Trash Humpers

Harmony Korine’s latest film visits the terror within, the alienated and psychotic that breeds within small town America. It’s called “Trash Humpers”, and it’s a comedy. Taking on the approach of a home movie, it exists almost as a found video, rather than as an art piece, with a darker sense of humor than his fans are used to. With his latest “Mister Lonely” (2007) achieving a large budget and star cast, it seems as though Korine’s trying to keep us on our toes. Especially within today’s HD craze, Korine opted for VHS, reverting back to his earlier work “Gummo” (1997) and “Julien Donkey-Boy” (1999) that held a grainy, and certainly more sinister feel.

“Trash Humpers” follows the director and his friends in old folks makeup as they terrorize through neighbourhoods at night. This compilation of short, unrelated segments brings to screen the humping of trashcans or trees, mimicking fellatio on a branch, and other drunken disorder. Korine has stated in interviews that the inspiration for the film came from memories of peeping toms that disturbed his neighbourhood as a youth and his imaginings of people humping garbage cans. He claims to dislike the lengthy process on a larger production, and wanted to go from idea to screening at a much faster pace, which is why his latest has such a rough surface.

Having seen his other works, this film never seemingly gets too outrageous or revolting, and stays more along the lines of randomness. I suppose therein lies the disturbing effect on the public, wondering as to why a band of misfits would force one another to eat dish soap pancakes. Even darker moments, such as a young boy swinging an axe onto a doll’s head, had the audience laughing. It is as if acknowledging it as a Korine film makes it more easily watchable. My personal favorite moments were when the director’s off camera voice repeatedly chanted “Make it, make it, make it, don’t fake it”. I suppose as long as it’s interesting to Harmony, it’s interesting to me.

Harmony Korine’s “Trash Humpers” is in a genre of its own, a sort of ode to vandalism. Recently screened at Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, shortly after its Canadian premiere at TIFF, any subsequent Canadian distribution is unknown for the time being. For Korine fans, it’s obviously a must-see, however blockbuster regulars beware; it is safest to keep an open mind when viewing “Trash Humpers”.

Review by Melanie Lanza