d. Jason Gary, Greg Jacobson
Modify seeks to explore the lives of those who modify their bodies, from the simple to the extreme. But what it really does is bring the mondo film into the 21st century. With the various montages extreme plastic surgery, slicing flesh, insane piercings, suspensions and implants of every sort, this is a gore show of the highest order masquerading as a serious look at a lifestyle documentary.
The movie starts off with a small thesis that modification can be anything from tattoos, to extreme implants and piercings to body building and plastic surgery. We then spend some really unpleasant time with some surgeons who seem like nice people, but their comments are made moot because theyare played over a long montage of outrageously gory surgery footage. Scenes of breast implants, eyelids being cut off, liposuction, labia being construction, huge stomachs being removed and just flesh being cut, torn, sucked and rendered endlessly.
"Here Kitty Kitty. It's time for my next procedure..."
The next big section deals with extreme piercing and body suspension. A theme that seemed to have really took hold in the era this documentary was made around 2005. I remember seeing the troop covered in this movie first on the extras of the movie HELLRAISER in 1999, but from then until this doc it seemed to exploded. With hundreds of suspension performers the lifestyle seems to have a permanent foothold these days. Though certainly not to the extent the gentleman in the movie claim where he says there are hundreds of thousands of people in American doing it.
We meet a young man who has started modifying using his artistic vision as a sculptor and his biology background by doing implant work using Teflon and silicone. He also shows off his surgical tools he has sculpted himself. Seems that he is a real life version of a character from a Cronenberg movie.
Once the movie moves into the mid-section of the discussion of modification mutilation a lot of the interviews take a nosedive with man of the participants dropping in I.Q level. Up to the point 95% OF the interviewees have been very intelligent folks. But suddenly we get some people who claim to work the sideshows who say things like “I am a cynical nihilist, but I really don’t know what that means. I heard Flea explain it once though”. The opinions on what equals mutilation against modification seems to vary wildly from each person, but all of them seem to agree the line is drawn where people can’t really decide for themselves of it the modification will impair the lives of the person in some way.
We spend another uncomfortable amount of time with a fully tattooed dude as he pushes beads into the flesh of his cock in a bloody mess of a scene and then meet several other people who have sliced up their wieners into strange positions. Interestingly enough most of the modified people admit that their lifestyle is an addiction and openly discuss that thy feel that want it more and more. A doctor has a cockimamee explanation saying it is some defeating fear bullshit. But most of them seem to understand it is a endorphins rush combined with a need for something more extreme. A natural high. The extreme plastic surgery cases obviously have something bigger going on though.
There is a short interview with groundbreaking modifying Fakir Moustafir who was the original person at the ground floor of the movement. He discusses a lot of the so called spiritual sides of things involved in this. He also goes into a rant about how if people are willing to modify themselves they are radical enough to take to the streets and effect change I the world and that is why society thinks they are dangerous. Which is why they try to legislate these sort of things. I think he is overstating things more than a little bit.
In the last third of the movie we get to see a tongue split into two halves, a cock split in two halves a a full sexual reassignment surgery all in the discussion of how modification is being legislated in weird ways. But this is more of the big time Mondo footage and some of it REALLY hard to get through. The tough split it especially hard to watch and actually doesn’t go a long way towards the discussion that the procedure shouldn’t be regulated.
The discussion of religion comes down tot pretty much only Jim Ward of The Gauntlet only comes off not sounding like a prentious dufuss. Everyone else sounds like a typical artshool airhead with too lofty self-importance on the subject. Which is why it probably shouldn’t have even been asked in the first place.
Naturally it all ends with another music video montage of the best and the nastiest moments, with a song called “Unforgettable” playing. The sound bytes try to convince us that the bottom line is about having an open mind and not judge people. Which is all nice and good. But the bottom line is REALLY we just saw a major gore filled freakshow of modern day epic proportions that something like FOX wish they could get away with showing if the censors would allow all the bleeding sliced open breasts and split cocks on TV.
Review © Andrew Copp