Erotic Grotesque Nonsense 2: The Degenerates (2021)

The Degenerates is a 2021 extreme found footage horror film, written and directed by Jonathan Doe and produced under Vile Video Productions. The film is the second entry to Jonathan’s Erotic Grotesque Nonsense series, consisting of Barf Bunny (2021), and Defilement of a Porcelain Doll (2022). What seems like a candid video of a couple in love (Jonathan Doe and Felicia Fisher), soon deteriorates into a twisted frenzy of drugs, sex, and mutilation, as the pair use the body of their recently deceased friend to spice up their honeymoon festivities.

The premise of the film is based on the famous, real-crime case of Robert Beckowitz from 1982, where his girlfriend Jeannine Lynn Clark and friend James Edward Glover proceeded to murder Beckowitz, mutilate his corpse, and document the event through dozens of graphic photographs that leaked to the public.

The Degenerates (2021) directed by Jonathan Doe

From the moment The Degenerates begins, the amateur veneer of the found footage style along with an authentic VHS camcorder go above and beyond to deliver an incredibly realistic experience throughout. With a forced 4:3 ratio, polarised colours, tape damage, and scan lines; the film harkens back to the days of tape swap meets and receiving 5th-7th generation copies of questionable material to watch in all its degradated glory. Indeed, the film wouldn’t feel out of place at such an event, with its lack of story and unquestionable level of realism sure to convince those unaware of its fictitious validity.

Although no actual murder takes place on screen, that hardly means that The Degenerates lacks brutality in any means. With special effects provided by James Bell, Jessie Seitz, and Marcus Koch, the depiction of the mutilated corpse, along with the degraded quality of the tape, allude to a disturbingly authentic scene of blood, body parts, and carnage—making it difficult to distance oneself from the disturbing events unfolding on screen. The amazing level of detail works perfectly with the distorted cinematography and is certainly one of the film’s main strengths.

Additionally, the performance of our unnamed protagonists, delivered by Jonathan and Felicia, further compounds the sadism displayed on screen. Their carefree attitude and giggly, playful demeanor in combination with their casual intensity, embodies the depravity of the story disturbingly well; delivering a stark contrast to the visceral butchery displayed visually.

Furthermore, similar to Barf Bunny and Defilement of a Porcelain Doll, The Degenerates deals with a number of paraphilia throughout its runtime. Featuring a number of scenes of urolagnia, emetophilia (vomerophilia), haematophilia, and, of course, necrophilia in some bold and brazen displays, these acts are hardly shied away from and are a strong focus of the film throughout. With this highly sexual aspect permeating nearly every scene, The Degenerates will not be a suitable watch for those unfamiliar with extreme cinema and the fetishist sub-genres that exist in this independent market.

An incredibly graphic depiction of pseudo snuff, the unflinching nature of The Degenerates results in an incredibly vivid depiction of a true crime case that pushes the boundaries of artistic expression. With its uninhibited inclusion of paraphilia, staggering levels of special effects, and undeniably realistic style; the film can be a tough watch at times, even for those well-versed in extreme cinema. However, the film is an impeccable representation of this niche subdivision of cinema, delivering an astounding, unforgettable experience.

The Degenerates is available to purchase from Putrid Productions’ website here.

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