TAXIDERMIA (2006) – The Dungeon Review!

I love foreign horror films and instantly rent anything new I run in to. I wouldn’t exactly call Taxidermia a horror film though. IMDB lists this as “comedy/drama/horror” which I think is quite fair. It is definitely stronger with comedic and dramatic elements than horror. I’m not entirely sure the average horror fan would even care for this flick. But boy oh boy are there some messed up visuals! It has more than a few disturbing moments and one in particular that made me exclaim “YUCK!” out loud. Taxidermia is three short stories connected by a common thread, in this case bloodline. Three peculiar tales centered around three generations of men.

This first section of the film features several masturbation scenes. We begin at an outpost where soldier Vendel is living on the property with his commanding officer and his wife. The soldier can’t keep his hands off his cock. Nothing wrong with a wank now and again but I would go so far as to say Vendel is a serial wanker. He also has an unsettling obsession with candles. There are some pretty nasty bits in this section but the worst of it for me was The Little Match Girl masturbation segment. It’s a scene that is presented in this light and amusing way and ends up being totally fucking twisted. Hans Christian Anderson probably didn’t have this in mind when he wrote his story. My favourite scene in this section shows the timeline of a bathtub and all the different events that have taken place within. This introductory story is just unpleasant, but it sure did pique my curiosity to see what would come next. Little attention is paid to Vendel’s commanding officer and his wife but by the end of this section, his wife gives birth and we are whisked away to the second story.

There is lots and lots of vomiting in this second section of Taxidermia. Kalman Balatony is the baby born at the end of the first story who has grown up to be a champion speed eater. The story chronicles his speed eating career and his courtship and eventual marriage to Hungary’s female speed eating champion. There is lots and lots of eating in this section and as previously mentioned, a lot of purging. The eating contests are a pretty nasty, sloppy business. We watch man after man vomiting into troughs to make room in their ample guts for round two. This very well may be the most vomiting I’ve ever seen in one film. Even with rivers of vomit this is the most buoyant, whimsical and palatable story of the trio. The love affair between the two eating champs is actually quite sweet and they make a likable duo. This story also ends with a baby being born.

Taxidermia’s third section has a pretty amazing horror film ending! The films final scenes are a real humdinger! The third segment features Lajoska Balatony, the baby born at the end of the second story. The son of the speed eater has grown up to be a taxidermist. Lajoska is a skinny, pale and sickly looking man who keeps to himself and stuffs dead animals for a living. The only personal interaction he has is with his father. The eating champ has let himself get grotesquely overweight to the point of being unable to move freely. Each day Lajoska comes in and cleans up and feeds his father and dumps his waste bucket. Dad also keeps 3 gigantic cats which he is attempting to make into eating champions. The hissing creatures are fat and feral and are cruelly kept in a windowless barred room. The whole bizarre scene inside of dad’s lodging is amusing and gross but pretty bleak too. Endless shots of dead stuffed critters of every shape and size crowd the taxidermist environment. It’s creepy, but damn if it doesn’t feel serene after a visit with dad. The ending as I mentioned is quite the fantastic spectacle. I don’t want to ruin the impact of Taxidermia’s final scenes, so I will say no more than the finale is bizarre, gruesome and fantastic!

Taxidermia is a weird and wonderful film whose visuals are as striking and inventive as they are disturbing. Its visuals are its best asset and the biggest thing working against it. Taxidermia will probably disgust as many people as it pleases. I thought this was a wonderfully unique, funny, and clever film with some over-the-top gross-outs and insane visuals that will stay with me for a long time to come. If you like foreign films that lean heavily towards the strange and unusual I highly recommend checking out Taxidermia!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: György Pálfi

Starring: Csaba Czene, Gergely Trócsányi, Marc Bischoff, István Gyuricza, Piroska Molnár, Gábor Máté, Géza Hegedüs D., Zoltán Koppány, Erwin Leder

12 Responses to “TAXIDERMIA (2006) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. That first screencap can’t possibly be what it looks like, can it…?

    • Daniel – YIP, That is EXACTLY what it looks like!

      Aiden – This is quite the unique film! Sometimes you just have to say I don’t give a shit if people give a shit!

      Will – It’s an odd one, but I really dug it. After the first story I wondered where in the hell this film was going. It really surprised me a few times, and film don’t do that for me too often. Love it or hate, it is certainly a one-of-a-kind flick.

  2. Man, I’m sure I’ve heard of this one before but your review will have me searching endlessly to find it. It sounds terribly disturbing and disgusting but you also manage to make it sound fun. Count me in for this one!

  3. AWESOME! Had this on my queue for ages but haven’t watched it because I didn’t think anyone would give a shit about a Taxidermia review. But, hey, I’m totally gonna watch it now, especially after seeing that first screengrab with the blowtorch cock up there.

  4. bizarre_eye Says:

    It’s certainly a unique film. The first time I watched it, I made the mistake of having a sandwich at the same time – not wise, especially during the ‘eating contest’ scenes!

  5. Yep, not really a horror movie except for the final segment–though I can see how it might appeal to horror fans. The first two segments were adaptations of stories by Hungarian writer Lajos Parti Nagy, and Palfi wrote the third one himself. I suspect there is quite a bit of political/historical commentary going on here that we Americans don’t get. One thing I noticed is that each tale is the tale of a generation under a different political order: Fascism–>Communism–>Capitalism. What to make of that I don’t really know, but I think a Hungarian might recognize references we don’t get.

    • I always watch the supplementary material on DVD’s even if I loathe a film, but I was super anxious to check out Taxidermia’s “making Of” feature hoping to get some insight. But little light is shone on the films meaning, just its making. I think they might mention the Fascism, Communism, Capitalism aspect briefly, or perhaps I read it in a review…probably over at 366 Weird Movies! If I’m not mistaken, I believe it was 366 that tipped me off about this one in the first place. I’m sure there are plenty of historical and social references I missed but I don’t think my experience was altered in any way because of it. Taxidermia was just a fascinating fucking treat!

  6. How coincidental! I think I watched this the day before this review went up.

    I was thoroughly entertained as well. It has a very unique vibe. I thought the music was fittingly creepy and well-placed. Like 366, I sensed some serious ideological overtones, but I haven’t made time to actually contemplate what those may be. And honestly, the movie is so weird and fun that I’m not really compelled to look any closer.

    Fucking/Eating/Taxidermy — Expel/Consume/Eviscerate

    Yeah, sounds like artsy-fartsy Soviet-bloc pessimism…

    • That is coincidental, It’s not like there’s 30 copies of Taxidermia on the new release wall! As a matter of fact, my crummy videostore didn’t even have this film!

      Yeah, the music was great! I wish I had mentioned it. There was plenty going on to contemplate I suppose, but damn, it really was so wonderfully weird and refreshing I wasn’t really compelled to look closer myself!

  7. That first pic! Am I right in thinking that’s…erm…well, what I think it is. More to the point, how is that done. Don’t tell me…I have to watch the film, right? 🙂

    …having had a lot of experience with wankers, the first segment sounds right up my street!

    …what a totally disturbed film…I wonder what Cronenberg would do with a blowtorch cock?

  8. I just saw this and got my review up. It’s a stunning film, and you’re right, it is just one big metaphor for the last 60 years of Hungary’s socio-political history. If you’re curious, here are my thoughts…

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