Hallow-vent Calendar - Day 13: Excision

Welcome to our Hallow-vent Calendar; a horror-film-filled daily countdown to our favourite spooky celebration, Hallowe'en. For Day 13, David Ames dices with Excision...

When I went in search of horror films for this year’s October movie list, the internet was kind enough to gift me with a wonderful mix of both serious and humorous fare. Today’s film, 2012’s Excision, falls firmly into the latter category, mixing awkward and off-kilter humour with gore and body horror to deliver a one-two punch of weird, strange hilarity.

I can’t say for sure as to whether I truly enjoyed it as a movie but I know the experience was a strange trip that I can’t really complain about. Excision follows a disturbed teenager named Pauline who has life goals of becoming a surgeon. She also has violent, sexual dreams and daydreams which jump between the vibe of Nip/Tuck and Silent Hill. I don’t want to jump too far into the plot because that was, for me, the best part of the film, but I will say that the movie tackles the ideas of female sexual awakening and mental disease in both messed up and hilarious ways, while maintaining a serious heart.

While there are some serious high points in this movie, I have to say that my favorite parts were the high angle shots where Pauline prays to God. They are both witty and insightful and contain great dialogue such as:

“l know l don't believe in you. So you're totally justified if you choose to ignore me. I just-- I've been meaning to get something off my chest. l haven't read your book in its entirety. Just can't bring myself to invest that much time into a work of literature that's received so many mixed reviews.”


“Dear God, one thing I've been thinking about. The whole thing about relatives watching over you after they die really rubs me the wrong way. l do a lot of crazy shit while I'm alone and I'd appreciate some privacy. l don't want to sound presumptuous. But if l do get into heaven and my relatives have been watching over me, a lot of relationships will have been compromised.”

The gore presented is done so with style, usually with the backdrop of a pure white operating room, giving the red a chance to really stand out and to build on the surgeon fantasies of the protagonist. She doesn’t fit in anywhere and so in her dreams, she is the dominant one. She belongs in her own mind and so she stays there. With a mother who refuses to get her psychological help and instead sends her to a creepy, borderline paedophilic preacher, played by famed character actor John Waters. There is a particularly moving scene where Pauline hears her mother scream that she is a menace and unlovable and it is truly heartbreaking.

AnnaLynne McCord is great in her role as the apathetic yet disturbed and lonely main character who seems to hate and despise everything except her twisted fantasies, which bring her to orgasm and give her some sort of control of her life. Her mother, played brilliantly by Traci Lords, is overbearing, forceful, and domineering, effectively ruining both the lives of Pauline and her father.

If you want to watch a film that is funny, gross and strangely moving, Excision is definitely worth your time. The movie itself has a wonderful mix of the comedy and the serious and in the end, we are presented with a truly sad look at a damaged person who needs help but never truly receives it.

Image - IMDb

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