If you’re fan of Troma Entertainment home of the eccentric Lloyd Kaufman and such films as the Toxic Crusader, 2016 has been a bit of a slow year. Save for the release of Return to Nuke ‘Em High vol. 2 fans of the studio have only had the talk of a larger budget remake of the Toxic Crusader to tide them over. If your desperate for a another release from the famed B movie studio the Troma influenced and distributed by B.C. Butcher may be worth looking into. As for the films selling points it is the product of a very interesting back story, and has Lloyd Kaufman attached as a producer.
The caveats for enjoying this work are many though. Even by Troma standards this is a micro budget production and is aimed almost exclusively at fans of camp, and films so unconventionally done that the viewer may walk away thinking maybe I could do that? That being said the back story for the piece is interesting enough to practically stand alone. At only 15 writer, director Kansas Bowling sent an early script of the film to Troma, and then fast forward just two years later and Bowling who had only been involved in a handful of shorts was completing the film on 16mm no less.
This achievement has earned her the distinction of being the first graduate of the so called Troma Institute for Gifted Youth. As for the films strengths the use of 16 mm film may impress some film buffs and serves to give the work a vaguely Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel which is what Bowling was going for. The film also has a pretty fun soundtrack ranging from a 60s doo- wop intro utilizing “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles to a more punk/ rockabilly type sound during the action sequences. The Ugly Kids an alt-punk type group even have a music video inserted near the end of the feature as the film amusingly breaks the fourth wall toward the end.
The films is also moderately funny totally embracing the less than academy award worthy skills of its actors, and poking fun at its lack of a budget. One scene, for example, features the lead cavewoman doing battle with a saber tooth tiger and the effect is pulled off by using a simple stuffed animal. Later in the film as if to clarify the humor of the scene a flashback is included which lingers on the toy as the cavewoman recalls her battle to the tribe. Those with a very specific taste in comedy may also find the countless prehistoric themed puns and unusual lines more amusing than lame. The film also boasts the tagline of the first prehistoric slasher film, thanks to the vaguely Jason inspired killer. After finding the body of a member of the tribe executed by the group’s leader for the crime of sleeping with her man, the mutant or monster is driven to kill by the spirit of the dead woman, or something along those lines. The hallucinations and dream sequences that follow as the slasher is driven to avenge her are all that could somewhat be considered horror here.
A potential in joke or reference is included when the slasher first arrives on screen as his face has a vague resemblance to the Toxic Crusader in caveman garb though the more you see him the less that seems to have been the goal. Another odd bit of trivia arises when viewers realize who the only semi famous actor is. Playing Rex the alpha male of the group who seems to be interested in everyone of the cavewomen other then the tribes leader is played by Kato Kaelin who is, of course, far more famous for his minor role in the OJ Simpson Trail then his acting. Finally if that sort of thing does something for you the viewer has plenty of attractive women in skimpy cavewoman attire to admire.
The films downsides of course include that even for those open to it’s off brand of humor the 50 minute running time my still be a bit excessive. Additionally aside from some humor toward the end there’s nothing very interesting about the titular B.C. Butcher. The costume which mainly just consists of the mask looks more silly the more you see it and there is nothing interesting or compelling about his kills or performance. As such viewers are treated to basically an amusing slasher spoof set in the prehistoric era or a dystopian future if you want to account for all the anachronistic references, valley girl accents, and props. If you’re a Troma fan it’s probably worth a rental though unless a physical version included a ton of extra features the purchase price is a tough sell.