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May 17, 2012

Movie Review: House of Flesh Mannequins (2009)

Directed by Domiziano Cristopharo

Starring Domiziano Cristopharo, Irena Hoffman and Giovanni Lombardo Radice

It really is hard for me to sum up a movie that tries to be 5 different styles of film at the same time. It wants desperately to be an art-house movie, filled with bizarre images and undecipherable symbolism. It all too often wants to be a porn movie, indulging in acts of masturbation, penetration, oral sex and tons of nudity, (think naked masturbating clowns ejaculating on themselves and sex scenes involving blow-up dolls). There are times it wants to be a love story, a horror movie and ultimately a snuff film.

Buy House of Flesh Mannequins at

Now, you would think with all that juicy subject matter this flick would be over-the-top awesome, right? Well, the answer is yes(at times).....and no (most of the time). I walked away with a feeling that the makers of this film probably started out with a list of shocking images they wanted to convey and then as an afterthought tried to create some sort of story-line in an attempt to tie it all together.

The story revolves around the main character Sebastian (Domiziano Arcangeli), a loner artist and film
maker. He spends his days photographing and filming the seediest of things he can find in the world
around him. He spends his nights editing and then masturbating to those images in his private screening room. His past is filled with abuse as his father used him as a guinea-pig in sleep deprivation
experiments, filming every moment of his suffering.

One day things begin to change for him though, as he meets a beautiful girl named Sarah (Irena
Hoffman), who lives across the hall from him. Inviting her into his world, he is surprised to find Sarah has taken an interest in his “work”.

In between the myriad of awkward and pointless dialogs injected into this film, Sebastian has the time
to frequent a bizarre peep-show style theater known as The House of Flesh Mannequins. This is where
we are treated to some pretty strange sex scenes involving amputee's and gas-mask wearing hotties.
There is also a side story involving a fat greasy character whom we are led to believe is involved in
child pornography and who also occasionally purchases Sebastain's work.

Overall, it just felt like an incohesive mish-mash of ideas and even with all the weirdness that was going on, it still managed to be boring for the better part of its duration. Thats not to say it was a complete failure though, the final act was pretty gory, awesome and satisfying. The snuff-film segments were quite brutal and graphic, and the final dream sequence involving Sebastian being eaten alive by a group of naked midgets holding spoons was funny and well done.

The effects were fantastic and pretty much kept this movie from falling on its face. If you are
simply looking for something that's going to shock and repulse with no thought of a story behind it then House of Flesh Mannequins will definitely feed the beast inside you. Gore-hounds with some patience will be rewarded.

The feature itself I would give a 5.5 out of 10, not a great movie but one that Iam sure will appeal to
some out there. With that being said, the meat & potato's of this dvd are in the extras. Included is a
great little documentary on the special effects used in the movie. It was interesting, funny and well
done. Also included are the five full versions of the snuff-film scenes used in the movie. Each one is
outrageous and absolutely brutal. With the final one being so fucked up I wont even attempt to describe it. (Ok, thats a lie.....think power drills, giant fish hooks and hot goth chicks) The extras I would score a 9 out of 10 so when weighing the entire package, overall this dvd scores a respectable 7 out of 10. You will have to wade through some bullshit but the goods are there if you want to work for them.

Reviewed By KennyB


  1. I enjoyed this movie: it really tried a different path, mixing genres, but for me Art does not have limitations, and it speaks to whomever can listen to it! I must agree it is not a movie for everyone, but i'd advice it to all mature audiences who are researching something different and at the same time,visually outstanding, and new perspectives: without creative artists like the ones involved in this production, films would never evolve!
    Great cinematography and excellent touching performance by Domiziano Arcangeli!
    PS: A note for Kenny: Domiziano Cristopharo is the director and author, while Domiziano Arcangeli is the star and producer of the film:it looks like you got them confused in your listing above :)

  2. This was among the most pretentious and awful films I have EVER seen! It starts out as a no-budget remake of Michael Powell’s PEEPING TOM (1960) and then degenerates into lame XXX-rated porno in order to maintain viewer interest. The photography is continually out of focus, the sound recording is inaudible, blah blah blah. Don’t go in this HOUSE.