Gutterballs (2008)

In this little 80’s throwback slasher and rape/revenge-flick Gutterballs, we spend time in a bowling hall with two groups, getting ready for a bowling contest. But the plan for that night goes down the toilet when a fight escalates. The individual that stands out is the unhinged Steve, a sadistic bully with some serious anger issues. He screams desperately for attention in every scene, spews out a world record list of obscenities, one of them being over 600 fuck-bombs (yes, someone actually tried to count them). I wouldn’t recommend the drinking game for obvious reasons, but at least we have some other use of colorful words to play with such as cunt, bitch, motherfucker, whore, pussy, etc…

 

The plot and the boners thickens when Steve and his group of friends gang rapes Lisa, the girl whom left Steve for some other guy in the other group. The next night the two groups hook up again in the bowling hall to start over. Lisa is still there, that poor girl, but reserved behind some, big dark sunglasses. And when the bowling-match is about to settle, a mysterious, unseen player by the name BBK is shown on the score monitors. They soon learn that they’re being terrorized by a killer wearing a bowling bag over its head and using sharp bowling pins to penetrate the victim’s private parts.

 

THE MOST OFFENSIVE FILM EVER, many calls it. Well, at least it’s far from being boring. But yeah, it’s hard to not agree that the characters are a bunch of insufferable fucks performed by the bottom of the barrel actors from Troma, and you can’t wait to see them get brutally killed. And let me tell you, Gutterballs doesn’t disappoint in that aspect. Some dude gets his head crushed by two bowling balls, another’s head gets blown to smithereens by a shotgun, we get a nasty close-up castration, sodomizing, face melting and even more. The most memorable scene is the couple getting killed while having a steaming 69 in the bathroom. Sadistic and perverted fun for the whole family.

 

Writer and director Ryan Nicholson has since the mid 90s primarily worked as SFX artist on titles such as Ghost Rider, Stargate, Transformers, X-Files and the list goes on. Special effects is clearly his main focus, but despite the film’s limited budget, he also manages to lit up the bowling hall with the use of neon light to enhance some of the 80s atmosphere. He followed up with the sequel Gutterballs 2 for his cult-followers in the underground horror movie community, and also made films such as Dead Nude Girls. Sounds fun. Gutterballs seems to be his most approachable film for the masses, and if you like raw, trashy and silly 80s slashers like Intruder, Chopping Mall, Savage Streets and Troma in general, this one will surely please you.

 

Gutterballs Gutterballs Gutterballs

 

Writer and director: Ryan Nicholson
Country & year: Canada, 2008
Actors: Alastair Gamble, Mihola Terzic, Nathan Witte, Wade Gibb, Candice Lewald, Jeremy Beland, Trevor Gemma, Nathan Dashwood, Scott Alonzo, Jimmy Blais, Danielle Munro, Stephanie Schacter, Saraphina Bardeaux, Dan Ellis, Brandon Dix, Ryan Nicholson
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1087853/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear of the Dark (2003)

Ryan is a young boy who is afraid of the dark, and believes that there are sinister entities hell-bent on getting their claws on him once he finds himself outside the protection of light. And of course…no one believes him. One evening, Ryan’s parents are going out on a date, and his big brother Dale is going to babysit him. And what happens? There’s a power outage, of course! And Dale, who previously used to mock Ryan for his fear of the dark, soon experiences that this fear is not at all unfounded. The good old phrase “there’s nothing there in the dark that isn’t there in the light”, which Dale has told Ryan to tell himself over and over, now also lose its power over Dale as well when it becomes evident that there is indeed something there in the dark after all…

 

Fear of the Dark, with its cheesy ghoulish dvd cover and simple concept, pretty much gives you exactly what it promises: this is a “horror” film for a younger audience, and could pretty much be seen as a long Goosebumps episode, and perhaps as being a little reminiscent of Are you afraid of the Dark, which was also a horror series for a young audience which is considerably lesser known than the aforementioned one. With that in mind, and without any expectation of getting some real scares here, it can be a decent enough watch. The story is simple enough: when it gets dark, the boogeymen are coming after you. Something that is easily identifiable for many of us, as a fear of the dark is something a lot of children have experienced (and mostly, thankfully, grown out of). But not for this film’s protagonist, of course…here, the boogeyman is real, and there’s not just one, but several of them. They come off as some kind of mix-up with Freddy Krueger and the aliens from Dark City, wearing long coats and hats. Not scary in the slightest, but maybe a little for the kiddies, and the ghoulish appearance of the boogeymen kind of fits with the film’s otherwise slightly cheesy tone.

 

There’s not really all that much to say about a movie like this, and if you’re looking for a scare, then, well…this is definitely not the movie you should watch. If you’ve still got enough of your child in you to appreciate a movie aimed for a younger audience, then Fear of the Dark can be an okay experience if taken for what it is.

 

Fear of the Dark Fear of the Dark

 

Director: K.C. Bascombe
Writers: K.C. Bascombe, John Sullivan
Country & year: Canada, 2003
Actors: Kevin Zegers, Jesse James, Rachel Skarsten, Charles Edwin Powell, Linda Purl, Daniel Rindress-Kay, Derrick Damon Reeve, Charles-Etienne Burelle
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0308252/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunter Hunter (2020)

Joseph lives in the remote Canadian wilderness together with his wife Anne and their daughter Renee. They try to make a living from selling the fur of the animals they trap, which isn’t much but enough to make them go by. They feel threatened when a lone wolf starts eating the animals they’ve trapped, and Joseph decides to track down the wolf and get rid of what is threatening both their livelihood as well as their safety. When hunting down the wolf, however, Joseph comes across something far more dangerous and threatening…

 

Hunter Hunter is a slow burn thriller, which is offering quite an amount of atmosphere due to the cinematography and feeling of isolation in the remote wilderness setting. There are always those people who want to live away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, in remote areas and in total or near total isolation, Mountain Men-style. This kind of lifestyle is almost always very hard, where just making a living requires hard work (and some luck). The characters in this movie is no exception to this, but Joseph appears to be the most determined to never return to the comforts of modern life, while the wife (Anne) is thinking about their daughter whom she thinks should grow up under more… normal circumstances, going to school and meeting friends. With the wolf ruining much their livelihood as well, things have become harder than usual. But things won’t be as easy as just getting rid of the wolf, of course…

 

The film does suffer a bit from a slow start of what initially appears to be a simple man vs nature/beast story, but when you’re becoming aware of how much of a darker turn it takes, it manages to keep the tension on track. The acting feels believable and realistic, and while the characters themselves doesn’t really offer much personality or traits to make them memorable, their performances heightens the build-up of tension and foreboding.

 

Now, the movie’s ending is inevitably what has gotten most people’s attention, and yes…it really does pack a punch with its vicious brutality, and probably gives it the extra bite it needed. It’s not a movie for those who are not fond of slow-burners, but overall it’s a tense thriller which provides a few surprises and twists along the way.

 

WARNING: watch the trailer at your own risk, there’s a lot of spoilers…

 

Hunter Hunter

 

Director: Shawn Linden
Country & year: Canada, 2020
Actors: Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Howell, Devon Sawa, Nick Stahl, Gabriel Daniels, Lauren Cochrane, Jade Michael, Erik Athavale, Karl Thordarson, Blake Taylor, Sarah Constible
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt2226162/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul