Sean Penn Film: Human Experiment

Now, a powerful documentary produced and narrated by activist-actor Sean Penn, “The Human Experiment,” argues that there are dangers from the “chemical load” in seemingly innocuous household products like cosmetics, deodorant, cleaning fluids, shampoo and even toothpaste.Its world premiere is Sunday, Oct. 6 at the 36th annual Mill Valley Film Festival in California.


Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Hansel and Gretel

A Modern Tale with a Twist

Source: via The-Labyrinth on Pinterest

(Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1909)

The January 2013, The Asylum movie, Hansel and Gretel, directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, written by Jose Prendes, staring Stephanie Greco as Gretel, Brent Lydic as Hansel, and Dee Wallace as Lilith, the evil witch, is based on the original fairy tale first recorded by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, but with a chilling distortion:

This modern-day tale of Hansel and Gretel is a horror take on the original fairy-tale where Hansel and Gretel, two young children, brother and sister, adventurer and adventuress, get lost in the woods, come across a cottage made of candy, and in turn with stuffing themselves, are sought to be eaten by the cottage’s inhabitant: an evil old witch.

Ergo, this version does have Hansel and Gretel, and candy, which is laced with evil medicine; it also has fine feminist antics, supported by the acting of Stephanie Greco as Gretel: her character is not another Tinseltown dumb bimbo about to be chased and massacred, while running through the woods part naked and screaming; no, here is a strong female character. One that has to save her brother who is held down in the dungeon, where teenagers are fattened up on candy (definitely containing corn syrup) (naturally, what else is going to fatten up teenagers in this modern day tale?) and then fired up in the oven along with some nutritious organic looking veggies.

The common fairy-tale rule of three, runs rife throughout: when Hansel is thrown in the dungeon, there are three other prisoners who are all dealt the same fate. This repetition of slaughter, sets the tone for what will happen to Hansel and Gretel if they don’t escape.

Dee Wallace as Lilith, the evil witch steeped in sugary malice, reminding us of Carol Brady—on methamphtamines—cooking up a storm to rival that of Nigella Lawson’s, except with delicious looking candy, home-baked fruit pies, and her special: meat pies, made with human-teenager mince, (As you do.) makes a nightmare of a host, especially when Ken and Bobby Kennedy come along: her personal human butchers.

During Gretel’s gruesome discoveries upstairs, Hansel, while shackled down in the Dungeon, is holding onto his own, saving a damsel in distress, played by Sara Fletcher reminding us of a German backbacker, unloved in her own home, not missed by anyone, finally getting to believe in herself as a worthwhile person: the old *you’re-to-good-for-this-life-baby* line works in a plotline once again!

Gretel, a vegetarian, is forced to eat human flesh, even though it’s cooked the Lilith-special homemade way with roasted garlic and capsicum, she literally can’t stomach it, spitting it in Lilith’s face, putting up a fight worthy of the best of feminine heroes. Thrown into the bowels of the pit of hell, along with her brother, Gretel persuades Hansel to stay and save the damsel in distress, who ends up tied up in typical Hollywood fashion: part naked, booty on display, abs defined to within an inch of a Hollywood career:

Female victimisation scenes involving near naked beautiful woman (the damsel in distress), involving bondage and sadomasochistic antics of the deadly—but the always degrading—kind is the only drawback of this modern-day-horror-intensified version of Hansel and Gretel. Don’t watch this movie alone. A young woman begging for her life and then being punched in the stomach while shackled to a wall, is a scary event to watch. Witnessing a man do that, leaves the viewer feeling icky: like they are guilty by watching such an act take place: the point of the scene I’m sure, but not one Hollywood needs to portray.

And what, with live worms falling in her mouth, as Gretel is forced to hide, along with Hansel; dirty feral psychotic hillbillies, who specialise in carving up a feast out of their young commodities, using chainsaws; bow and arrows flying through the air towards escaping victims, are all part and parcel of this gruesome horror flick.

Young men being drugged into eating their own flesh, proclaiming: “Gee! I taste awesome.” Perhaps, carrying a deeper metaphorical message over our generations’ perceived narcissism and over consumption. Fat girls are eaten first; skinny girls survive longer, an aid old cliché alive in Hollywood and in the modern-day Hansel and Gretel! Even extending the metaphor into society eating it’s youth, right up to the explosive ending where… I won’t ruin it:

I’ll let you see for yourself.

(The allegorical aspect of this story: Don’t take Candy from Strangers! And, Corn Syrup is fattening.)


~ Movie review by Michellina van Loder

(Homepage image source:


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Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

The Human Experiment (are you in?)


“What if the greatest chemical disaster of our time is not an oil spill or a nuclear meltdown?” What if it’s toxic chemicals in the products we use everyday on our bodies, in our homes, and outside?” The Human Experiment

This documentary, by KTF films, is about the extremely high-stakes battle being played out globally, where people are waking up from the stench of chemicals, emanating around them, and these same people are fighting to protect people’s health from the thousands of untested chemicals in our everyday products: going by the trailer, it’s well worth watching. Here, from the Safer Chemical’s blog, is some of what helped this film come about:

“Dana Nachman was a producer at NBC when she wrote a story on how to make your home less toxic. “It was something I never gave an ounce of thought to before,” she says. In her research, she learned not only about the tens of thousands of chemicals lurking in everyday products, but that most of those chemicals have never been independently tested for their safety. Meanwhile, rates of tough-to-explain health problems like breast cancer, autism, and infertility — many of which have been linked to toxic exposure — are on the rise. A mother of young children, Nachman found this upsetting enough to turn it into the subject of her next documentary (her first two films tackled wrongful convictions and terrorism). The Human Experiment, narrated by Sean Penn and co-directed by Don Hardy, follows three families motivated by health problems to fight the powerful chemical industry lobby on behalf of everyone’s safety.”

