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  Bag Boy Lover Boy Shut It, ShutterbugBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Andres Torres
Stars: Theodore Bouloukos, John Wachter, Kathy Biehl, Kara Serine, Adrienne Gori, Tina Tanzer, Marseille Morillo, Teena Byrd, Sarah O'Sullivan, Saoko Osano, James Elwood, Norman Outlaw, Peter Trojgaard, Ryan Preimesberger, Amanda Charles
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Weirdo
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Albert (John Wachter) makes his living in New York City as a fast food vendor, but has halting dreams of bettering himself, though he is unsure of the specifics. One night, a couple approach the kiosk and ask for two hotdogs, but are alarmed when he drops one on the floor and picks it up with his tongs, then replaces it on the grill, and start to protest that the state of the hygiene in this place must be appalling. However, just as the argument is growing heated, another customer steps in, photographer Ivan (Theodore Bouloukos), and sticks up for Albert, seeing off the arguers and offering him the opportunity of a lifetime...

Well, sort of, maybe more an opportunity of a deathtime if truth be told as Albert's limited social skills were put to a very sorry test in director Andres Torres' brief but vivid tribute to New York's trash cinema of years gone by. Not necessarily the straightforward genre works, though you could describe this as a horror movie, especially in its latter half, but more those would-be meaningful dramas that happened to feature a dose of sex and violence to rub the audience's noses in the grimmer aspects of existence as those who patronised the grindhouses would have been acquainted with, and those making the movies certainly would be.

Aware that the vast majority of filmgoers would be either unware of these efforts (though there were a surprising amount of barely amateur directors marshalling their tiny crews on cheap location shoots and cheaper apartment scenes back in those half-forgotten days) or if they were aware of them, would wonder why anyone would feel nostalgic for the real bottom of the barrel material they represented, Torres was facing an uphill battle in generating interest in his project, but unlike a lot of his low budget contemporaries he did secure distribution, albeit in those festivals that attracted stuff like this before DVD or (if lucky) Blu-ray beckoned - streaming was starting to snap these up too.

What that demonstrated was there was an audience who did indeed appreciate those old trash movies, and were keen to see their dubious tradition continued into the twenty-first century after their heyday of the nineteen-sixties and seventies. There was assuredly no shortage of financially embarrassed directors who would cash in, but perhaps Bag Boy Lover Boy had more in common with the dissection of hopeless cases in the nineties straight to VHS efforts such as Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend and their ilk, works that made a virtue of their grime, aching depression and general dejection - plus a bit of sex and violence thrown in. The difference here was that Torres had access to a swanky digital camera, so his pursuits at least came across looking glossy.

As for the plot, it was typical of the subgenre, with Albert the alienated loser exploited by Ivan the photographer who purely wants him to pose for fetish photographs, the reason presumably being that the market looks at his skinny frame and gormless looks and thinks well, if he can "get" these women then so can I. Albert, however, seemingly has some inkling of his situation and keeps needling Ivan to teach him photography, believing this is a better vocation than hotdog salesman, which may be true, but New York City will always need fast food and whether they need another photographer is a more questionable proposition. Before long, all the suspicions about weirdoes and misfits were confirmed by Torres and his co-writer Toni Comas, and Albert has resorted to murder to get his jollies (and his bungled photographs), and the fact this was described as a comedy was the most remarkable element to it. If it was, it had the quality of someone blowing a seventy-seven-minute long raspberry right in your face, while stroking their chin philosophically. Music by Barbara De Biasi.

[Severin's multi-region Blu-ray contains a spotless rendering of the movie, plus an audio commentary, trailer and two weird shorts directed by Wachter.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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