Cast: Alastair Gamble, Mihola Terzic, Nathan Witte, Wade Gibb, Candice Lewald, Jeremy Beland, Trevor Gemma, Scott Alonzo, Danielle Munro, Stephanie Schacter, Saraphina Bardeaux, Dan Ellis
Hearing the title Gutterballs conjures up images of a Troma-esque horror comedy, possibly in the slasher vein, complete with juvenile humor, tits and loads of gore. Teens running free with their genitals hanging out, fucking, swilling beer, getting their heads bashed in with 2, count them, 2 bowling balls. It’s what pops into my head when I hear the somewhat misleading title and see the specious promotion for Ryan Nicholson’s sophomore writer/director effort. Because what you get when you push play on your DVD player is a hyper-violent, mean-spirited, crude and sleazy homage to movies like Zito’s The Prowler, Deodato’s House on the Edge of the Park and Lustig’s Maniac.
During a late night after-hours bowling match between two groups of kids – who apparently have a history of disdain for one another – a fight breaks out after the bad guys harass the slutty girl and the transvestiteon the other team. The old guy who runs the alley runs both groups off with his shotgun and the kids decide to come back the next night to finish their competition. Once outside the slutty girl remembers that she left her purse inside and returns by herself to fetch it only to find that the hoods are waiting for her. They take turns raping and brutalizing her until the coup de gras of topping the night off with the ol’ “pin in the puss” gag.
Returning the next night like nothing was wrong, the groups begin their bowling challenge. One by one the slasher fodder pair off to the darkest and dirtiest corners of the neon lit bowl-a-rama to do somerama-ingof their own and get murdered by a mysterious psycho who wears a “Pin-a Colada” bowling ball bag on his head. The remaining victims-in-waiting notice that a new “bowler” with the initals “BBK” is on the scoreboard and he is rolling nothing but strikes (actually it’s skulls and crossbones counting down each kill he makes). Finally after all but 3 of the 10 teens are missing, they begin to think something is awry. It doesn’t take long before they meet the bag-headed killer and the big reveal can only be just around the corner.
The synopsis is really negligible here. What really matters is the relentless parade of tits, ass and ultra-violent kills that will make any self-respecting gore hound giddy. I have read reviews of non-horror critics as well as supposed genre aficionados who, I believe, missed the point. Yes, the promotion of this movie is a real head scratcher, but if you go into it realizing that Ryan is a grindhouse-era fanboy who tried and succeeded in making his own post-’80s contribution to those filthy films that he obviously loves, then you will appreciate the “balls-out” attitude of Gutterballs. People love the “classics” for their sneering, seething in-your-face explicit content but when a contemporary filmmaker does it these days, he is called hateful or a misogynist. This movie is a big “FUCK YOU” to those people.
Nicholson not only wanted the content to be a throwback, but the look and sound of the movie also harkens back to the shitty, low-budget shockers. The picture is grainy, the colors muted (aside from the neon) and the lighting is very dark. The score is loud and in the forefront while some of the dialogue sounds like they were using a two tin cans connected by a string instead of boom mics. Even the clothes look like they were straight out of a Dance Fever episode. But as I said, this is all to give it that authentic feel. Danger After Dark/TLA Releasing did a good job with the few extras on the disk. The commentary and the “Making of” featurette is worth your time if you dig the movie as thoroughly as I did.