Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival
The second feature directed by Haynes—the Oscar-nominated filmmaker of Far from Heaven, I’m Not There and the upcoming HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce—this groundbreaking American Indie was the most fervently debated film of the 1990s and a trailblazing landmark of queer cinema. A work of immense visual invention, Haynes’ spectacular follow-up to his legendary Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is audacious, disturbing and thrillingly cinematic.
Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, Poison deftly interweaves trio of transgressive tales-“Hero,” “Horror” and “Homo”-that build toward a devastating climax. “Hero,” shot in mock TV-documentary style, tells a bizarre story of suburban patricide and a miraculous flight from justice; “Horror,” filmed like a delirious ’50s B-movie melodrama, is a gothic tale of a mad sex experiment which unleashes a disfiguring plague; while “Homo” explores the obsessive sexual relationship between two prison inmates.
A runaway hit which made national headlines when it was attacked by right-wing figures including Dick Armey, Ralph Reed and minister Donald Wildmon, Poison is unsettling, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining.
Poison was re-released on a 20th anniversary DVD in 2011
See also Dottie Gets Spanked
New introduction by director Todd Haynes
Sundance Q&A with Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and executive producer James Schamus, for the 20th Anniversary of the film’s Grand Jury Prize
Archival 1999 audio commentary by Haynes, Vachon, and star/editor James Lyons
Booklet essay by Dennis Lim, Director of Programming at Film at Lincoln Center
Last Address, a short film by Ira Sachs (2010)
Original 1991 U.S. theatrical trailer
- Todd Haynes - Director
- Edith Meeks - Actor
- Millie White - Actor
- Buck Smith - Actor
- Anne Giotta - Actor
- Rob LaBelle - Actor
- Susan Norman - Actor