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By Phil Hall | July 23, 2008

Be forewarned: Andreas Troeger’s documentary “Kill the Artist,” an examination on extreme art, is not for the squeamish. The film is packed with drawings, photographs, film footage and video clips of performance art that shreds all known concepts of good taste – torture, mutilation, and scatological humiliation are par for the course here.

Included in the mix is artist Mark Diana (who was arrested and briefly jailed in Florida in 1994 for creating obscene comic books), filmmakers Richard Kern and Jorg Buttgereit, and the self-described “sadist” known as The Baroness. They are represented with plenty of graphic examples of their respective work. There is also a clip from a film called “The Woman on the Door” that purportedly shows a woman dying during a rough bondage sex session.

Alas, the parade of grotesque images has the opposite effect of its original intentions. Rather than shock the viewer with its edginess and daring, the film actually winds up boring the viewer by offering nothing more than an endless collection of crass behavior clumsily presented as artistic statements. After a while, the effect becomes numbing: when you’ve seen one drawing of a dismembered body or one crudely made Super 8 film of fake torture, it literally feels like you’ve seen them all.

Even worse, the creators of this work are quotidian raconteurs. This only serves to double the level of boredom. I am sorry to say it, but this is one of the worst indie films I’ve seen this year.

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