilian short filmmaker Gurcius Gewdner extends his repertoire with this interminable two hour assault on the senses, which sets its tone via some faux, vomit-themed poetry and goes downhill from there. After an animated title sequence, we follow the plight of schizophrenic Marcel Mars, who predicts the apocalypse, pukes a lot and hears the voices of monsters from another dimension striving to enter our world.
A young couple on the titular island are among those affected by his rampage. Self-consciously quirky in the worst possible way, PAZUCUS fills out its arduously long running time with what might be the most random shots of wildlife since 80’s slasher THE PREY, alongside spontaneous dancing, a long single-take supermarket sequence involving a Ricky Tomlinson lookalike and deliberately OTT performances that prove as abrasive as the film’s scattershot visual style. The eccentric soundtrack combines 80’s pop music with music from that decade’s iconic horror films (notably THE SHINING, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), while the D.I.Y. creatures and assorted bendy, tin-foil weapons add to the knowing trash aesthetic. All of this multi-coloured, anything-goes mayhem (paying homage to everything from Jodorowsky to Troma) would be OK if it were entertaining and funny – but the schoolboy fixation on shit, puke and piss (incorporating a philosophical turd and a character named the Goddess of Faeces) grows tired quickly, and it’s as obnoxious as Troma at its worst.
Review by Steven West