The makers of the film have done a great job highlighting important health issues that are turning out to be common to many people today; and by doing that, they are bringing to light many other health issues, interrelated to one another via chemicals: Cancer, reproductive problems, all the immune compromised disorders; such as mould illness, chemical sensitivities, chemical injuries, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Chronic Fatigue and many more of the ever prevalent yet invisible illnesses too. Issues that, in some countries, get swept up into controversy and arguments; therefore, hiding the essence of the problem: the people who are suffering on a daily basis, and the cause: unregulated chemicals. I’m wondering if obesity will be covered; you know with all the corn syrup and artificial sugar theories that are ricocheting around out there? It’s unjust for the issue of obesity to be blamed on ‘fat people’ and ‘fat children’ with a general consensus that, “Oh, they just overeat!” Instead of asking what is causing this epidemic in the west? Could it be the chemical composition of the foods? So, yeh, I hope that’s covered too.

Another thing I loved about the trailer is how the focus is on our children: there are so many mothers and fathers united in outrage and disbelief over the state of chaos within the whole chemical-companies-self-regulation caper that’s causing so many problems for us—on a global scale. (Us Aussies are a bit behind in the regulations of chemicals but when we catch up, we catch up fast. Just look at us leading the race against the tobacco companies (far more so than the French, although their advertising tactics are to be revered: people no longer want to give head to Big Tobacco! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out for yourself.)))

Dana Nachmann, one of the Directors of The Human Experiment had this to say in an interview about her inspiration behind the film:

“I am a journalist and a mom I was assigned to do piece for NBC in 2009 about how to limit toxic chemicals in the home. It was through researching that story that I found out that most consumer products do not get tested for their safety before being put on the market.  I thought this couldn’t really be true, but after looking into it I found out this was the shocking reality. I went through a complete freak out at first, which is what happens to most moms when they learn about this issue.  I was worried about all of the ways my kids had been exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals because I was completely ignorant about this issue.  I was pregnant with my third child and I realized that things in our family had to change and things in our country had to change.  That’s why I wanted to make this movie to turn that fear into empowerment, not just for me but for all the moms and dads who would one day be able to watch the film and help turn this issue around once and for all.”

Here’s the comment I left for the makers of The Human Experiment.

This is so good. Thank you so much for making this. I’m going to be posting it on my blog where I blog about living a ‘normal’ life, and going to Uni while being sensitive to chemicals. I’ve had this for 9 years; for five of them I lived in isolation and, luckily, I recovered. Only to resume a normal life and now, I’m sicker than ever. It’s so obvious that chemicals can cause so many problems; and it’s so obvious that letting companies flood the market with them, only to remove them when we get sick is just plain wrong…

My character limit ran out, but what else I’d like to add, is a set of principles that I bang on about all the time [banging gets louder]: The Burden of Proof, and the Precautionary Principle. At the moment, we, the consumers, carry the burden of proof. Meaning that, if a product or it’s ingredients makes us ill, and we can prove that, then the product will either be taken of the market, or the ingredients replaced. However, if our governments made it mandatory for those companies to apply the Precautionary Principle instead, then all the harmful products and all their toxic ingredients would have to be proven safe, before they were actually allowed out on the market. Then, all the children, men and woman who get sick from these type of ingredients will have a better quality of life; and the people who are yet to get sick, won’t!

How many people need to become chemically injured or sensitised to these toxic chemicals before this happens? How many people will be told they have a ‘chemical allergy’, therefore, laying the blame on their own health, rather than the chemicals they have been constantly exposed too? As they say in the trailer, “low levels, constant chemical exposure effecting everyone on the planet…”  If that, right there, is not a human experiment then I don’t know what is. So I guess, I’ll have to watch the movie, and find out exactly what else is; because going be the trailer, the suggestion is, there are plenty more. So, hello there, all you Guinea pigs and Lab Monkeys out there. Are you going to just sit there and let Big Chemical decide which chemicals are safe for you (your kids, or future kids?), and at what levels?

“The film follows a band of unlikely activists who are fighting back. Ranging from a conservative businessman to a teenage radical, they are staking reputation, career and future in this battle to protect our health. They’ll go head-to-head with the powerful and well-funded chemical industry to uncover a system that’s been hidden from consumers, where science is for sale and million-dollar PR campaigns keep dangerous products on the shelves. What will it take to stop this vast human experiment before it’s too late for our health?”

More from The Safer Chemicals Blog:

“We hope The Human Experiment inspires people to join your national movement around the safety of chemicals.  We’re finishing up the movie now so before it comes out we would love people to share the trailer and create excitement for the film’s release next year.  We want to get the word out that once and for all we are going to elevate this issue to the national level.  We need immediate action from all of us so we can protect our children, and their children, and their children.  It’s evident that if we don’t act on this, companies will continue working in the easiest way possible and that means that they won’t test their chemicals for safety and they won’t switch out dangerous chemicals with safer ones.  We want our health and safety to be of concern to companies, not just their bottom line.”

Watch the trailer for The Human Experiment:

Only drawback here is the music; it’s so dramatic and hyperbolic. I think the facts speak for themselves without the drama chiming in over the top of them. This is not fiction; it’s real, and the music kind of made it kind of movie like, which may work for some people, but not me: I think our senses have become numb when it comes to watching dramatic representations of anything: fiction or not.

And, if you’d like to know more, you can visit The Human Experiment’s Facebook page, here

Or visit The Human Experiment’s page:






Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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