AN ENTRY IN THE FOUR HORROR MOVIES OF THE APOCALYPSE BLOGATHON HOSTED BY THE CINEMATIC KATZENJAMMER
Directed by Larry Clark
Story by Larry Clark and Jim Lewis
Written by Harmony Korine
I’ll start by saying right away that this review is written totally from memory. The last time I saw Kids was 4 years ago and before that was in 1996. That’s perfectly fine; you don’t need to see a film like Kids a million times before you can commit it to memory. It only takes one viewing to realize that the spirit of Death resides in nearly every frame of the film. I was disturbed by the film in 1996 and though I had matured I had the same feelings viewing it in 2009.
The titular characters are a gang of teens in New York City and their unrestrained behavior toward sexual activity and substance abuse in the era of HIV in the mid-1990s. If the description of the film sounds similar to the one on Wikipedia that’s because it is; it’s as good a description as any. I don’t intend to focus on the gang as a whole, but instead on two characters in particular, Telly and Jenny.
Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick, Jack and Diane, Sons of Anarchy) is an amoral teen whose sole purpose in life is the deflowering of as many young virgin girls as possible. ”But like, if you deflower a girl man, man, you’re the man. No one can ever do that again. You’re the only one. No one, no one, has the power to do that again”, he tells his friend Casper. His manipulation of their impressionable young minds is a perverse form of art as he coddles them and tells them everything they need to hear to get them to spread their legs. It’s not an understatement when I say that I hated him with a passion unlike any character I have experienced in film at the time of its release.
Jenny (Chloe Sevigny, American Psycho, and Zodiac) receives the life-altering news that she is HIV-positive. “But I only had sex with Telly. I just got tested to keep Ruby company”, is the sad words she tells the clinic nurse who has heard it all from anyone who has received this news. Jenny wallows in self-pity, as is expected; but she makes a commitment to get to Telly and inform him of her diagnosis before he is able to bed anyone else. Does she succeed; sadly, no. It would be pointless to make the earlier statement pertaining to the horseman Death if this film had a happy ending. Jenny is too late to warn Telly. Even worse is when she is raped by Telly’s friend Casper (Justin Pierce, Next Friday, The Big Tease), who is oblivious to her condition. This particular scene alone had such a dark cloud over it that I found myself stopping the film and catching my breath; you can almost feel the Grim Reaper in the frames.
I put Kids in the category of ‘it’s an excellent movie, but two viewings are enough’. The film haunted me for several days after the first viewing in 1996 and the feeling was no different in 2009. Kids are the debut film of Leo Fitzpatrick, Chloe Sevigny, Justin Pierce, Rosario Dawson (Death Proof, Sin City) and the late actor-professional skateboarder Harold Hunter. Fitzpatrick and Sevigny are excellent in their roles as Telly and Jenny. It was a surprise to discover that this was their first film.
As disturbing as Kids is, I highly recommend the film. I have to warn you, use caution; you will not be the same after as you were before.
Peter Bici, Jeff Pang, Harold Hunter, and many others from the movie are professional skateboarders on the Zoo York team.
Harmony Korine wrote the movie in 1993 at the age of 18.
The film follows Harmony Korine’s script quite closely. There is really only one notable difference: the removal of a scene that visually represents an apocryphal story told by Telly in which Casper, as a young child, mistakes his parents’ S & M lovemaking for a real attack and stabs his leather-masked father to death with the family’s turkey-carving knife.
After this movie, Leo Fitzpatrick decided he didn’t like acting and quit. He took US$300, his skateboard, and some clothes and moved to Britain. After a three-year hiatus, Leo was convinced to come and make a follow-up to the film.
On an unrelated note, this is post number 700 for Written in Blood. Here’s to 700 more. Take care…and stay scared.
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Posted on 10/04/2013, in Movies, The Four Horror Movies of the Apocalypse-Kids and tagged Art, Casper, Harmony Korine, Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce, Kids (film), Larry Clark, Leo Fitzpatrick, Movies, Oklahoma, Telly, Tokyo, United States, Vanessa Hudgens, Wassup Rockers. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.