“Fat Fleshy Fingers” is a brain melter that promises to captivate — and possibly infuriate — but will certainly stay with you for a while.
Fat Fleshy Fingers is profane, funny, bizarre, and, most importantly, unforgettable.
Viewers can expect some icky moments as well as tender ones. It does not hold back or shy away from anything, and the eight stories are as varied as you are likely to find in an anthology collection. There is one link, and that is a parasitic worm.
Still with me?
Taking inspiration from psychedelia and a noted release by Neutral Milk Hotel, it’s all over the opening animated sequence, which puts you on the back foot almost straight away.
Like the underground comics of the 60s and 70s, it depicts someone experiencing a trip with some admittedly far-out content that is NSFW. Really NSFW.
This effectively sets us up for what is to follow, and we are introduced to the two main characters, Grandpa and Granddaughter (played by Michael St. Michaels and Marnie McKendry). Their relationship is based on truth and full honesty. He treats her as an adult in a way that her mother doesn’t like, and she responds in a way that is mature beyond her years, as she knows that her time is short.
And what better way to spend that time than with Grandpa? Especially one who has imbibed industrial quantities of drugs. And can spin a yarn.
At this point, all normal conventional narratives are just thrown out of the window.
From here on in, we enter this universe where the linking device, the worm, is released by tomb raiders in an unnamed Egyptian location.
I promise that I won’t go through every story to try and explain the content because it would ruin the effect each one has. Taking cues from every genre trope imaginable, the filmmakers drive an irreverent bus through them in the style of Monty Python.
It’s just fun, light-hearted, and seems to enjoy poking fun at just about everything.
I can’t entirely prepare you for what to expect, but I can promise that things get weird. And the film changes direction from where you likely expect it to go. It employs that ‘no rear mirror here’ style and just goes for it, as each tale bears no resemblance to what has preceded it.
Each of the segment directors (Gurleen Rai, Sophie Cacciola, Michael Elliot Dennis, Sara Nieminen, Lauren Flinner, Anthony Cousins, Zach Strum, Heather Cunningham, and Iris Sucres) deliver something incredibly inventive, and they do a lot with what appears to be a minuscule budget.
There are no lazy moments here; every one is committed and is giving it 100%.
This is evident in the completely over-the-top sicko number 1 (Justen Jones), who seems to enjoy being covered in slimy material and lovingly caressing a turd-encrusted worm straight from the bowl in the segment Oh, Comely (Anthony Cousins). It’s grim.
There are also some gloriously icky moments with nods to the body horror of Cronenberg and Shivers in Heather Cunningham’s segment, possibly the most mental of them all, The Point When You Let Go. It felt like a companion to the early work of John Waters in that nothing was off limits.
I’ve not heard the music of Neutral Milk Hotel, and if the filmmakers here have drawn all of their inspiration from it, I’m not sure I want to! However, the flow of the stories feels like it could only come from those with a love of psychedelia and art — a love that wants to push the boundaries of taste.
The lack of a linear narrative didn’t affect the film in terms of how it played out. It grabs you right away and compels you to see it through to the end.
It won’t appeal to everyone, and I firmly believe that it sits within that art-film world. It will probably polarize some in the audience, mainly because of how it’s presented. This is not a conventional anthology film; it’s a million miles away from being conventional.
Am I glad I’ve seen it? Yes. Is it something I would watch again? Maybe not. Would I recommend it? Wholeheartedly! I have never seen anything like this film, which is always an exciting thing to be able to say.
No matter how weird it gets, you don’t want to miss a minute of this unique and outside-the-box experience.