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“Cinema! CINEMA!” Ben (Benoit Poelvoorde) celebrates his place in cinematic history to the empty buildings outside. Of course, it’s merely an echo chamber for his own inflated ego. An ego he’s bound to feed with continuous bouts of homicide. And it’s all captured in Man Bites Dog, the French/Belgian mockumentary that’s been crucial to the found footage and horror genres in general in the quarter of a century since its release. Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond goes classy with a film about human ugliness, urban decay and the line between filmmaker & subject. Still, there’s plenty of gore to be had. Ã‡a semble excitant!
Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 35 — Man Bites Dog (1993)
Man Bites Dog is a challenging experience. We follow serial killer Ben as documentarians Remy and Andre (played by Poelvoorde’s co-writers/directors Remy Belavaux and Andre Bonzel) film his exploits. Right from the start, Ben is killing innocent men and women without much remorse. It’s how he makes ends meet. Kill a postman. Dump a body over a bridge. Invade an old person’s house to find their stashed away money. As any professional murderer would do. Yet, he’s not a discrete assassin without humanity. He’s got a girlfriend and family he loves as well as a personable charisma that engages the audience. Which makes the horror all the more disturbing and the actions of Remy and Andre being seduced sadly relatable.
To talk about the complex aspects of Man Bites Dog, Thomas brings on two new voices to the show. One is the founder of FoundFootageCritic.com Michael Steinberg. The other is video essayist Shannon Strucci of StrucciMovies. Michael educates the group about the history of found footage and why Man Bites Dog is a crucial early example. Shannon admits her complete adoration for the confrontational daring on display. Thomas rangles all this together by keeping the influences made and the homages that came later. This is more of a thinking man’s episode as we dissect the Criterion Collection entry for all the disturbing truths in unveils about humanity in glorious black and white.
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The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.