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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BERSERK


Berserk has no gay characters, but it is camp in its purest form. This glorious, glorious film depicts a series of murders at a low-rent circus run by the makeup-caked, deathless corpse of late-career Joan Crawford. Who could be committing the murders? Could it be Joan herself, the ringmaster with drawn-on eyebrows that grow more suspicious-looking as the movie lurches forward? Could it be the angry dwarf with the weirdly inauthentic British accent? Or could it be any of the other sweaty, hammy actors slumming it as sweaty, hammy circus performers? The answer in revealed in the most sudden, jarring ending of any film I’ve ever seen.

But before we get to the ending, we have to sit through long stretches of actual circus performances. For example, there’s a five-minute-plus scene of dog tricks, peppered by audience reactions to illustrate how much more the film audience is enjoying this show than the real audience is. There are so many scenes of non-fatal circus performances, I felt like I had stumbled across a bad remake of the already-pretty-awful Greatest Show on Earth.

Those scenes are awful, but their needlessness in no way cancels out the apeshit insanity of the rest of the film, which is a long parade of huge performances, nonsensical drama, and circus-themed death scenes. This film is a spray can full of faux-cheese. Watch it if you want to fill up on empty calories.

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