Engineering Red (1993)
'Engineering Red' is a Russian surrealist film containing three segments all combined into one feature length production. This has recently been considered one of the most disturbing horror movies, due to a recent Iceberg Challenge list that has been floating around the Internet. Amongst a large collection of horror films that start off fairly tame at the top of the iceberg and growing in shock value and grotesqueness as you work you way down the list, 'Engineering Red' was sat firmly at the bottom of that list, the question is... does it deserves the notoriety sounding it? The short answer to that question is undoubtedly no. Featuring some extreme graphic content, the visually confronting surgical procedures provide a real shock factor. If you suffer from a weak stomach then this is certainly not something you will be able to sit through, showing extremely detailed moments of human operations with a filter over the top to provide more grind house style to the overall aesthetics. I did later learn that these scenes were filmed for real life surgical documentation, not a horror movie and just used out of context. Knowing this is real only makes me question why it has been utilised for entertainment purposes. The joy of watching scenes like this in horror films is to see the artistry that goes in to replicating these situations. It takes place over three parts, broken down into chapters (similar to how an anthology would unfold). Starting off with a medical transplant procedure, featuring a doctor removing a person's toes and reattaching them to someone's hand as well as a jaw replacement. The second shows the separation of Siamese twins, and then finally the last segment explores experimental blood transfusions. All of these segments played out the same, each progressively looking more like a medical journal than any form of horror movie. This caused me to have very little intrest in this film - once you have seen the first 15 minutes, you could arguably say you have seen it in its entirety. I'm really not too sure on the purpose of this production. It seems to me that director Andrey Yi has set out with the intention of collecting disturbing content with the intention to show in order to gain notoriety. Whilst some people may consider this art, I found it to be thoughtless and time-wasting. Other that the inclusion of some visuals that consist of kaleidoscopic imagery from animator Armen Petrosyan, a strange woman dressed in red dancing and the use of an eerie musical score, everything else is just basic medical documentary footage. This is said to be based on Thomas Mann's novel 'The Magic Mountain' and the idea of creating artificial people in the Soviet Union. I didn't find this to be obvious and it didnt occur to me at any point during the film that this could have originated from any form of source material. I didn't find anything here to be shocking or disturbing and 'Engineering Red' certainly does not warrant its place at the bottom of the iceberg challenge list, nor does it warrant its place on any form of horror movie list. This just proves that you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet.