Singapore Sling (1990 film)

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Singapore Sling: The Man Who Loved a Corpse
SingaporeSling1990MoviePoster.png
Theatrical release poster
Singapore Sling: Ο Άνθρωπος που Αγάπησε ένα Πτώμα
Directed byNikos Nikolaidis
Produced byMarie-Louise Bartholomew
Written byNikos Nikolaidis
StarringMeredyth Herold
Panos Thanassoulis
Michele Valley
Music bySergei Rachmaninoff
Giaches de Wert
Glenn Miller
Julie London
CinematographyAris Stavrou
Edited byAndreas Andreadakis
Production
company
Marni Film
Cinekip
Greek Film Center
Distributed byGreek Film Center
Release date
13 September 1990 (Toronto International Film Festival)
October 1990 (Thessaloniki Festival of Greek Cinema)
Running time
111 Minutes
CountryGreece
LanguageEnglish
Greek
French

Singapore Sling: The Man Who Loved a Corpse (Greek: Singapore Sling: Ο Άνθρωπος που Αγάπησε ένα Πτώμα, tr. Singapore Sling: O Anthropos pou Agapise ena Ptoma) is a 1990 Greek black and white dramatic experimental independent underground art film directed by Nikos Nikolaidis and regarded as his magnum opus. Considered a difficult film to label while still managing to develop something of a cult following throughout the years nonetheless, it was shot in a bizarre manner somewhat resembling film noir or neo-noir and black comedy as well as the exploitation, thriller, and crime genres mixed with some elements of eroticism and horror with sex being used as a power game and received a theatrical release in Greece on 6 December 1990.[1][2]

Despite Nikolaidis' career as a film director in his home country which stretches to the early 1960s he was almost entirely unknown outside Greece before the early 1990s and is still less known outside it and it was only with this film, which has immediately achieved cult status, that international fame came to him and it probably still remains the film for which he is best known today,[3] as exemplified by the fact that it was released on DVD by Synapse Films, the only one of Nikolaidis' films to so far receive a home video release in North America. The film was officially selected for screening at the Rimini Film Festival.

Plot[edit]

Two mentally ill women who are clearly suffering from not otherwise specified delusional disorders, a mother and a (grown) daughter, live together in a secluded mansion. They are in a relationship and both are recognised for their beauty. They spend their days playing perverse BDSM-related incestuous games in memory of their sadistic patriarch who, when he was still alive, raped his daughter when she was eleven, murdered several servants, and is now a mummified corpse with which the daughter is shown having sex. They occasionally kill their servants and bury their bodies in the garden.

When first glimpsed the psychotic mother-daughter protagonists, half-dressed, are burying their disemboweled chauffeur into a pit, they have just finished to dig in their backyard on a dark and stormy night with thunder and heavy rain. They lay down their shovels and drag out of the bushes, his fresh corpse. He was killed in one of their usual games combining incestuous sex with murder. Shortly after this and at first unnoticed by the two women, a lovesick detective pulls his car up to the residence. He is suffering from a painful bullet wound and an equally painful yearning to track down Laura, his long-missing beloved for whom he has been searching for three years and about whom it is known that she has visited the area. What he does not yet know is that he has stumbled onto the lair of two profoundly insane women who have already lured Laura into their home and brutally killed her (in the process decorating their kitchen with her viscera, as a flashback helpfully shows). It is also revealed that the daughter is physically very similar to Laura and is desperately looking for a man's companionship.

The duo then easily take the seriously wounded and bleeding detective, having already figured them out to be responsible for Laura's kidnapping, into their home, essentially kidnapping him. As the exhausted detective was silent and apparently refuses to speak, even in order to state his own name, the two women christen him 'Singapore Sling', after they discover a recipe in his pocket notebook for that type of cocktail. They use him as a pawn in their sexually tinged role-playing games and as a party to their distorted and perverse form of entertainment, during which Singapore Sling, now a prisoner, is tied up, chained to a bed, vomited on, electrocuted, used as a sex slave, and subjected to various other forms of torture and atrocities in which he is forced to participate. However, as Singapore Sling's confinement wears on he regains his strength and takes a more active role in the games. His deranged captors become concerned and alarmed when a sharp kitchen knife, belonging to the late father, goes missing and they discover Singapore Sling digging a deep hole in their backyard. As psychotic as these two are, they are still lucid enough to recognize that a killing is imminent, if not two or even three. In an atmosphere of decadence and dark madness, the characters gradually sink into the depths of their subconscious mind.

