I saw my name mentioned in the Rock Bitch
inquiry so I thought I would try to clarify this one up. All the stills
published in the FunHouse were taken from the VHS (obtained in Amsterdam) and
titled 'Bitchcraft'. From the box cover, it is scheduled to run for 76
minutes. I do not own the DVD entitled 'Bitchcraft.' If there are scenes
missing, then one reason for this could well to make the content a little
more commercial - i.e exclude the extreme scenes (fisting and urination).
The inquirer does, however, mention another DVD "Sex, Death, Magick". I
do, actually, have a recording of this and it also runs for 76 minutes. The
content appears to be identical to the VHS - complete with the extreme stuff.
Hope this helps.
Regards from the man in the 'royal box'
In the genre of "transgressive cinema," there isn't much room left for
transgression. Let's face it, there isn't much left that hasn't already been
done, and if you are just treading on a pre-blazed trail, there isn't really
much transgressin' goin' on. Gutterballs tries to meet the challenge by
combining explicit sex and nudity with explicit gore in a format which I can
only as "hardcore slasher" because the violence is outrageously over the top
and the sex is only a hair shy of actual hardcore porn.
People of both sexes
are brutally beaten and raped on camera. Buckets of blood flow out of
arteries. Intestines dangle out of mutilated corpses. People die in grisly and
painfully lingering ways which would shock Brave Sir Robin's minstrels.
Decapitation is a particularly popular theme.
In the midst of the carnage, there is sex - or maybe I should say "sexual
carnage." The first substantial nudity occurs in a brutal gang-rape which
occupies more than seven minutes of running time. The second major nude scene
involves a pair of lovebirds killed while in the 69 position in the dark. The
killer chokes the woman on the guy's penis. The guy thinks he's just getting a
really deep BJ - up to a certain point. The camera reveals the couple's
genitals with some explicitness, albeit not in hardcore detail or duration.
As the film begins, violence erupts in an after hours bowling match between
two rival gangs of youths. The proprietor of the lanes breaks up the fight and
sends the kids away at shotgun point, but when one of the girls returns to the
bowling alley to get a forgotten purse, she is raped by the other gang. When
the same two gangs resume their grudge bowling the following night, members of
both gangs are picked off one-by-one by a bowling alley madman ... or ...
madwoman. The body count is supposed to be driven by the dramatic hook of the
masked murderer's identity, although I'm not sure why anyone in the audience
would care. We know that the murders must have something to do with the
previous night's rape, and the raped woman mysteriously disappears early in
the film, so she must be involved somehow. Unfortunately her disappearance
cheats us of even the cheapest of the cheap thrills the plot might have
delivered, because without her there is no Laurie Strode character with whom
we can identify, so there is no way for us to become emotionally invested in
the plot. Each of the film's characters is so unsympathetic that the killer
actually seems to be doing them and us a favor. Since several of the victims
are brutal rapists, their losses are not mourned, and we might have some
emotional involvement if the raped woman were seen getting revenge on her
tormentors. Since she disappears, however, and the masked murderer kills
members of both gangs, we are cheated of even the kind of involvement and
catharsis provided by films like "I Spit on Your Grave."
With a couple of fleeting exceptions, the deaths are not particularly
original, but the film's redeeming grace is that the gory moments were
specifically tailored to a bowling alley setting. Think about ball returns,
hot wax machines, beer bottles, and the violent things which may be done with
bowling balls and pins. The script provided ample opportunities for black
humor, however, and those opportunities were generally squandered. Although I did
laugh out loud at one funny/scary moment, the tone of the film and the
dialogue of the characters is so consistently nasty and unpleasant that the
humorous subtext can't really flourish.
The film was made with an ultra low budget, which seemed to consist
entirely of the cost of the film stock. The only set is a dark bowling alley
after hours, and the dozen or so actors seem less like professional thespians
than co-operative acquaintances of the auteur. Since it also lacks
any strong component of humor, mystery, or emotional involvement, there's only one reason to watch,
and that is if you want to see just how far it will go with the violence and
nudity. The answer is "pretty damned far," if that's your bag, baby.
My film clips:
Mr Skin's captures:
The Oxford Murders
The basic idea behind this film was to combine a standard murder mystery
with a heady, academic overlay, as filtered through pop culture. Imagine a
hybrid of The Name of the Rose and The DaVinci Code.
The setting is modern day Oxford, where an old woman's murdered body is
found simultaneously by a mathematics teacher (John Hurt) and one of his new
American students (Elijah Wood). It appears that the murder is the first of
several which will be committed by a serial murderer who will follow an
intricate puzzle code. The first murder comes with the first puzzle in a
series. The professor and his student are intrigued and undertake to solve the
series, while the police come to suspect that one or both of them are involved
in the murders.
Hurt and Frodo spend a great deal of the film's running time discussing
mathematics and its application in the real world. Hurt takes the position
that the abstract perfection of mathematics and symbolic logic inevitably
prove useless outside of the virtual universe of the mind, because real life
is too filled with uncertainty, randomness, and acts committed by irrational
minds. Frodo argues that while absolute certainty may be impossible in the
natural world, one may come close enough that the lingering vestige of
uncertainty is virtually irrelevant in practical terms. We do not know for
sure that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow, for example, but the other
possibilities are so infinitesimal that there is no reasonable case to doubt
it, and therefore every reason to build upon its assumption.
There's plenty of name-dropping from the world of philosophy, with
Heisenberg and Wittgenstein getting top billing, but unlike the far superior
The Name of the Rose, none of that jibber-jabber has much to do with the
solution to the murders. It's just backdrop, which makes it of interest mainly
to those few of us who took philosophy courses even when they were not
required. There is a little bit of name-dropping from the world of
mathematics, in which these two academics are actually supposed to dwell, but
in that case the names have been changed. The film shows and Oxford professor
solving "Bormat's last theorem," presumably because various academics would
carp about any fallacies in a proof of Fermat's famous unsolved postulation,
or perhaps because somebody (Andrew Wilkes) was acknowledged to have actually
solved the real problem between the time the script was written and the time
it was produced. Or maybe Fermat's estate was demanding a royalty check. At
any rate, the sub-plot about the professor who solved the enigma posed by the
fictional "Bormat" was utterly irrelevant to the murder mystery.
At any rate, it's a thriller which may bore you to tears in the first half
if you are not interested in epistemology, and then will frustrate you in the
second half with some of its more preposterous inventions, including an
outrageous coincidence involving the third symbol in the series of four, each
of which corresponds to one incident of murder. The second half also includes
a love scene between Frodo and Leonor Watling which is one of the most awkward
ever filmed since Liberace's
smooching in Sincerely Yours, but men may well find Ms Watling's
impressive figure to be the film's strongest aspect.
The solution is certainly not lacking in complexity. I always try to solve
a murder mystery along with the investigators, and I hadn't a clue on this one
until the curtain was pulled aside. You may find the solution quite
interesting, if convoluted and unlikely. The one thing I found most
interesting about the solution was that the student and professor both
eventually realized that each of them was responsible for one of the four
incidents, although neither of them actually committed a murder, thus making
them the proverbial butterflies whose fluttering wings eventually disrupt
weather systems on the other side of the planet, as they had debated ad
nauseum earlier in the film.