The Merits of Sin: Twisted Issues (1988) (USA)

Small town boredom and a rapid fire imagination merge into a flawed but magically bizarre Florida SOV nightmare.

Logic is left behind almost from the get go and we’re dropped headfirst into a world of skateboarding, punk/thrash culture, non-sequiturs and (of course) death.

One of many intense action sequences

Paul is a kid who loves skateboarding. Charles is a kid who loves sitting in his house and watching tv…having murder fantasies about his girlfriend. He also watches the lives of people he knows on the same television and none of them look like they’re ending well. But back to Paul. Dude skateboards and this draws the attention of some chickadee he has no interest in. Her interest gets her fuck buddy jealous and during a late night beer and pot filled drive, he sees Paul skateboarding home from a party. Him and his friends attack and Paul manages to use his karate skills to fight them off. Of course, when he goes to grab his board, he’s run over by some weirdo in a car…it seems purposeful but who the hell knows.

Real men skateboard and practice karate

They dump poor Paul’s body and in almost no time at all, a mad doctor and his lady find Paul’s corpse. They drag him to their lab and bring him back to life. Paul wakes up bandaged and in pain, he kills the doctor, screws his left foot into his skateboard deck and ties a fencing mask over his face. Now, revenge shall be his…but that’s not even it. In between the familiar plot thread is a world comprised of live music performances, a religious nut weapons dealer, Florida heat so humid you could cut it with a knife, television clips, “the butt people”, 7/11 and a revolving door of characters that barely register. It’s a splatter film that doesn’t give two fucks about the splatter and is far more comfortable wallowing in absurdism.

If looks could kill

Charles Pinion crafted a near perfect bit of arthouse trash, refreshingly different and dangerously close at any moment to becoming pretentiously boring. The balancing act doesn’t always work but fortunately it creates some atmospheric weirdness when it does. Killer soundtrack.

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