Mary is possessed by a powerful demonic entity that forces her father to inflict a Columbian necktie upon himself. Cue a seemingly endless conveyor belt of gullible priests coerced into enduring hideous levels of mental and physical desecration. Can Mary’s soul be saved, or will everyone perish under a tsunami of religious abuse, bodily fluids and vital organs?
Visualise your expectations of The Song of Solomon and put them on their lowest settings and you will find much to enjoy in this visceral chum bucket of filth. Although there are broad splashes of humour, both intentional and otherwise, this is a film sheltering under the blood-drenched umbrella of the American Guinea Pig project. Itself a resurrection of the infamous Japanese series, that still stands today as a paragon of grisly nihilism, it comes as no surprise that this flick is relentlessly bleak.
The Song of Solomon is at its most intellectually sophisticated when it massages the controversial sexualisation of the Hebrew scrolls its title references and at its most base when crowbarring in theological rape. And, whilst the narrative is transparently derivative the execution is definitely not. Many of the tropes of the genre are over mined but the pivotal set pieces are nefariously inventive and achieve originality through sensory shock and awe.
The effects from the usual suspects of the underground gore scene are satisfyingly over the top. As usual with this type of flick, it is as much the twisted ideas and ingenious application behind the violence as the actual depiction that both disturbs and entertains. Aficionados of extreme cinema will find the body count high enough to justify the price of admission and much of the throat rummaging and optic trauma is truly spectacular.
There is a reason Jessica Cameron is so preposterously prolific within the horror genre and that’s because she is a supremely committed actress. She brings a caustic flirtatiousness to the role of Mary that diverts from the films budgetary impediments and holds the attention hostage. The rest of the cast struggle in her shadow but nobody labours under the illusion that this is an ensemble piece.
As mentioned earlier, there is some light relief to be had in some stupendously bad dialogue and screw-fixed plotting. Each of the pressganged priests is issued with an exponentially implausible holy artefact with which to battle the pesky hellion. The notion that a golden bible of Antioch could be casually half-inched from an Easter service will give you a giggle. By the time we reach a rosary made from the bones of the saints themselves, you will find it tough to suppress full-on guffaws.
Unavoidable idiosyncrasies like these and more will prove a deal breaker for some film fans. But, for many, they will be viewed as the charming effluviums of low budget filmmaking and badges of honour worn by those daring to operate off the grid of convention.
The Song of Solomon is a lurid example of no-frills and even less fucks given filmmaking. If it’s deep ruminations on the controlling power of belief systems and acting masterclasses you are after then give this disgusting film a wide birth. You will just feel like a short-changed tourist. However, if rubbernecking at the regurgitation and reingestion of major organs triggers you to a happy place then it’s the cinematic equivalent of your spirit animal.
This is exactly the kind of low budget cult viewing experience destined to be inflicted upon the unsuspecting by the mischievous for decades to come. Which one would you rather be?
Bradley Hadcroft |
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Extreme gore, possession, horror| USA, 2017 | 86 mins | – Strong bloody scenes, distressing images throughout | Unearthed Films | DVD & Blu-ray – Out Now| Dir. Stephen Biro| Cast. Jessica Cameron, Scott Gabbey, David E. McMahon | Buy