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From the Oscar®-nominated director of Far from HeavenI’m Not There and the new HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce, this controversial masterpiece is the most fervently debated film of the 1990s and a trailblazing landmark of Queer Cinema. Todd Haynes’ first feature—following the underground short sensation Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story—this groundbreaking American indie is a thrilling work of immense visual invention.

Inspired by the writings of Jean Genet, Poison deftly interweaves a trio of transgressive tales—“Hero,” “Horror” and “Homo”—that build toward a devastating climax. “Hero,” shot in a mock tabloid-TV style, tells a bizarre story of suburban patricide and a miraculous flight from justice; “Horror,” filmed like a delirious ’50s B-movie melodrama, is a gothic tale of a mad sex experiment which unleashes a disfiguring plague; while “Homo” explores the obsessive sexual relationship between two prison inmates. A runaway hit which made national headlines when it was attacked by conservative figures including Dick Armey, Ralph Reed and minister Donald Wildmon, Poison is audacious, unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining.

Awards & Quotes


“A milestone in American independent film and the inciting spark for what came to be known as the New Queer Cinema.” —Dennis Lim, The New York Times

“A homoerotic Intolerance.” —Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

“Boldly self conscious, Poison switches channels among its three stylistically varied but thematically linked tales with cumulative, claustrophobic power.” —David Ansen, Newsweek

“Hip, sexy and thoroughly entertaining!” —Ira Sachs, The Village Voice

“Brash and haunting! —Caryn James, The New York Times

“In both form and subject, Poison still feels defiant…. It’s good to have Poison back to remind us, all these years later, exactly how far the movies still have to go.” —Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

“The film produces poetic jolts and visual-thematic rhymes that somehow unify the disparate strands into a single galvanizing experience.” —Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“One of the rare American filmmakers willing and able to anatomize the secret recesses of our national life.” —John Powers, L.A. Weekly

“Startling and impressive! There are three stories going on in Todd Haynes’ landmark film Poison and you may want to see it just as many times.” —Jan Stuart, Newsday

“Intensely sensuous and disturbingly visceral…. Poison has an extraordinary cumulative power.”
—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“Every decade or so (if we’re lucky), the American cinema is graced by a daringly idiosyncratic avant-garde filmmaker who, along with his radical attitudes and techniques, has the instincts of a popular entertainer…. The new whiz kid on the outlaw-movie block is 30-year-old Todd Haynes.”
—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“A remarkable achievement!” —Jeff Shannon, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“A funny and disturbing weave of three separate and yet not-so-separate stories…. Whatever sum of money the NEA gave Haynes to makePoison, it was well worth it.” —Jami Bernard, New York Post

“A beautiful and audacious piece of work.” —David Ehrenstein, The Advocate

Product Features


  • • Color and black and white
  • • New high-definition transfer created from original film elements, enhanced for widescreen viewing
  • • Sundance 20th Anniversary Q&A with Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and executive producer James Schamus
  • • Original poster concepts and collages by Haynes
  • • Behind-the-scenes polaroids by Kelly Reichardt (acclaimed director of Meek’s Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy)
  • • Last Address, a short film by Ira Sachs (award-winning director of Married Life and 40 Shades of Blue)
  • • Original 1991 U.S. theatrical trailer
  • • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired (SDH)
  • • Exclusive 20th Anniversary packaging with an extensive booklet, archival materials and more!