Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(inspired by the novels of Jean Genet with quotations from "Miracle of the Rose", "Our Lady of the Flowers" and "Thief's Journal"),
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Safe (1995)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An affluent and unexceptional homemaker in the suburbs develops multiple chemical sensitivity.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris
Short | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Merrill Gruver, Michael Edwards, Melissa Brown
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Christian Bale
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert
Swoon (1992)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The true story of gay lovers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. who kidnapped and murdered a child in the early 1920s for kicks. The plot covers the months before the crime, the ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Kalin
Stars: Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, Ron Vawter
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Ruminations on the life of Bob Dylan, where six characters embody a different aspect of the musician's life and work.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger
Dottie Gets Spanked (TV Short 1993)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Another dazzling suburban phantasm from writer-director Todd Haynes, Dottie Gets Spanked (made post-Poison and pre-Safe) is a stylized, bittersweet nod to his childhood fascination with I ... See full summary »

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: J. Evan Bonifant, Barbara Garrick, Julie Halston
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Luke is a gay hustler. Jon is a movie critic. Both are HIV positive. They go on a hedonistic, dangerous journey, their motto "Fuck the world".

Director: Gregg Araki
Stars: Mike Dytri, Craig Gilmore, Mark Finch
Mala Noche (1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Tim Streeter, Doug Cooeyate, Ray Monge
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963.

Director: Christopher Munch
Stars: David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack
Goo (Video 1991)
Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Directors: Ray Agony, Tamra Davis, and 7 more credits »
Stars: Karen Disney, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore
The Suicide (1978)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Bullied boy, left by his father, supported by a over-optimistic and naive mother, tries out life in a new school.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: David Blaikie, Trudy Felton, Allen Haynes
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edith Meeks ...
Felicia Beacon
Millie White ...
Millie Sklar
Buck Smith ...
Gregory Lazar
Anne Giotta ...
Evelyn McAlpert
Lydia Lafleur ...
Sylvia Manning
Ian Nemser ...
Sean White
...
Jay Wete
...
Dr. MacArthur
Marina Lutz ...
Hazel Lamprecht
Barry Cassidy ...
Officer Rilt
Richard Anthony ...
Edward Comacho
Angela M. Schreiber ...
Florence Giddens
Justin Silverstein ...
Jake
Chris Singh ...
Chris
Edward Allen ...
Fred Beacon
Edit

Storyline

Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what Richie was like and what led up to the shooting. In the black and white "Horror," a scientist isolates the elixir of human sexuality, drinks it, and becomes a festering, contagious murderer; a female colleague who loves him tries to help, to her peril. In "Homo," a prisoner in Fontenal prison is drawn to an inmate whom he knew some years before, at Baton juvenile institute, and whose humiliations he witnessed. This story is told in dim light, except for the bright flashbacks. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality, strong language and sexual violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1991 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Veneno  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$609,524 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Macaulay Culkin was at one time a possibility for the part of young Broom. See more »

Quotes

John Broom: [V.O] Prison was not new to me. I'd lived in them all my life. In submitting to prison life, embracing it... I could reject the world that had rejected me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
as an experimental juvenilia, POISON throbs with vitality, ambition and knowing archness
16 June 2017 | by (China) – See all my reviews

Queer filmmaker Todd Haynes' debut feature POISON dazzles as a multi-faceted cinematic triptych, three segments: Hero, Horror, Homo, all inspired by Jean Genet's novels (with his texts sporadically materialize on the screen as inner beacons), are intertwined altogether yet each is bestowed with a sui generis visual style that speaks volumes of Haynes' eclectic idioms.

Hero takes the form of a grainy and slipshod pseudo-documentary, interviewing sundry characters about a deadly homicide further confounded by a surreal twist, a 7-year-old boy, shoots his father dead and then wondrously flies away from the window witnessed by his mother Felicia (Meeks), various interviewees recounts the boy's aberrant deportment before the incident, some are startlingly perverse, finally, through Felicia's account, the boy's ascension smacks of something punitive and defiant in the face of family dysfunction and violent impulse, rather dissimilar in its undertone and timbre from that WTF upshot in Alejandro González Iñárritu's BIRDMAN (2014, 7.6/10).

Horror, shot in retro-monochrome and abounds with eye-catching Dutch angles, namely is a none- too-engrossing pastiche of the erstwhile B-movies and body horror, a scientist Dr. Thomas Graves (Maxwell), accidentally ingests the serum of "human sexuality" which he has successfully extracted, starts to transmogrify into a leprosy-inflicted monster, and his condition is deadly contagious, which threats lives around him, especially his admirer Dr. Nancy Olsen (Norman), who against all odds, not daunted by his physical deterioration. In comparison, this segment is less savory owing to its own unstimulating camp, where Hero ends with a subjective ascending, the upshot for a beleaguered gargoyle is nothing but plummeting.

Last but not the least, Homo is plainly a more self-reflexive treatment conjured up à la Fassbinder's QUERELLE (1982), another mainstay of queer cinema derived from Genet's text. A prisoner John Broom (Renderer), grows intimate towards the blow-in Jack Bolton (Lyons), whom he has met before during his stint in a juvenile facility of delinquency, Jack's humiliated past emerges inside John's mind, now it is his turn to exert his suppressed libido. This chapter is as homoerotic as one can possibly imagine, a maneuver Haynes would have unwillingly relinquished en route pursuing mainstream acceptance, one tantalizing sequence of Broom groping an asleep Jack is divinely graphic and atmospherically transcendent.

Credited as an experimental juvenilia, POISON throbs with vitality, ambition and knowing archness, though the end result is far from flawless, it potently anticipates many a Haynes' modus operandi, say, the segmental structure and interview-style in I'M NOT THERE. (2007, 8.0/10), his distinct prediction for the photogenic period setting and outfit in FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002, 9.2/10) and CAROL (2015, 8.9/10), not to mention his latest sortie into black-and-white mystique and paralleled storytelling in the Cannes-premiered WONDERSTRUCK (2017).

Not many can embrace perversity as plucky as Mr. Haynes has done, whether it is a tragedy can easily take place around us in real life, or a man living through his most egregious incubus, or a blatantly idealized contest of one's sexuality (motifs like wedding, saliva and scars are all defying their accepted norms), just like a child's stretching hand in the opening credit, Haynes' first directorial outing jauntily treads through many taboo subjects and in retrospect, vindicates that it will be our profound loss if his talent fails to be acknowledged and utilized in full scale.


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?