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“Invitation to Dance - It’s a Dance. And sometimes they turn the lights off in this ballroom. But we’ll dance anyway, you and I. Even in the Dark. Especially in the Dark. May I have the pleasure?” --- Stephen King ::::::::::: MY CRITERIA FOR DISCUSSION ENCOMPASSES THE HORROR GENRE AND BEYOND, SO I USE THE TERM "NIGHTMARE MOVIES". SPOILERS CAN OCCUR WITH OR WITHOUT WARNING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

American Mary

October 26th 2012 06:22
American Mary movie poster
Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) is a medical student studying and practicing to be a surgeon. Her teacher, Dr. Grant (David Lovgren), is stern and demanding. Mary is struggling to pay her way and desperation leads her to the Bourbon-a-Go-Go strip club where the sleazy owner Billy (Antonio Cupo) makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Before she can say “scarification” Mary has earned herself a tidy wad of cash and the bittersweet taste for the dark side. But her talent with the scalpel slices open a door she will never walk back through. Be careful what you wish for Mary …
American Mary Katharine Isabelle
Katharine Isabelle as Mary
Canadian twisted twin writers and directors Jen and Sylvia Soska have impressed many overseas festival audiences with their sophomore effort. Their debut feature, Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009) was made on the smell of bloody rag, and rampaged its way through the exploitation festival circuit. Now they’ve got a bigger budget and some serious talent in their cast and crew. American Mary (2012) is a dark tale of disenchantment and vengeance.

American Mary Tristan Risk
Tristan Risk as Beatress
If Pedro Almodovar started making moves on David Lynch in a fetish club, this is the kind of movie that would be flickering on the wall. American Mary has the exotic allure of a David Lynch movie, that tenebrous velvet that creeps and lurks and probes and caresses and sometimes tickles. It also has the vivid and controlled melodrama of an Almodovar movie, the kink and perversity, the garish, but smooth design. Cinematographer Brian Pearson gives the movie a slick and fluid lushness.

Katharine Isabelle is superb as the ambitious surgeon, especially in the first half of the movie as she navigates her way around the strange and untrustworthy men and women that she knows and meets, in particular the extraordinary Tristan Risk who plays Beatress. Risk is something to behold in this movie: that visage and accent, her walk, her manner. She steals every scene she’s in. Also of note, though only on screen briefly, is Paula Lindberg. The reason I’m singling these two women out is actually because of Todd Masters’ amazing special effects make-up. Masters is the designer behind the great work on Slither (2006) and Turistas (2006), and many other titles.
American Mary Antonio Cupo
Antonio Cupo as Billy
American Mary deals with body modification, which involves procedures such as bisecting tongues, 3D implants, and genital adjustment (I think I just made that term up). The directors have a featured cameo as two German twins who request an extreme modification from our surgeon protagonist. She indulges them and they are satisfied with their newly stitched bonding.
American Mary Katharine Isabelle
Three-quarters of American Mary is excellent; it’s a shame the final quarter doesn’t follow through. The denouement is rushed and largely unsatisfying – especially on a horror level - considering the intrigue. It’s as if the sisters lost their way and found themselves stranded at the bar, martinis in hand, not knowing how to resolve their weird and wonderful tale. The final image is a most curious one, suggesting some kind of religious subtext that I failed to pick up on. Yes, what does the title really mean?
American Mary Kat</font>harine Isabelle and David Lovgren
Hell hath no fury like a surgeon scorned
As much as I enjoyed Katharine Isabelle's performance I wasn't convinced at all by her extreme psychological makeover. But despite the disappointment with the movie’s ending and with Mary's characterisation American Mary is an impressive and very compelling cinematic experience, and there's no doubt of it not gaining immediate cult status. The use of source music tickles the fancy (classic Rod Stewart anyone?), and although the hardcore modification fetishists will probably roll their eyes at much of what’s on screen, most audiences will lick their lips and savour the movie's nightmarish Euro-tinged fabric.

Twisted Twins

Here’s the trailer:


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1 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Somnuswalk

July 15th 2013 02:00
I love your use of vernacular and turn of phrase- you sir are quite the cunning linguist.

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