Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|GWAR Phallus in Wonderland|
Director: Distortion Wells
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Studio: Red Distribution Release Date: 01/08/2008
The greatest piece of sick humor cinema ever created.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If there is any one piece of GWAR media to own, this is it. Simply the most surreal, hilarious, and sick movie that I have ever seen. Filled with awesome GWAR songs from the "America Must be Destroyed" album. I first bought this on VHS back in 1991 and watched it so much that I wore out the tape. Finally, with the DVD version, it can be watched in its full glory! Long live GWAR!"
Music good, production values low
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 12/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard about GWAR a decade or so ago from a friend of mine who considered them an amazing phenomenon. Since I'm quite selective about the heavier types of music that I listen to, I didn't follow up on his advice to check them out. Over the years, I would occasionally hear some arcane reference to this group, but still never got around to giving them a listen. A recent rental excursion--not one of my world famous expeditions but darn close--saw me stumbling over a disc for "Phallus in Wonderland." Sounds interesting, I thought, and then I saw the GWAR tag and decided to finally see what this band looked and sounded like. Uh, wow...I think. There really aren't many words to describe a band that arrives on stage dressed up as gruesome looking monsters in enormous foam rubber suits. The band members have names like Balsac The Jaws of Death, Beefcake The Mighty, Flattus Maximus, Gusher Jizmax, Oderus Urungus, and Slymenstra Hymen. Just so you know, that last band member is the sole woman in the group. At least GWAR is an equal opportunity employer. "Phallus in Wonderland," directed by Judas Bullhorn (!) and Distortion Wells (!!), also introduces us to band manager Sleazy P. Martini. If all of this nonsense isn't enough to grab your attention, wait until you watch the disc.
"Phallus in Wonderland" breaks down into two parts. The first, and probably the most important part, is the music. Lots of GWAR songs here to sink your teeth into, including "Crack in the Egg," "Have You Seen Me," "The Road Behind," "Gor-Gor," "Ham on the Bone," and "The Morality Squad." Most of these tunes aren't bad at all, and they also aren't as heavy as you would think. One song, "The Road Behind," mocks Guns 'n Roses by having one of the band members decked out in attire (including a bandana) highly evocative of lead singer Axl Rose. Another music video spotlights kids rebelling against the hegemony of their parents in particularly brutal fashion. One video shows the scurrilous effects of consumerism in the form of a nauseating cereal commercial. As you can guess, the thematic tone of the songs is typical for this type of band: they blast religion, heap scorn on rampant consumerism (even as the band members profit from it), excoriate moral crusades, mock war, and criticize the legal system. In other words, the lyrics contain nothing you haven't heard before from countless other bands that think they corner the market on satire and social criticism. What's different with "Phallus in Wonderland" is the presentation--you've never seen criticism delivered this way before.
The second part of the DVD tells a story about GWAR arriving in America to stomp out moral crusaders. According to the tale, the United States government seized the Cuttlefish--actually a body part of one of the male band members--in order to launch an obscenity investigation. The prosecutor for the case is one Edna Granbo, an elderly, shrill lady whose penchant for fighting the culture wars knows no bounds. With the help of several authoritarian figures, including a superhero like figure referred to as Corporal Punishment, Granbo plans on destroying the destructive influence of bands like GWAR for all time with the help of her vaunted Morality Squad. This organization also receives assistance from Father Bohab, a religious crusader on a mission to quash rock music. Predictably, the members of GWAR express extreme anger at the behavior of the government/moral crusade alliance. They fly into the country from their base in Antarctica (!) to retrieve the Cuttlefish, and in the process battle the forces of Granbo and Bohab. During the course of the video, we see the courtroom trial of the Cuttlefish, watch GWAR engage in pitched combat with The Morality Squad, and witness the dinosaur Gor-Gor lay waste to a large metropolis.
I'll give GWAR credit; they made a DVD that isn't easy to forget. Although the production values are often laughable due to their crudeness, the imagery is so disgusting that it leaves an impression anyway. All sorts of nasty behaviors are on full display, none of which I can describe in detail on a public forum. In particular, the revelations about Father Bohab's true character almost made me turn this thing off. I initially thought that since all of the characters are puppets or people dressed in what are essentially puppet outfits, it wouldn't be disturbing. Wrong. Jim Henson must be rolling over in his grave regarding the antics depicted in this video. Think a low rent version of Peter Jackson's "Meet the Feebles" and you'll have some idea of what you'll see in "Phallus in Wonderland." If GWAR's stage shows are anything remotely similar to what I saw on this DVD, heaven help us. You would be lucky to get out of the concert hall with your life!
A question I asked after watching "Phallus in Wonderland" is whether I would go out and buy one of GWAR's albums. Well, I haven't, but probably not because of the low production values of this video. In fact, as far as the music went I generally liked what I heard. At least their songs don't consist of inarticulate screeching and roaring set against an impenetrable wall of sludge--I easily understood most of the lyrics here. My problem is that I'm simply getting too old for this stuff. I may check out a few other GWAR DVDs if I run across them in the future, but in the interim I'll stick to listening to decidedly mellower music.
brian | jersey | 06/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"one of the funniest bloodiest movies ive seen. the [aweful] special effects made it o so great. the story was just so stupid that i couldnt stop laughing. ive watched it over n over again an its still just so funny yes. for the true gwar fan"
GWAR-PHALLUS IN WONDERLAND
Surfing Guitarist | United States | 04/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This makes a refreshing change from the norm. in music dvds. More a piece of performance art than a rock show. Not for the squeemish, or overley self-righteous types (or most of your family for that matter). Take it for what it is, (vile, disgusting, and tasteless) and it is a truly inspiring, creative show. They write all of their own stuff, unlike most mindless, mushy, money-making garbage in the charts these days. These creatures take risks and truly suffer for their art...now it's your turn... You have been warned!"