Travis, an underground shock comic artist, stirs up a world of trouble with Chinatown crime lord and illegal pesticide seller Leonard Fong when his latest issue of Vulgarian Invasion makes the criminal kingpin a colorfully filthy farce. In response, Fong and his goons table saw Travis’s writing hand off. With his livelihood separated from the rest of his body, Travis falls into a depressive slumber to where he doesn’t leave his apartment, find new work, or even take a stand for revenge. The same cannot be said for his decomposing hand that suddenly revives and confronts Travis. Looking to settle the score with Fong and his gang, Travis and his appendage join forces with a true to life S&M superhero based of one of Travis’s caricatures and take up arms (get it?) against Fong’s criminal syndicate.
“Bloody Knuckles” is vulgar, distasteful, and offensive – I loved every minute of it! Director Matt O.’s (Matt O’Mahoney) debut feature film from Canada makes “Idle Hands” seem weak and childish in comparison. The “Addams Family” Thing is a cutesy puppy dog whose sporting a knitted winter sweater while the “Bloody Knuckles” Hand is cracking skulls as it’s cracking it’s own bloody knuckles in a spiked leather jacket. This Hand is more like the Ash’s evil hand from “Evil Dead 2!” There hasn’t been this much fun in a film in awhile and I’m considering the Matt O. film to be one of my favorite horror Blu-ray releases of 2015 from Artsploitation Films. “Bloody Knuckles” has it all: limitless violence, scrupulous comedy, glorified gore, a penchant for the politically incorrect, nudity, a living severed hand, and a gay S&M badass looking to spank to death the opposition.
Mainly, the underlying message of “screw censorship” hits, in a good way, the main artery for this reviewer as our lovely site, Its Bloggin’ Evil, is all about pushing the boundaries, divulging the full story, and leaving everything out on the table for all to bare witness. Being crass is nice too and that’s “Bloody Knuckles” schtick; a unique stance that most films and filmmakers won’t risk due to the fear of their work not being picked up and released, shunned and stored deep in the depressing closets of death and disparity. “Bloody Knuckles” splays the notion of artistic freedom throughout the duration and in many different formats from comics, to the press, and to shock art.
The special effects were top notch quality and handled by the Academy Award-nominated company Image Engine of Vancouver, who had their hands mixed into major studio work such as James Gunn’s “Slither,” HBO’s highly praised television series “Game of Thrones,” and the prequel to John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” The Hand, whether as a live hand with makeup or a prosthetic one, never looked underfunded or cheesy. The Hand was given a Frankenstein life and was appropriately made into a sympathetic character. Even though Hand is part of Travis, Hand is actually a woman’s hand, Krista Magnusson’s hand to be exact, and not even for a second will you be able to tell. The rest of the effects don’t disappoint; the exaggerated gruesomeness of certain effects shots brings back memories of watching “The Stuff” and “Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky!”
Aside from Krista Magnusson, the lineup of actors and actresses were destined to portray these character roles. Kasey Ryne Mazak as the ruthless and merciless Leonard Fong had pegged perfectly the well-dressed with an oversized ego but with a short stature stereotype. Dwayne Bryshun as Homo Dynamous, a Travis’s gay S&M superhero, brings to life such as an extravagant character, turning a simple gay caricature into a living and breathing bondage Bond. Lead actor Adam Boys as Travis could turn on the charm, the sarcasm, and the girly scream on a dime and so naturally that Travis instantly becomes a likable character. The witty and gritty banter between all the characters, even Hand using the type-to-speech function on Travis’s computer, is well written and doesn’t bog down the blitzkrieg story.
I can’t say I’ve yet to come across a poor release from Artsploitation Films. Aside from a controversial and entertaining subject matter of the films, the Blu-ray’s 1.78:1 aspect ratio has great quality that can outshine many competitors. The Blu-ray of “Bloody Knuckles” contains a clean and sharp image that doesn’t become murky in the darkness to which the film is mostly set, whether being night outside or in dark inside quarters. There’s slight posterization during the a few pitch black night sequences, but I found that everything was nicely outlined or visible without little interference from it. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is the preferable option if you have the equipment; the dialogue is at the forefront which is key for this film and the rest of the tracks are well-balanced. Other audio options include a 5.1 Dolby Digital and a 2.0 Dolby Stereo. There are tons of extras clocking around 130 minutes worth of content and the icing on the cake with the whole release is a portion of Travis’s comic Vulgarian Invasion on the reverse side of the Blu-ray cover art. Hands down, “Bloody Knuckles” is a must own!