Documentary (US); 1999; Not Rated; 90 Minutes
A documentary featuring genuine footage from actual Cadavers,
as they are brought in to the Coroner's lab (Volume 1)
Produced by Damon Fox and Jim Meyers; Directed
and screenwritten by Damon Fox
Note: "The Coroner's Camera" is not rated,
but contains material that most would find suitable for
an NC-17. Since the MPAA's judgment between violence and
sexuality is incredibly inaccurate, however, they would
probably warrant an R
by DAVID KEYES
is nothing more repulsive than the sight of a rotting corpse.
Some people argue otherwise, indeed, especially when those
corpses died at the cause of a malicious action brought
on by another human being. The fact that a human could brutally
torture a person to death is horrifying, yes, but is it
really more disturbing than the actual carcass, which carries
the everlasting evidence of merciless crimes being committed?
Coroner's Camera," a new release from that ever-notorious
video division Sub Rosa Studios (formerly Salt City Home
Video), explores that tidbit with unthinkable detail. It
is a demanding, hard, disturbing object of filmmaking, so
much so that I have extensive difficulty in finding the
words to write about it. All this might be easier if the
footage were not authentic, because visual effects and makeup
like to exaggerate the obvious. But this is genuine stuff
down to the core; what you see being brought in on the stretchers
is the real thing, whether or not you wish to believe so.
Cadavers are carried out in their most mutilated forms--rape
victims with severed heads, murder casualties sliced from
head to toe, and corpses from airplane crashes with their
skin completely separated from their bodies. Now the task
falls upon me as a critic to review this footage, and judge
its merit. It can be done, but not that easily.
ever actually telling a story, this production (notice that
I do not actually call this a "movie") details some of the
most disturbing cases of human death in a matter of 90 minutes.
The cases are varied in length, as well as in detail. A
rape victim tortured for days arrives with her head severed,
for example. Another is the sight of a body with its head
completely flattened, and the skin completely split from
the skull (it looks like latex, but the thought of it being
real makes us horrified nonetheless). Other causes: animal
attacks, suicides, car crashes, torture, cannibalism, and
fatal beatings. Perhaps none of these victims' death displays,
though, are worse than one incident of satanic ritual, in
which a boy is kidnapped, the skin from his feet ripped
off, and his genitalia sliced with some kind of sharp object
(reportedly, all of this took place while he was alive).
The thought is unnerving enough; the site may cause spontaneous
vomit from viewers with weak stomachs.
we are dealing with here is not so much an actual movie
as it is an actual series of events. By using the footage
from actual Coroner reports, the director Damon Fox has
mapped out a rare, shocking but determined glimpse into
a world where severed body parts are not considered too
adult-oriented for society's eyes to see. The camera knows
what to examine and when to examine this stuff, but sometimes
its tone is undetermined--are the filmmakers exploiting
death, or are they peering into private areas in which the
human body is coldly sliced up to reveal the horror? The
uncertainty lies in the narration; when the person is telling
the audience of the grizzly consequences, it sounds as if
he is getting off at the sight of the decapitation.
genuinely gross footage in movies tends to go for a laugh,
but, to its respect, "The Coroner's Camera" does not try
to look at this stuff from an angle of comedy. Rather, it
is a sharp, biting retrospect of the conditions a pathologist
must endure when examining the remains brought on in to
him. The footage will appeal to those with an interest in
coroners and human anatomy, and as such, I am recommending
it to individuals who posses intrigue over the topic of
people have to prepare for seeing the remains of a human
being in the most dismembered forms. I am not one of those
Note: I cannot give a star rating to "The Coroner's
Camera," simply because the stars are irrelevant here. This
is something that should not be approached as a movie.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.