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Pin (1988)

By Ian Grey | Posted

Few films can empty a room of unwanted guests as reliably as this toned-down but freaked-out tale of a young man's deep and eventually multiple-homicide-inducing relationship with an anatomically correct plastic medical dummy named Pin. Leon (David Hewlett) seems like a fairly normal teen with a fairly normal dysfunctional family: an authoritarian doctor dad (Terry O'Quinn), an obsessive-compulsive mom (Bronwen Mantel), and a somewhat twisted sister named Ursula (Cyndy Preston), with whom Leon has some sexual-boundary issues. Then there's Pin, the see-through dummy Dad uses to enhance lectures via ventriloquism, and with whom Leon becomes progressively more obsessed. Mom and Dad die in a car crash, Leon's relationship with the dummy becomes more, um, intimate, his sister starts seeing another boy, a troublesome aunt moves in, and you may not even want to know what happens next. Under Sandor Stern's cool-toned, formalistic direction, Pin becomes a singularly divisive experience: Many will greet its miasmic gumbo of unrelenting (if mainly suggested) pervo sex, primal loss, and fairy tale/incest meta-text with an impatient "Oh, please!"; more adventurous viewers will welcome it as an elegantly unforgettable, deftly acted left-field entry in the psycho-study subgenre.

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