Summer is fast approaching and Harmony Korine—the polarizing Nashville-based filmmaker irresponsible for directing Gummo and scribing Kids—has returned to combat the season’s flabbier atrocities. For everyone’s information, Korine believes his latest movie, Trash Humpers, should not be referred to in the press or elsewhere as “a movie” or “a film.” I think I see his point. I mean, after all Humpers doesn’t contain a shirtless Vince Vaughn tripping over models in Ibiza or Egyptian robot rockets penetrating a CGI brick wall that turns into sand. But since the not-a-movie is receiving a theatrical release this summer, I asked him to elaborate. Korine said Humpers might as well be projected into a toilet bowl or mailed anonymously to a closeted politician. And then he said something profound about granny’s undergarments and snickered like an asthmatic hick with dementia.
It’s the same asthmatic snicker heard in Trash Humpers, a sound horrifying enough to make “a grown man jump from a ledge,” as Korine comments below. Directed and edited to approximate a found VHS from hell, Humpers stars Korine and pals as three elderly degenerates with poor dermatology and a recreational interest in dumpster fornication and murder. Any semblance to narrative exhibited in his past works, including 2007’s Mister Lonely about a Michael Jackson impersonator, has been blown up like cherry bombed synapses. Humpers is a canvas for Korine’s obsession with disorienting repetition, inbred culture, and dysfunctional imagery. He wants to imprint the viewer’s brain with new moods, however terrible or tedious. And Humpers seems meant to occasionally alienate and punish the viewer, not for preferring popcorn to art or vice versa, but for believing there’s sense in making sense of anything.
Hunter Stephenson: Have you visited your tax man?
Harmony Korine: Have I what? Did I visit the tax man?
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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a SXSW premiere for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview. We just heard Robert Pattinson dies from being inside the WTC on 9/11 in his new classic Remember Me. Please email screengrabs.
Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers has more in common with the irreverent filmmaker’s chicken-scratch collage book The Collected Fanzines than with his 2007 narrative Mister Lonely. Since it premiered unexpectedly at last year’s TIFF, speculation has persisted over whether or not Humpers contains anything resembling a traditional plot. The answer is a “no” complimented with beer-aided flatulence and the shattering of florescent light tubes. There is less plot and character development here than in the director’s experimental masterwork on fly-over-state human waste, Gummo. And stylistically, Humpers is less documentary-cum-social study and more like a nasty but minor freak-flag ode to “found” aesthetic; a film made to look like a VHS tape recorded by three giddy old people with destructive, and eventually murderous, tendencies.
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Update: Variety just posted another positive review: “[The film is] riveting beyond all rationality, is something like Jackass, except that here the stunts are dangerous only to standards of good taste — which, of course, is precisely the point. …perverse beauty. …Across the board, tech credits are appalling — in a good way.”
One movie we’re surprised and stoked to see readers curious about is Trash Humpers, the new Harmony Korine “VHS-horror” flick. Part of the appeal thus far is the bizarre dubiousness resulting from only a handful of stills (like the one above) released online and then followed by a rickety, creepy teaser trailer. Rather than be snagged in another tired viral campaign for a film “found in a mad scientist’s dilapidated laboratory” or some lame Hollywood shit like that, Korine is genuinely a lil’ nuts IRL. And more so in his (word) salad days. So how far into crazy town did the director behind Gummo and the more subdued Mister Lonely go with Humpers? Early reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival seem to say: none more crazy. The title is literal. And we’re a lil’ relieved to hear the movie has a plot.
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UPDATE: IndieWire has a (non-embeddable) one-minute clip from the film. Appropriately, it depicts trash humping. Safe to say that anyone not convinced by the trailer will be much less so after the clip. Original article follows.
I thought I was familiar enough with Harmony Korine‘s methods and images that I’d never really be taken aback by him again. But when the first images came out from Trash Humpers my reaction was basically, “holy Christ, what is this?” Now that there is a trailer, my reaction is still more or less, “holy Christ, what the hell is this?” Read More »
Earlier this month, we noted in surprise, as did a number of peers on the web, the sudden announcement of a new film from Harmony Korine, the semi-reclusive director of Mister Lonely. Aforementioned surprise arose because the project, entitled Trash Humpers, was already completed, said to be a 78-min feature, and set to premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival. The TIFF has released further details alongside the first photos from Humpers. As seen below, the set pics are John Waters-esque and moderately NSFW. And personally, I find they recall ancient nightmares of Zeke the Plumber on Salute Your Shorts.
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Update: I just spoke with someone at the TIFF and she confirmed that Trash Humpers is indeed a feature and not a short film. It’s official running time is 78-minutes. The film has not yet been rated, but by default, we’re guessing it’s R.
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