Somebody should tie my feet together, hang me upside down, put a bag over my head, and just beat the shit out of me with a Louisville Slugger for an hour or two. I held onto the Ryan Nicholson’s Gutterballs DVD for nearly 4 years and just popped the disc into the player this past Wednesday. Gutterballs is a the ultimate 80’s homage to the slasher genre where two rival bowling groups are trapped inside an after hours bowling alley being taken out one by one by a psychotic killer known as BBK – Bowling Bag Killer. Why have gone 1,460 days of not watching Gutterballs? Mostly because I have 2,500+ movies and a wife who doesn’t care much for horror movies. I’m limited to 1 to 2 horror movies a week. Yup, I’m doomed.
Gutterballs doesn’t just claim to be an 80’s homage, there lies true behind their claim. Though the characters might a bit of annoying, overly zealous, and dislikable, I did find everything else to be quite the throwback. The clothing, the editing, the violence, the special effects – all of these qualities harked back to the glory days. The characters, as I were saying, nearly ruined the whole thing by being over the top and I’m sure these characters are written to be this way, but why? The constant three assholes (one who chuckles for no good reason and I couldn’t wait for him to die), the every girl is a slut, and the outcasts were all well-done in a burnt steak kind of way.
The nudity was nearly x-rated. We get to see Candice Lewald’s hamburger from behind and there is loads of fake dick sucking and dick disfiguring (turning a penis into a “mangina”). And lets not forget the barrage of gratuitous tit shots. Gutterballs is certifiably NC-17 and for good reason also for the two butt pucker rape scenes that will leave women and men cringing. Nicholson uses mainly schlock and shock value to get through to his audience without much of a plot behind it. The plot here is okay at best, but there lies many holes that need filling between the characters and their histories. More development is needed to give the story some girth, but when you’re creating a film with gallons of blood and naked chicks, I doubt a good story is on your mind because that won’t necessary bring in the big bucks.
Gutterballs is a definite must for any gore fiend of the 80’s slasher film. Even the poster is rad with the homage to Maniac and the DVD cover is scantily clad with a blooding bowling pin. Gutterballs will make you want to go bowling afterwards, but it will also make you want to protect your all your holes from being invaded. Check this one out or you will strike out!
Perhaps the most very definition of sensory stimulation lies with the Stuart Gordon 1986 mad science horror film From Beyond. Numerous sensors are teased from color perspectives to sexual stimulation to even the thrill of exciting the mind through science. From Beyond is not only a maddeningly weird and utterly slimy film about expanding the pineal gland to the point of losing yourself to a creature ridden other-dimensional world where you’re absorbed into chaotic, gelatinous mutated mass. No. From Beyond lets you fully and freely experience what most people consider to be taboo and frightening.
Dr. Edward Pretorius and his assistant Crawford Tillinghast construct a machine called the Resonator that will tap into the dormant pineal gland of the mind in hopes of expanding to beyond the regions of the mind. When Crawford first turns on the machine, creatures appear swimming in the air and attack Crawford. Ignoring the warnings of possible danger, the obsessed Pretorius turns on the machine and has his head twisted and decapitated by a shape-shifting monster. Crawford’s story lands him committed in an mental institution where he is greeted by Dr. Katherine McMichaels who treats Crawford and wants him to recreate his experience in order to treat what she thinks is schizophrenia. Crawford, Katherine and Bubba Brownlee, an overseeing officer to make sure Crawford behaves himself, return to the Pretorius house to reactivate the Resonator – to recreate the nightmare.
How can you not read that synopsis and not be curious to see this fun flick? Loosely based of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same title and intertwined with other Lovecraftian stories. We all know that director Stuart Gordon is the true historian behind Lovecraft as he has most likely studied and then directed most of Lovecraft’s stories such as Herbert West-Re-Animator and Dagon. Yet somehow with From Beyond, Gordon and his team did something right; they infused their own ideas and their own creative style making From Beyond more memorable and highly controversial amongst the MPAA. Hell, I’m guessing this is why we can never have a home entertainment copy stay in print for more than 3 years – point in case, the MGM release! Luckily, for you and for me, UK cult and horror film loving Second Sight Films has brought back From Beyond from the DVD grave and has even enhanced the film for Blu-ray!
From Beyond really did push the limits with the MPAA; so much in fact that even using green slime over blood to lessen the effect still caused heavily edited down editions. But there are scenes of extreme uncomfortableness which I find a sense of relieve and peacefulness in. Such scenes are with Barbara Crampton in the S&M outfit and she fondles Jeffrey Combs as he lies hair less and injured in bed. If I feel awkward, dirty, or uncomfortable after a scene, I’m extremely enjoying the movie and thank you director, producers, writers, actors, and the rest of the crew in making uncomfortable scenes enjoyable for weird folks as myself. Like I always say, if a horror movie frightens you, then the movie is doing it’s job! From Beyond will surface all sorts of internal emotions and stimulations that cause the sensations to overload and explode much like the Resonator stimulating the pineal gland to the point of blissful agony.
If you want to feel like you’re on a severe acid trip, I’d suggest grabbing From Beyond from Second Sight here before the DVD goes out of print again. Remember, this is a region 2 disc and can only be played on region 2 players so beware!