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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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: 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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