Here’s one for some of you daring fans of the darker stuff. A detective (Panos Thanassoulis) working to solve the murder of a woman named Laura finds out that the she was not dead at all, that the dead body that had been found in her apartment was actually someone else. Once the detective tracks Laura down, he falls in love with her, only to have her leave him and disappear once again. The heartbroken detective’s life spirals out of control as he becomes obsessed with finding Laura a second time. He is fired from his job, succumbs to alcoholism and is pretty close to losing his sanity when he is finally able to track Laura to her last known location – a remote villa inhabited by a woman (Michele Valley) and her daughter (Meredyth Herold). Fortunately for the detective, they know exactly what happened to his long, lost love. Unfortunately for the now captive detective, they are both extremely deranged and batshit insane.
When I was shooting “Singapore Sling“, I was under the impression that I was making a comedy with some elements of Ancient Greek Tragedy. Later on, when some European and American critics characterized it as “one of the most disturbing films of all times“, I started to feel that something was wrong with me. Then, when British censors banned its showing in British movie theaters, I realized that, after all, something must be wrong with all of us. – Nikos Nikolaidis
Possibly, Nikos, possibly. But what is not in question is this mother and daughter team. There is no doubt something is wrong with them as the incestuous duo are a sociopathic, murderous pair who like to engage in perverted sex acts with their victims, as well as with each other, before killing them. Once the detective – now given the moniker of Singapore Sling – is in their lair, he is subsequently imprisoned and subjected to a myriad of depraved sex acts and torture. One of the torture techniques involves the daughter dressing and acting like his long, lost Laura to try and trick the detective into falling in love with her. As the film progresses, the viewer sees the dynamic change in the house as jealousy enters the picture and the daughter starts believing her own, sick illusion.
One of the techniques employed in Singapore Sling is the daughter and mother quite frequently breaking the 4th wall barrier and speaking directly to the audience. These exchanges may seem a bit gimmicky at first, but truly add to the film in a positive way by adding more to the strangeness and absurdity of Singapore Sling and help show Valley’s and Herold’s possibly expert, or possibly completely inept, acting abilities. These women seem amateurish and contrived one second, and completely convincing the next as two bona-fide crazy women. With the daughter’s involuntary twitches while speaking and mannerisms that allude to the reality that she may be constantly hearing voices, to the more controlled mother whose spontaneous orgasms and act of speaking both English and French in the same sentence (sometimes repeating a phrase both ways), these two women do a great job of making you watch in an almost rubber-necking fashion.
Singapore Sling may not be a film some viewers will be able to watch as they may not be able to stomach the activities the mother and daughter participate in. One of the pairs favorite pastimes, aside from killing their servants, is re-enacting the murders. Since the victims are usually subjected to sexual torture, these re-enactments detail what happened to past victims with either the mother or daughter taking on the role of a dead victim. These includes such memorable scenes as the daughter taking on the role of a victim and being forced to fellate a strap-on dildo worn by her mother before the mother rapes her with it. Or watching a woman give a man shock treatments so that her mother can ride on top of him, using his convulsing body like a human vibrator until she pisses in his face during her climax. Throw in some fruit-fucking and a scene that will have anyone with an eating fetish quite happy, and you got yourself a film full o’ kink. These scenes are atrocious, but filmed in such a way that they never quite hit the level of to0-sickening-to-watch.
Having all of the attributes of exploitation, horror, and film-noir, Singapore Sling is a film tough to label. Shot beautifully in black and white, almost every shot, no matter what is in it, is beautiful. Some place it in the same category as Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and I agree. But Singapore Sling can also be classified as some type of film noir hybrid – a psycho-sexual hybrid of Lynch’s Eraserhead, Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s The 120 Days of Sodom and Preminger’s 1944 detective classic, Laura (coincidence?). You could easily just label this as pure exploitation if you want, as it succeeds more there than Nikolaidis’ original goal of creating a black comedy. It is also one of the sexiest looking exploitation films to date…and definitely not for everyone.
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