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Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

Feed the Light


When her daughter is abducted by her ex-husband, a young mother will track the missing child and its father to a mysterious institution. But once inside, she will find herself trapped in a hallucinatory netherworld where reality turns amorphous, survival becomes parasitic, and an infested darkness lives – and feeds – in the light. (From Invervision’s official synopsis)

Feed the Light is the first (and, so far, only) feature-length film from Swedish filmmaker Henrik Möller, whose many short films are (according to his online bio) known for their mix of surrealism and stark reality. I suppose this habit could be seen as a specifically Swedish filmmaking trait, though that thought process may tied to my personal understanding of the region’s most popular movies. Despite its lack of Bergmanesque touches, Feed the Light does swell with the air of a younger, more modern director who’s poking a bit of fun at the self-serious, existential dramas that his country is so famous for, especially considering that its central narrative is tied to familial turmoil. First and foremost, however, it is a metaphysical horror movie that attempts to create an original, modern story in the style of H.P. Lovecraft.

The grainy, high-contrast black & white photography draws obvious comparisons to David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) and Elephant Man (1980) – comparisons Möller, himself welcomes – as well as Shinya Tsukamoto’s similarly-shot, body horror nightmare Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Like those movies, Feed the Light ties its experimental visuals and nightmare logic to its independent nature. It is confined by its modest means, but rarely feels creatively stilted by them, because these limitations (i.e. a solitary location and simplified special effects) create the illusion of familiarity. It’s possible that viewers looking for a standard issue homage to the ‘tell-don’t-show’ horrors of Lovecraft will likely find the narratively loose representation a bit tedious, but I was so into the early, mysterious impressionism that I almost found myself disappointed when characters started explaining the mechanics of the world. Fortunately, the further into the ‘netherworld’ our hero wanders, the more bizarre and inexplicable convoluted her adventures become, until one can’t help but give in to the delightful nonsense. I wouldn’t call Feed the Light an urgently frightening film or even one that promotes as much dread as the filmmakers intended, but it is a wholly unique experience that musters an interesting array of influences that stuck with me long after it was over. Oh, and it has the good sense to limit its runtime to under 90 minutes and not overstay its welcome.

As far as I know, Severin’s Blu-ray (released through their Intervision Picture’s Corp. imprint, which is rarely used for BD releases) is the only HD home video release of Feed the Light. Reportedly, the film was shot in colour, using digital HD cameras, but Möller was unsatisfied and altered the footage to appear mostly black & white. However, there are exceptions, including scenes with slightly warm or cool tints (as the main character advances through the ‘floors’ of her challenge, more and more colour tends to infiltrate the palette) and scenes where certain elements (usually blood) appear as splash colours (no pun intended). The rough, sometimes noisy, and high contrast appearance all seems to be intentional (the consistent pulsy quality is certainly deliberate), so it is a bit hard to judge the image quality. I can say that there aren’t many obvious compression effects outside of the digital grain, such as jagged edges or haloes, but I guess the occasionally blocky gradations could be related to encode issues rather than the footage itself.

Feed the Light is presented in its original Swedish language stereo and uncompressed LPCM sound. It’s lacking the surround and LFE contingents of a bigger budget movie, but the mix still manages to impress, due to its vocal clarity and creative sound mixing. The occasionally detached nature of the experimental post-production effects again recall Eraserhead and Tetsuo the Iron Man, creating an effectively hallucinatory mood with tone and stereo effects. The electronic music is supplied by avant garde pop group Testbild, who generate plenty of spookiness and steadily build into frightening and sometimes danceable (?) themes.