A few days later, the daughter decides that she is fed up with having to suffer under the yoke of maternal authority, and, together with Singapore Sling, murders her mother. Singapore Sling then takes what up until now used to be the mother's role in the sexual games. However, during one of these games, a reenactment of Laura's murder, he stabs the daughter, playing Laura, with the aforementioned missing kitchen knife now attached to his penis. The daughter, while bleeding to death, shoots Singapore Sling and then he goes out to the garden and falls into the pit which he himself had recently dug. The film hence ends, in short, with all three characters dead.

Cast[edit]

  • Meredyth Herold as Daughter
  • Panos Thanassoulis as Detective Singapore Sling
  • Michele Valley as Mother

Themes[edit]

The film's protagonist's search for a woman named Laura is a direct reference to the classic film noir Laura (1944) by American director Otto Preminger. The film uses as background music, in addition to classical music by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Giaches de Wert, the compositions used by Glenn Miller and Julie London in Laura (1944).

Accolades[edit]

Event Category Winner or Nominee Won
Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival (April 1991) Grand Prize of European Fantasy Film in Gold Nikos Nikolaidis No
Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (March 1991) Golden Raven Nikos Nikolaidis No
Thessaloniki Festival of Greek Cinema (October 1990)[4] Best Director Award Nikos Nikolaidis Yes
Best Quality Film Award Nikos Nikolaidis Yes
Best Actress Award Meredyth Herold Yes
Best Cinematographer Award Aris Stavrou Yes
Best Art Director Award Marie-Louise Bartholomew Yes
Best Editor Award Andreas Andreadakis Yes
Toronto International Film Festival (September 1991) International Critics' Award Nikos Nikolaidis No

Reception[edit]

Director Nikos Nikolaidis said the following about this film's reception during an interview: "When I was shooting Singapore Sling, I was under the impression that I was making a comedy with elements taken from Ancient Greek Tragedy... Later, when some European and American critics characterized it as 'one of the most disturbing films of all times,' I started to feel that something was wrong with me. Then, when British censors banned its release in England, I finally realized that something is wrong with all of us."[5]

The Icelandic neo-psychedelia band Singapore Sling is named after the film. As the band's frontman Henrik Björnsson explained in a June 2003 interview with Belgium's VRT Radio 1: "We had a first gig. It was booked and we didn't have a name and I had been looking for a film called Singapore Sling for a long time. I couldn't find it anywhere. It sounded cool, so that became the name of the band. It's some kind of dark, perverse Greek film from 1990. I haven't found it yet, so if you know someone who has it, please let me know. I hope it's good. A dark perverse noir film and a guy who has sex with a corpse. And he's called Singapore Sling."[6] In November 2005, after the completion of his last film The Zero Years, a tale of perversion and sexual dominance which failed to replicate the earlier success of Singapore Sling, Nikolaidis declared his intention to stop making movies in order to deal with music.[7] On 13 November 2012, The Projection Booth, a weekly podcast discussing films from a wide variety of genres with in-depth critical analysis hosted by critics Mike White and Rob St. Mary, dedicated an episode to Singapore Sling featuring as a guest Professor Vrasidas Karalis, an expert on Greek cinema and the author of A History of Greek Cinema, as well as a professional dominatrix who goes by the pseudonym of »Fräulein von B.« as a guest co-host.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hardy, Phil, ed. (1995). The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Horror. 3. New York, New York: The Overlook Press. pp. 478–479. ISBN 0-87951-624-0.
  2. ^ "Review: Singapore Sling – A Man in Love with a Corpse". The Dreamin' Demon: Real Life Horror (Reviews: S). 25 August 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  3. ^ Rudd, Amy (22 June 2008). "Singapore Sling (18)". Metro. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  4. ^ Γενικά 1990: Βραβεία Ελληνικός κινηματογράφος. Διεθνές Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου Θεσσαλονίκης (Πληροφορίες: Βραβεία) (in Greek). Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  5. ^ Меренков, Сергей (21 December 2007). Singapore Sling/Сингапурский Слинг (1990). CULT Cinema: Рецензин, S (in Russian). Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Singapore Sling – The Curse of Singapore Sling". Cucamonga Fansite/VRT Radio 1: Interviews, S (in Dutch). 16 June 2003. Archived from the original on 21 September 2005. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  7. ^ Οικονόμου, Δήμητρα (November 2005). Κουράστηκα να κάνω ταινίες: Μια συνέντευξη σε πρώτο ενικό. Αποχαιρετιστήρια;. Cinema Info: Ο κινηματογράφος ως τέχνη (Σκηνοθέτες: Συνεντεύξεις) (in Greek). Retrieved 7 October 2014.

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