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This film has become infamous thanks to the efforts of the Rev. Donald Wildmon, who publicly questioned the fact that NEA dollars were spent on this "filth." While Wildmon's point was certainly overstated, this debut feature from Todd Haynes is quite disturbing. The Poison in question is sex, and its toxic effects are explored in three segments which have been shuffled together like a deck of cards. "Hero" is a pseudo-documentary about a seven-year-old boy who shoots his father and then ascends into the sky. "Horror" is a mad-scientist story filmed like a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"I could have done without the designer prison, but most of the other stylistic conceits work."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Boldly self conscious, Poison switches channels among its three stylistically varied but thematically linked tales with cumulative, claustrophobic power."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"A stylish study of human deviance at its dirtiest."
‑ , Film4
"A very tough, queasy film, but extremely powerful and a strong feature debut for Haynes."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"A mysterious, funny, sexy, and scary triptych; each film works beautifully on its own, and even better in relation to the others."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"Arguably the strongest American debut feature of the '90s."
‑ Rob Nelson, Village Voice
"Compelling and quirkily intelligent; Genet, one feels, would have been impressed."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"An exercise in cinema of ideas that, while audacious and occasionally compelling, is ultimately less than the sum of its parts."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Haynes' brilliant feature debut is a triptych of visually divergent episodes, each set in a wolrd dying of panicky fright. Of the three tales, my favorite is "Horror," a poignant parody of b/w movies shot in slightly exaggerated noir vein."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The overall effect shows a born director following his creative instincts fearlessly."
‑ Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Todd Haynes' Poison is a conceptually bold, stylistically audacious first feature, a compelling study of different forms of deviance."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The movie needs to evoke more than the ghost of Genet to give it resonance."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"captures the spirit of Genet's work"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"Todd Haynes boldly announces himself as a force to be reckoned with."
‑ Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium
"Repellent in a way few films ever have been"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Poison on Rotten Tomatoes