Extras include:
  • Making of Feed the Light (15:00, HD) – A look behind the scenes, complete with raw on-set footage and brief cast & crew interviews.
  • The Lovecraft Influence (3:35, HD) – Möller discusses loosely adapting Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space (pub. 1927) and developing an epic, mythology-heavy screenplay that had to be chopped down to a single story for the film.
  • Trailer


 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy


Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

Bag Boy Lover Boy


A slow-witted misfit named Albert (Jon Wachter) sells hot dogs all night from the most unsanitary food cart in downtown Manhattan. But, when he’s invited to become the new model for a manipulative fetish photographer, Albert will be exposed to a seething city underbelly where desire masquerades as perversion and depravity poses as art. (From Severin’s official synopsis)

In the tradition of seedy misfit movies, like Rolf de Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby (1993) and Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997), and grimey New York Gothic horror movies, like Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and Kent Bateman’s The Headless Eyes (1971) comes Andres Torres’ Bag Boy Lover Boy. Like the developmentally disabled male version of Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Neon Demon (2015), Bag Boy Lover Boy is a simple, straight-forward tale of a lonely young man who finds himself over his head when thrown into the bedraggled world of modern photography; where art and pornography intertwine and everyone is corrupted by commercial influence. What it lacks in originality and deeper meaning (Torres and co-writer Toni Comas actively spurn the idea of metaphors and allegories), Bag Boy Lover Boy often makes up for in sincerity, visual artistry, and a peculiar mix of genre elements. Visually speaking, Torres achieves a lot on a tiny budget, specifically where the contrast of the real world and Albert’s surrealistic fantasies are concerned. It doesn’t always work, however, especially when it comes to the difficult balance of tone. In the beginning, Torres presents a convincingly buoyant, Troma-esque version of the murderous loner trope, before pulling the rug out from under the audience with some really mean-spirited violence. While this approach serves the shock value well, the change never quite feels ‘earned’ (Albert works better as an oblivious participant in murder than a strangle-happy rapist and the body count is too small to be funny – if that makes any sense) and doesn’t fit the tragically comedic place the story ends upon. Still, Bag Boy Lover Boy is a fast-moving, good-looking dark comedy that should please the most morbidly curious viewers. If Herschell Gordon Lewis had arthouse impulses, a good supporting cast, and learned how to use digital cameras, he might have made a little something like this.

Bag Boy Lover Boy was shot using Arri Alexas digital cameras and it looks quite clean and vivid on this 1080p, 1.78:1 Blu-ray release. Cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano draws upon the strengths of the format’s colour quality and uncanny smoothness to create an at once beautiful and hideous overall look. There is considerable noise during some of the darkest shots, as well as a loss of contrast quality during outdoor shots, but neither of these issues seem to be related to any kind of compression. There are no major step/blocking artefacts and edges are sharp when necessary without any enhancement haloes. The colours change up, depending on the location and brightness of a given location. This includes desaturated, neutral hues, dark, monochromatic palettes, and intricately neon-caked interiors – all of which are consistent and, with the exception of a couple of blown out exteriors, well-supported by deep black levels.

The original stereo sound (there’s little point for such a small, independent film to blow a bunch of cash on a 5.1 mix) is presented in uncompressed LPCM 2.0. Though much of the film is dialogue-driven and the basic soundscape is naturalistic, there is still considerable ambient environmental activity throughout the track, especially during street-set sequences. Dialogue and incidental sound effects sit neatly in the ‘ghost’ center track and are usually well-separated from the rest of the noise. This clarity puts the film and track ahead of similar low-budget features. The strange, multi-genre music is culled from Barbara De Biasi’s original electronic score and a number of classical/traditional tunes all of which sound clean and rich.

Extras include:
  • Audio Commentary with director Andres Torres, actor Theodore Bouloukos, and editor Charlie Williams – Bouloukos, who plays the sociopathic photographer in the film, is sort of a moderator for this group track, which has some substantial down time (several minutes will pass without anyone saying anything), but still manages to fill us in on the movie-making process. Emphasis is put on technical aspects over thematic content.
  • The Student Films of actor Jon Wachter:
    • Got Light (1:22, HD, silent)
    • The Never-Starting Story (1:13, HD, with Wachter commentary)
  • Trailer


 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

 Feed the Light & Bag Boy Lover Boy

*Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray, then resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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