First Review in for House of Oddities: The Story of the Atrocity Exhibition!
The following is an excerpt from the review: “An American Atrocity and A Bible Belting-A Double Feature Documentary Review of House of Oddities: The Story of the Atrocity Exhibition and Rebel Scum. Check out the full review at The B Movie Avenger!
House of Oddities: The Story of the Atrocity Exhibition
HOUSE OF ODDITIES: THE STORY OF THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION: Takes us into The Atrocity Exhibit,a magical underground movement taking place in Pittsburgh. A dazzling circus of Suspension artists, drag queens, poets, comedians, musicians, a bed of nails performer and many more, all brought together for their love of the Macabre, strange and beautiful once a year to blow the minds of freaks and rubes alike!
A wonderful mixture of the odd and the breathtaking HOUSE OF ODDITIES:STORY OF THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION is the punk version of Cirque Du Le, coming across as a classic freak show with Rocky Horror Picture Show undertones, a classic punk vibe and an energy that I can’t even begin to describe!
The performers in this documentary literally left me breathless, both with their performances and their open, friendly and down to earth personalities, each bring to the stage and the screen their own unique vibe and presence. I can’t claim not to have a favorite though. For me the performance of shit talking spunky drag queen Cherri Baum was the one that stuck out the most..I know I’ll get alot of flack here, as a straight man who can appreciate drag, but I see it as an art, and watching Cherri perform really took me back and reminded me of my personal favorite drag performer, Divine, in her prime. Not to say that Cherri is a Divine clone, far from it, she showcases a spunky, in your face attitude and wonderfully weird character and costume (complete with a puffy wraparound orange mustache..oh that’s right! She went double drag!) that is all her own.
The show here is just breathtaking, from the elaborate stage settings and creative blend of darkness and eye piercing colors, Gillao-esque lighting, distorted sound and makeup that brings together everything from classic circus to Geisha to Kabuki..I’m really strangling to be able to describe it, and to be honest it really is something you need to see to believe.
trust me when I say though that while Cherri is my own personal favorite each and every one of these performers steals the show when they hit the stage. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to see this spectacle live, and am downright shocked I had never heard of it before. I may just have to go to Pittsburgh and get myself a front row seat to the madness!
The music here is an element that I bet alot of reviewers won’t pick up on because of all the visual spectacle but I was struck by this as well, showcasing everything from experimental sound, quiet and soothing music box music and what I can only describe as Horror Canopy, this piece has an outstanding soundtrack!
“HOUSE OF ODDITIES is a truly cinematic experience, pulling the crowd in and not only not being offended when we gawk but demanding that we do!”
Cinematography is usually the element that I need to give a free pass to Documentaries, not here. Utilizing what is either genuine 35mm film with a digital touch up or some of the best damn digital video I have ever seen, and with a steady hand in every shot, HOUSE OF ODDITIES is a truly cinematic experience, pulling the crowd in and not only not being offended when we gawk but demanding that we do!
Director Brian Cottington, simply blew my mind with this piece, finding the perfect balance with footage of the show and interviews with the many talented performers. When you take into account that this was his first documentary as well as his first feature the real scope of his talent becomes even more apparent!
The only complaint I could even begin to voice here is that when the documentary was over I desperately wanted more! I really hope that there will one day be a DVD release of the exhibit itself so that I can see it in it’s entirety again and again!
Overall I give this documentary two middle fingers up and sanded to the bone, I definitely consider this one to be an instant classic and I sincerely hope that this troupe of frisky freaks will make their way to New York state one day so i can experience the madness first hand!
Reviewed By The B Movie Avenger