NAILS (2003)

Written by Greigh Johanson:

Goregasmic Cinema is proud to present our friends Tomas Sandqvist and Jason Meredith from Last Exit Entertainment. It’s a new Swedish film company dedicated to releasing movies in the Horror and Cult genre. Their goal and ambition is to bring mindexpanding, intriguing, original independent horror and genre films to a wider audience. From artistic Russian mind fuckers, to German nihilistic gore-fests, they will pursue only the strangest and finest of alternative genre cinema for your viewing pleasure.

Last Exit Entertainment first release in 2014 was Andrey Iskanovs debut feature Nails - the start of the HalluCinoGeNnN trilogy that showcases genuine independent craftsmanship. Exploring themes of mental suffering, torment of the psyche, profane violence and visual surrealism. NAILS is one of the landmark debut features of alternative cinema.

Unlike the first version from Unearthed Films, we will see it be presented by Iskanov himself, in a newly produced introduction. This edition will include a number of extra features and a bonus-CD containing the soundtrack, exclusive to this LE-edition. This release will also see a new re-mastered, color corrected version of the film, supervised by Iskanov himself to make it the ultimate version of NAILS. My first experience with this director came to light when I suddenly found a trailer on Youtube many years ago. I had no specific knowledge of Russian cinema in general an I had even less knowledge of Iskanov. But after this experience, he soon would be one of my favorite directors of all time.

First and foremost I have to tell you that Russia is a certain anti-world where creation of films is the form of guerrilla military movement. Each time to filming is the same thing as being sent to war and you would be at war for each shot of the film. When you start to make films in Russia it seems that all universe rise against you. Horrormovies isn't a wide genre in Russia and Andrey Iskanov is one of the pionier in the country to set up an installation of surreal artwork horror. He need to sneak in order to be able to finalize his films. Unlike Western world, It's a constant struggle to be a horror-director in Russia. Andrey Iskanov is one of the extreme films greatest godfathers who puts his life and soul in his fascinating works and now you’re inveted. Welcome to follow a hallucinogenic ride:

Nails was written in the early nineties, but was never completed until 2003 because of financial problems. It takes us to a ruined Russia where we meet a nameless assassin who after a mission comes home and suffer from anxiety. In the newspaper he reads an article about a man found dead with iron-nails in his head. In theory, he heales his anxiety in this way. The killer sees no other option than try this to get rid of his own demons. He hit a pair of six-inch nails into his head and suddenly he is feeling better. But the effect is only short-lived. Soon, he begins to see the world in a different shape and everything around him starts to regard as threats. The violence begins to escalate, both to the people around him, but also against himself and what started with six-inch nails will soon be replaced with circular saws and drills.

Nails is a social horror film and begins in black and white standard and shows us a depraved and mysterious anxiety-charged expansion, and the further into the movie we get the more colors it offer. Finally the filtering explodes and eventually induces an epileptic emphasis that makes us just want to escape from the screen.

If we mix Jan Svankmajers surrealistic stop-motion works with German expressionism and Japanese cyberpunk, then you eventually got the contents of Nails. Andrey Iskanov is a true artist who over the years has grown significantly in my eyes. Nails are, after all, his first feature film, and a very nicely one. Although it may seem arise sloppy details in general, but he have good potential to succeed in saving it by using random special effects that only he can perform in a reliable manner.

Much of Iskanovs films reflect memories of my own dreams I had as a child, and it gives me shivers down my spine. When I was younger I often dreamed about deformed faces, shady environments, dim lighting and obnoxious people who shuffle with strange and stiff steps. I got the same feelings when I look at Iskanovs surreal works. It literally scares the hell out of me, but in the same time I marvel of pure fascination. I get a little upset when people doesn’t understand Iskanovs creativity and accuses him of being a failed individual. As I mentioned before, this is his first feature film, and he fought long to get the work in balance. The film's story isn’t difficult to understand and he have a talent that many other independent directors doesn’t have, with a deep fantasy and a potential feature for definitive conclusions to be incredibly powerful. It's scary, heartbreaking, surreal and psychologically stressful, and it gives you a hallucinogenic side-effect that you have never seen before.

Moreover, I can't forget to mention that the soundtrack is composed by Alexander Shevchenko and have one of the largest meanings in this film. The music provides a significant side-effect that matches the whole movie and make it much more unpleasant.