Wednesday, August 31, 2016

B.C. Butcher (2016)

There certainly has been an influx of teenage girls writing and directing horror movies in recent years, and that is awesome! Today I'll be looking at B.C. Butcher, 'the world's first prehistoric slasher film', released by Troma, and directed by the then 17-year old Kansas Bowling!...

In the distant past, a tribe of cavewomen has just executed member Dina for attempting to run off with the leader Neandra's partner Rex. Soon after, her body is found by a deformed creature, and just barely alive, she psychically begs him to hunt down those responsible for her suffering, and kill them...

Inspired by the like of One Million Years B.C., Caveman, and various other flicks, B.C. Butcher is more accessible than other Troma flicks, so it's certainly a good introduction to the company's line-up of material (But then again, if I'm told a filmmaker or company's works are an acquired taste, I tend to go for the most inaccessible to begin with, to see how I gel with their toughest material right off the bat). It's got distinctive characters, and a fun story, with an ending that you might find either funny or tragic, depending on how you view it. The lead Neandra is riotously funny! She's the kind of unlikable character who could be frustrating to watch in the wrong hands, but both the writing and performance help make her fun to watch.

Overall, despite its so-bad-it's-good style, B.C. Butcher always makes a genuine effort, and that is greatly appreciated!

At just shy of 52 minutes, B.C. Butcher is quite short, and that works in the film's favour. While I'm sure it would've been fine with a regular run-time, at least this way it definitely doesn't overstay its welcome, or ever get dull and boring. At the very least, if you don't much like the film, it's over quickly.

The anachronistic soundtrack adds a lot to the film. It has a very 60's style, from the main theme Alley Oop (courtesy of the Hollywood Argyles), to other tracks, and these fit perfectly with the proceedings, despite the stark difference between 60's pop, and the prehistoric setting. The punk rock on the other hand didn't mesh as well for me. Still good music though, so it's not that big a deal. There's also a really good Spaghetti Western tune at the end! Overall, the score is nicely varied, lots of fun, and the bizarre musical interlude featuring The Ugly Kids, as presented by modern day Rodney Bingenheimer, doesn't feel too out-of-place, either.

There are plenty of deliberately unconvincing effects on display here, from the obvious lipstick, and the tailor-made cavewoman costumes, to sausage link intestines, and the 'tiger' the tribe kills, which has to be seen to be believed! Those, among other things (including a funny, and pretty creative, eye gouging)   The locale is neat, sometimes looking goofy, with modern-day buildings in the background, and other times looking genuinely fitting.

There are some genuinely good effects too. The mask for the titular Butcher looks really good, even if it is visibly a mask being worn by a regular guy, and the watermelon instruments in the musical number are impressive too!

The acting is intentionally over-the-top and exaggerated, but never bad. The lead performances courtesy of Leilani Fideler, Natasha Halevi, Molly Elizabeth Ring, Devyn Leah, and Miranda Robin, are fun and lively, and none came across as annoying to me, which is a pitfall for actors trying to 'act badly'. In a smaller role is Kato Kaelin, who I found to be a bit annoying at first, but on rewatch, I didn't mind him as much. And finally, Kadeem Hardison narrates the intro, doing a neat job at it.

B.C. Butcher is an enjoyable little flick, and I can totally picture watching it in a groovy 50's/60's drive-in,  I totally recommend it! It doesn't seem to have a DVD release yet, but it's watchable on Troma's movie streaming website with a subscription (which are surprisingly cheap!), and there's no geographical restrictions either, thankfully, so it's only a watch away...

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