The Art of Dying
the art of dying | wings hauser | joseph merhi | kathleen kinmont | gary werntz | crime | thriller | united states
Film: The Art of Dying
Director: Wings Hauser
Writer: Joseph Merhi
Starring: Wings Hauser, Kathleen Kinmont and Gary Werntz
This film begins outside of an apartment complex. We hear people yelling at each other. The camera moves to show us that we are in a big city and that it is busy. We see two cops who are reporting to a call, the male is played by Wings Hauser who is also the director of this film. We see that he really doesn’t follow the rules.
We shift to the apartment where the disturbance is happening. There is a married couple fighting. The man is muscular, played by Tony Longo, and we learn from his wife that he is a junkie. The husband is upset that his wife called the police. A fight breaks out with Hauser’s partner getting stabbed, the wife is thrown out of the window by him and he finally subdues the husband with a sleeper hold.
From here we meet a man preparing for something with someone putting ink on his teeth and a bandana around his head, the one getting him ready is played by Mitch Hara while the other by Michael Easton. He is brought out to audition for a role in a film, with the director being played by Gary Werntz. The scene involves him playing Russian roulette. Werntz shows him that the gun is not loaded, but when the scene is filmed, there was a bullet in the last chamber. Easton kills himself by accident. This is exactly what Werntz intended as he films it and this scene bares a resemblance to Deer Hunter.
We then cut to Hara giving an audition to an inspiring actress played by Angela Rae. Hauser interrupts and tries to convince her that Hara is a bad guy. Hauser then goes looking for a young woman. He finds her in a sex club that offers phone sex operators in the front and more in the back. The woman he was searching for is played by T.C. Warner. Hauser takes her with him.
Another cop, played by Michael J. Pollard interrogates Warner and Hauser meets with Sarah Douglas. Hauser convinces Douglas to back him up. He convinces Pollard that Warner is getting on a bus and leaving town so he doesn’t want her to be booked. Pollard tells him that it won’t work, but Hauser states if she gets busted again, then he can book her. He reluctantly agrees. Hauser then takes her to the bus station himself.
Hauser then goes home where Kathleen Kinmont is waiting for him. She has a gun on him and we think that she broke in. It turns out they are lovers and they do kinky things before making love.
Warner gets off her bus before her final stop. She goes into a diner ran by Sydney Lassic. Warner is trying to see if there a place she can work in the area, but Hara busts in. He kidnaps her and brings her back to Hollywood.
The film is then edited together with an outrageous sex scene between Hauser and Kinmont. Matching up with it is Rae’s audition with Werntz, as well as Warner being brought back. Warner gets into a shower and is stabbed to death by Werntz, looking just like the film Psycho. This one is also filmed.
The bodies of both women are found and Hauser is upset. Pollard scolds him, telling him that he knew this would happen. Hauser wants Hara found, thinking that it is him. Looking at the evidence though, Pollard points out that it couldn’t be. He is not tall enough. Hauser doesn’t agree with him and states that if it isn’t him, he is in on it.
More and more are killed like other famous film deaths. Hauser and Kinmont hit a rocky patch with their relationship in that she knows a lot about him and he knows almost nothing about her. Hauser ends up finding Hara and chases him until he is killed by two cars. He thinks he has ended it. This also gets him suspended.
Will Hauser learn that it is Werntz doing these killings before it is too late? Can he be stopped? Werntz learns that Hauser is the cop in charge of his case and visits him. He also takes a liking to Kinmont. Can Hauser protect her from Werntz?
This is an obscure film, but I really liked some parts of it. First off I have to say that I love the idea of a director wanting complete realism so he is filming deaths on camera. I like it even more that he is reacting famous death scenes from great films as well. I also have to say that I really liked the point the film is making about Hollywood, acting and how dirty this industry can be. There is some really good editing as well between a consensual sexual acts and murdering someone. Both can be sexual in nature, but completely different in moral and legal issues, obviously.
This film also has issues though. Hauser seems to kill a lot of people in this film and no one raises a fuss until it is Hara. His captain is okay that Hara was killed, but he states that they know he couldn’t be the killer. They lose their connection to the killer is what he is mad about. Hauser is very corny in this film as well. I didn’t like that Pollard guessed everything from looking at the evidence, but I did like that no one listened to him.
With that said this film I would say is worth a viewing at least once. The acting is subpar, but there is a really good concept. The story I personally didn’t feel was fleshed out enough, but it does get by. This one questions the film industry while also paying homage to some classics. This is an interesting crime, thriller, horror film. If this sounds good, give it a chance. It is not the best film out there, but you could do much worse.
My Rating: 5 out of 10