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  Revenge of Billy the Kid Acting The Goat
Year: 1992
Director: Jim Groom
Stars: Michael Balfour, Samantha Perkins, Jackie D. Broad, Bryan Heeley, Trevor Peake, Norman Mitchell, Dean Williamson, Michael Ripper, John Gugolka, John Abbott, Elaine Ives-Cameron, Derek Ware, Frank Scantori, Tim Dennison, David Read
Genre: Horror, Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Farmer Gyles MacDonald (Michael Balfour) lives on an island close to the coast of Cornwall with his brood, which includes three offspring called Ronald - even the daughter, who prefers to be known as Ronnie (Samantha Perkins). They are a coarse and rustic lot, though Ronnie is the most sensitive seeing as how she has fallen in love with Lance (Dean Williamson), a boy from a village on the mainland whose father owns the shop Old MacDonald supplies produce for. Her mother (Jackie D. Broad) is against her continuing the relationship because she doesn't want ill-repute descending on her family, but since they have just literally thrown their recently-deceased grandfather on the shitpile maybe they're not ones to talk...

And what of Billy? As you've likely worked out, the titular character was not the Wild West outlaw, although in a way you could describe him as such because this film took its West Country setting and came up with something that resembled The Wurzels making a horror movie going as far as possible with the worst fears the townies have about what the rural types get up to down on the farm when there was nobody around to stop them, or even offer a voice of reason. This was a comedy, but how funny you found it would depend on your tolerance for the lowest common denominator this team found, which was essentially humour drawn from how disgusting they could be: fart sound effects punctuated every scene.

There was a New Zealander treading much the same low budget path at the same time, and he was Peter Jackson, yet where he went on to craft huge blockbusters this lot settled in the straight to video market for the most part, though at least they were still in the business. Whether that was because of or despite their efforts here was a matter for debate, but it was so relentlessly lowbrow that there was always going to be some kind of audience for it, not that it was quite as unconventional as it appeared to think it was as the romance at the heart of it was surprisingly sincere. To clarify, the romance between Ronnie and Lance, and not the romance between Farmer Gyles and his goat, which develops when he is supposed to find a mate for it and opts to fill that role himself.

Thankfully, we don't see him commit bestiality, but we are in little doubt as to what has happened, most blatantly when against the laws of nature the goat gives birth to a hybrid baby. This elicits maternal feelings in Ronnie who looks after the bastard offpsring of man and animal, but oh dear, it seems Billy is something of a meat eater, presumably getting his taste for flesh from his father's side (a better joke would have seen him eating tin cans, perhaps, but this was horror territory as much as it was crude comedy). The beast grows bigger and bigger on this diet, though you could see where this was going from the first act, and that was a rampage through the cast with cheap and cheerful gore effects in abundance, most of the cash spent on creating the Billy costume, complete with animatronic mouth movements.

Although this was moviemaking for the easily pleased, stick it in the VCR after the pub with a curry or pizza crowd, there were the odd moments which suggested if the filmmakers had set their sights that bit higher they might have conjured up something inspired. As it was, there were the odd quips which were amusing, such as the shopkeeper who is happy to supply a jar of maggots and a galvanised bucket to customers but doesn't have any sliced bread because there's not much call for it round these parts, but it did get a shade monotonous when it felt like the same gags over and over. British horror stalwart Michael Ripper offered his blessing in a small cameo at the pub, his final appearance in a film, which was nice but not exactly Jackson paying tribute to Christopher Lee by casting him in The Lord of the Rings, but then Revenge of Billy the Kid was happy to be as rude and shoddy as it could, with in all fairness some worth in finishing a movie in the British industry climate of the early nineties when it was all going down the drain. Music by Tony Flynn.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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