Welcome to Film Apocalypse!






R    E    V    I    E    W    S

Gutterballs (2008)



The 1980s are considered by many horror fans to be the glory days of the slasher movie.  You had directors who were serious about not taking themselves too seriously offering up classic killers in awesomely silly scenarios killing moronic teenagers who wore outrageous clothes over a soundtrack of cheesy music.  By the time the 1990s hit, it seems like everyone had lost the ability to be immature.  In recent years, underground filmmakers who grew up watching the classic 80s films started buying video cameras and doing what the big studios are now afraid to do: make good stupid movies.  The problem is that most of these filmmakers don't have the technical experience to create films that the average movie watcher can enjoy.  Inconsistent audio, poor video quality, bad acting, inexperienced directing and absolutely no understanding of lighting often combine to undermine the great scripts that could have been turned into classic movies.  At least that was the case until those crazy Canadians at Plotdigger Films created the movie Gutterballs!

isn't a good movie; it's a fucking great movie!  It's really that simple.  Writer / Director Ryan Nicholson and his amazing cast and crew completely nailed the 80s slasher style with this film.  The gore is over the top.  The death scenes are classics.  There's lots of nudity.  The props and prosthetics are amazingly detailed.  Plus, the picture quality is great, the editing was professional and there weren't any of the audio problems that plague most low budget and no budget movies.  On top of all that, the soundtrack for the film is basically a who's who of 1980s Canadian rock featuring April Wine, Loverboy, Trooper, Chilliwack, BTO and Honeymoon Suite.*  What more could you ask for in a slasher film?!

The entire movie takes place at a bowling alley where two groups of moronic teenagers hang out after hours basically to bowl and fight with each other.  One night, one of the girls in one group is brutally raped by the preppies of the other group.  She doesn't tell her friends, but shows up the next night for the big bowling tournament.  One by one, people from both groups meet their bloody demise in some of the most unique and entertaining ways offered in any film!

When Quentin Tarantino started making films in the 1990s, he paid tribute to the bad exploitation films of the 70s by taking the best aspects of those films and throwing revved up versions of them all together in each of his movies.  That is exactly what Ryan Nicholson has done for 80s slasher movies with Gutterballs.  He's obviously watched his share of slasher movies and probably left each one thinking, "That would have been cooler with more nudity and gore."   He didn't disappoint on either level.  The prosthetics and props on this movie are just as good as anything on a big budget movie and probably a lot better than the prosthetics from the 80s movies that inspired this film.  My favorite prop was without a doubt the Wax-O-Matic; a bowling ball waxing machine with a robotic voice that talked a lot of shit and sprayed a lot of blood!  It was simply awesome!  There's so much blood and gore throughout the film that when there was even MORE blood and gore at the conclusion, I was surprised and impressed.  

The costumes, the set and even soundtrack (it must have cost a fortune to get the rights to all of those songs) were all classic 1980s.  If it hadn't been for one cell phone and a reference to a debit card, I could have believed that the movie had actually been filmed in the 80s.  There was a great cross section of 80s characters; the long haired rocker, the new wave guy, the black guy in the Adidas jacket, the gang of preppies and all of the chicks in colorful spandex!  The coolest thing about the costumes was that most of them looked authentic and weren't so over the top that they felt like a parody.  The after hours lighting of the bowling alley was a perfect backdrop for this movie.  Most of the cast was great, but standout performances were delivered by Dan Ellis as the bitter old guy who worked at the bowling alley, Candice Lewald as the rape victim, Scott Alonzo as the new wave guy, Nathan Witte as the afro sporting cool black dude who led the good guy group, Wade Gibb and Nathan Dashwood as the preppies and Alastair Gamble as the amazingly evil preppie leader.

If you're a fan of classic 80s slasher films, you've got to check out Gutterballs.   It's the closest thing to an 80s horror movie that's come out since the 80s.  Out of all of the movies that I've ever reviewed, none of them deserve to be a cult classic more than Gutterballs!

(*Post Review Note: Soundtrack negotiations are still underway, so some of the bands listed may not actually end up on the soundtrack.)

Gore-o-meter rating: 5 out of 5
(This movie is an absolute gore classic!)

Skin-o-meter: 4 out of 5 (There's a good bit of skin)