Broken (informally known as The Broken Movie) is a 1993short film/long form music video filmed and directed by Peter Christopherson, based on a scenario by Trent Reznor, the mastermind behind the industrial rockband Nine Inch Nails. The film is a companion piece to the band's 1992 EPBroken, featuring its songs and music and compiling its music videos. The movie, roughly 20 minutes in length, weaves Broken's four music videos together via a violent "snuff film" framing sequence, concluding with an otherwise unreleased video for the EP's final song "Gave Up," setting the conclusion of the film's frame story to the song. Due to its extremely graphic content, the Broken movie was never officially released (and likely never will be).
The film intercuts among multiple distinct visual styles to create a contrast between different timeframes and levels of reality: The "past," shot as a low-quality amateur film, documenting the crimes of a sadistic murderer; the "present," shot entirely in black and white, showing the police investigation of the murderer's crimes and the repercussions of his actions; and the "fiction," being the Nine Inch Nails videos the killer plays for his captive, which have a more polished, high-budget look.
The film begins with a scene of a person being executed by hanging. The trap door opens and the person drops with a maniacal smile on his face.
The movie cuts to footage of an amateur video taken from inside a car going through various parts of a city (the backwards "n" from the Broken album cover and the title "broken" is shown superimposed as a glass overlay), finally showing a young man approaching the car in a suburban neighborhood. The man is almost immediately shown in the next scene to be in a basement, tied to a seatbelt chair and cleave gagged, while being forced to watch a television that slowly starts to show Pinion.
"Pinion" begins in a bathroom. The camera zooms in on a toilet flushing, and a network of pipes is shown leading to a contraption with a large gear system and a pressure gaugeon it. As the camera zooms out, a tight, plastic bodybag-like suit suspended in a padded cellwith six rods by the side is shown, with the end of the pipes attached to the mouth portion with water gushing in, presumably to drown the person inside. An alternative interpretation that the person bound inside is being fed the "waste of the world" coming through the pipes.
Cutting back to the amateur video, the killer, wearing some sort of leather mask, drags the victim's head back and forces him to drink some sort of liquid from a jerrycan.
The middle of the video is interrupted by amateur footage again with the victim chained to a table with a large wad of dark substance on his face. As the killer is immediately followed to be seen putting his pants on, it could be assumed that it is feces. After the video ends, the killer repeatedly rewinds to the part of the video where Reznor screams "fist fuck" and begins to rub his crotch.
"Help me I'm in hell"
The video for "Help Me I Am in Hell" shows a middle-age bald man in a room filled with flies. He ignores them while eating some sort of steak and drinking wine. On one occasion it is clearly shown that flies also enter his mouth when he eats. The video cuts away several times to show the same man in bondage gear.
This video was blacked out in the most prominent leak; it is now generally believed (although not definitively proven) that this sequence is part of the complete film but was blacked out by Reznor in the bootlegged copy. Reznor is rumored to have distributed copies of Broken to his friends, each with a different part of the video blacked out, so that if it were bootlegged, he would be able to identify the source of the leak.
Following the video, the victim is shown still tied to a table as the killer proceeds to rip his teeth out.
"Happiness in Slavery"
The video for "Happiness in Slavery" shows Reznor screaming from inside a prison cell and performance artistBob Flanaganentering a room, undressing and washing himself, and finally strapping himself into a machinethat appears to rape, tortureand kill him. After his death, the machine closes up, and the camera pans to a bed of flowersunderneath the machine seemingly being fed the man's remains, which have been ground up into a paste-like substance. Reznor, who was watching through a peephole, then enters a similar room and begins to perform the same rituals as Flanagan, presumably to be killed by the machine as well. The video was bannedby music videochannels worldwide.
The film ends with a video for "Gave Up" - this is different from the one on Closure, as it is not an actual Nine Inch Nails video, but the music of NIN dubbed over the storyline of the movie. At this point, the victim is suspended from the ceiling, and is repeatedly attacked by the perpetrator first with a blade, then a blowtorch, after which the killer slices off the victim's penis with a straight razor. The camera-work here closely resembles that of an amateur snuff film, while there is interspersed footage of the police searching through the basement, and finding remains of previous victims. (At one point, a sign saying "TRESPASSERS WILL BE EATEN" is shown.) Finally, the film cuts back to the victim strapped on a table, as the murderer hacks his limbs off with a chainsaw, proceeds to presumably rape him, and finally slices his chest open to eat his heart.
The movie then cuts back to the execution scene, showing as the killer is dropped through the trap door, with a crazed smile on his face, falling through a seemingly immensely long tunnel, until the rope suddenly tightens. The movie ends with the inverted version of the Broken album cover, with the background black, and a mirrored "n" character filled with the original orange background texture. The severed head of the killer flying across the screen is also shown after 30 seconds of no audio and a black screen.
This region-free DVD-R is in NTSC format and will play on most PS2 systems and DVD Players made since 2000, and comes in a FULL SIZE DVD case, with cover art and track listing.
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