Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Monday 10 August 2015

Burl reviews The Human Mule! (2002)

Doodle-doodle-doo, it’s Burl, here to review a real peculiario of an obscurity! It’s called The Human Mule, and appears to have been made in Victoria, B.C., in about 2002! And it’s an odd one, ha ha! But embrace it, for this is probably your only chance to meet… The Human Mule!
The first thing you notice, after a period of silence in which you assume your TV is mistakenly on mute, is that it appears to have been shot on film, which is a delightful surprise indeed! Next thing, a guy in a scoop-neck tank top, with the heavily accented voice you would expect and hope him to have, explains a bunch of crazy nonsense about mind control and an absence of time! “I wish I could tell you exactly since when I’m in here, but there is no time in my room, in my home, the Human Mule home, I think?” says The Human Mule, and this is followed by a sprightly “doodle-doodle-doodle-doo!” on the soundtrack! Ha ha!
After the picture disappointingly turns to very consumer-grade colour video, The Human Mule give us a little vignette of his brain-damaged parents, who proceed to lavish insult after insult onto the city of Moncton, then tells a female passerby “Ha ha, your shoe-string is open!” But none of this helps with what seems to be the overarching problem: The Human Mule's absolute bewilderment at his situation and the behaviour of those around him!
Why, The Human Mule can hardly believe the things he’s seeing! “You… are writing one of your poems in the sand by low-tide?” the boggled Mule demands of one slickered seaside scribe! But after this it gets weirder still, when we return back to the monochrome super-8 and 16mm film and The Human Mule has invited in a ladyfriend with an absolutely bizarre and unplaceable accent! A news reporter gives us the lowdown on the stories of the day! It seems The Human Mule’s memories are being taken away and replaced with someone else’s! He’s upset about this, no question, but ha ha, what can he do?
There’s home movie footage; ramblings from conspiracy types; lots of footage taken from the front of a moving bus; mimed fight scenes which end off screen, after which The Human Mule reappears, rubbing his behind! At a certain point, The Human Mule bellows “What is going on here?!?,” a sentiment shared by the viewer! By the time the picture starts repeating itself a bit, it seems to be taking a very long 61 minutes indeed! But it comes to what I gather is a twist ending shortly thereafter! Ha ha!
It’s initially disappointing to discover The Human Mule himself isn’t actually a mule-lipped man, but this dismay is swiftly replaced by the sort of glee one experiences on finding something weird that surely not many others have seen! The glee levels wax and wane as the picture goes on of course, but if you can stand the many silent bits, the experimental music score, the filler scenes of rambling people and the general amateur experimental film vibe, and if you find The Human Mule himself as charming as I did, you might really enjoy this picture!
I'll happily admit that I enjoyed it! It's a direct descendent of movies like Stereo, and although not nearly as well done, not without a compelling charm all its own! I give The Human Mule two brown discolourations!


  1. I can't tell you how ecstatic I am to have found this. For the past few months I have been scouring the internet for any signs of this film. I found the sound track to it and was instantly pulled in. I was hoping that you could point me in the right direction to see it. Thanks!

    1. I'm glad you found it and enjoyed the review! I saw it thanks to a VHS tape that was floating around my gang a number of years ago! I think the tapes had been sent out when the filmmaker was trying to get it into festivals! That's all to say that I'm sorry to say I have no idea where you might find a copy - but I'll ask around, and if I discover any clues, like the filmmaker's name or something like that, I'll report it here!

    2. Thanks for the reply. The guys name is Thorsten Nesch. There's not a ton of info out there on it, and the little there is isn't consistent. I appreciate you keeping an eye out!