Trash Humpers (2009)

Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers is a calculated annoyance. Seemingly amateur in presentation, juvenile and crude in its humour and utterly headache-inducing in its aesthetics (the hazy image combined with a soundtrack built almost exclusively from a cacophony of screeching voices and madcap cackles) – this is very close to being the cinematic equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. However, despite how off-putting every single one of its elements are, this oddity nevertheless sent me into a cross-eyed trance.

I laughed my through the torture and found myself loving (almost) every minute. Wandering into a Korine movie is usually paired with a feeling of not wanting to stoop to their level by getting in the gutter and embracing the crude, lewd trash he is so smitten with. The universe that is established here – deserted back alleys of Mississippi, all concrete lit by streetlamps clouded by digital noise – as well as its plethora of sad and bizarre inhabitants soon outweighed any resistance I had to Korine’s plea for me to get on board. I found it hilarious, strangely hypnotic and beautiful. The vulgar details Korine finds in the cracks of normality – toenails, smeared condiments and other combinations of solids and fluids – soon amount to a vivid, if fuzzy, depiction of a unique found-footage netherworld. Frightening and wonderful in equal measure. This is a DTV (directed to video) piece of prankster art that you will either love or hate but definitely won’t forget.

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