Day 25: Female-Helmed Horror Movies For October
Directed and Co-Written by Kansas Bowling
I watched it on Amazon Prime.
This was not a good movie but it seems completely disinterested in being one. So I guess I won’t hold that against it. Director and Co-Writer Kansas Bowling made this movie independently when she was just 17 on 16 mm film. She’s a big proponent of still using actual film and has gone on to direct a bunch of music videos and act. I don’t see why using film was necessary for this movie, but some folks are just purists like that. The movie was then acquired by Troma. In case you haven’t heard of them, Troma is led by Lloyd Kaufman, a kind of Roger Corman-ish figure. He’s a champion of extremely low budget indie peeps and Troma puts out especially goofy, gross, inappropriate movies. They’re trying to shock you, to make something entertaining but ridiculous. So picking apart the impropriety in both cultural sensitivities or production values in a Troma film is a useless exercise. Troma movies purposefully eschew all of that. They’re trying to tear all of that apart and make the simplest, goofiest stuff they can. So to that end, “B.C. Butcher” succeeds. But I guess I’m just not a big Troma gal.
Like most slashers, the plot is extremely straightforward. In prehistoric(ish) times, Neandra (Leilani Fideler) leads her tribe of mostly women as they hang out in what looks like the small patches of woods in Los Angeles. Most of the women in the tribe, especially Neandra, think they’re the one and only for Rex. So when Neandra finds out that one of them has been sneaking off with Rex, she and several members of the tribe murder her. The B.C. Butcher finds this dead woman, falls in love with her and avenges her by killing off the tribe. That sounds more exciting than it is.
For some reason, Kato Kaelin (O.J. Simpson’s former roomie) is in this as Rex but he’s so super ridiculous and fun. Actually, the whole cast seems to know exactly what movie they’re in. I especially liked Leilani Fideler as the catty leader. It seems to be poking loving fun at the way women behave in movies. The women all act boy crazy and squeal and are forced to build up mean girl Neandra. There’s a stereotypical sort-of voodoo African character with milky eyes. Just before one character is killed, she doesn’t try to get away, for an extremely long time. She just screams and screams and stay in the same place before he finally kills her, almost out of boredom.
The movie has such purposely low production value, they use a stuffed tiger doll as a ferocious wild animal. The titular Butcher wears just a mess of a monster mask. He’s not in the least bit scary, and none of his kills are impactful in any way. One of the characters even points that out, “A monster like you? Ha! I just thought you’d be, ha, scarier.”
But I do love that the killer is motivated to avenge a dead girl. And wow to that random musical interlude where the “prehistoric” band plays instruments made out of watermelon, as they nibble on them. That’s something I’ve never seen before, so… points?? I kinda dug the ending, freezing on that primal scream and then playing the poppy/rockabilly “Alley Oop” under that frozen image. I didn’t fall for the charms of “B.C. Butcher,” but it was a pleasant enough way to pass an hour. It’s disposable but harmless.