Gather around ye filth faithful, Uncle Kurt's breaking out the venerated Old School Style since he's been beaten into the dirt by The Taint, by any measure the sickest horror movie he's seen in a long time. You see, like the band King Crimson, (when music is written that only King Crimson can play, then King Crimson forms to play it) Old School Style seems only to appear when the right movie comes along. The Taint is that movie, so far over the top that it's staring at its own ass; either irredeemable trash or the best horror satire ever. Probably both.
(I'll be frank and admit that I'd recommend the most loose mood you can muster before watching The Taint. Whether that necessitates meditation or libation is up to you.) But the fact is, in this movie that contains a scene titled, 'We're All Misogynists,' every male antagonist runs around with his semi-erect dork hanging out of his pants, (don't worry, they're prosthetic) and if you can't take that, it's time to run away.
As set up brilliantly with color retouched stock footage during credits, The Taint depicts the aftermath of an infected water supply, tainted with a Viagra-like drug that actually turns its male users into insanely misogynistic zombie killers. Phil (Drew Bolduc - the guy responsible for most of the movie) sort-of wakes up in the midst of this madness. (Apparently he's been banging the farmer's daughter in the barn for ten days or something.) Anyway, Phil basically wakes up to discover that the world has turned into a bunch of wang-waggling zombies keen on nothing but masturbating on female victims while bashing their heads in with rocks. We follow Phil and his savior Misandra (Colleen Walsh) as they navigate a flashback-laden journey to ...?
Actually, the movie really doesn't have an end, even though it's barely 70-minutes long with credits, and yet my messed-up ass was sorry to see it go. For a movie that features more fake ejaculate and authentic vomiting than every other movie I've ever seen combined, The Taint is both curiously smart and amazingly fortunate to succeed in virtually everything it attempts. It makes me just want to blather. Acting's great all around. No one's taking anything too seriously, but they're not throwing it away either - goofing trumps tired irony any day - and Bolduc's assembled a solid cast of goofs, both believable and funny. Walsh could easily transplant her tough-girl psycho into a Studio production, Bolduc's Jon Heder similarities, comic timing and relaxed work are all top notch (not to mention his sleazy directorial and sicko writing skills) - hell, he even merits the two roles he gives himself. Cody Crenshaw and Kenneth Hall both contribute performances simultaneously restrained and over-the-top, as well. But near-endless scenes of women's skulls bashed-in surround them, and vivid shots of men's schlongs blasted by shotgun, plus there's some really sick stuff, too.
I could go on, but I think what I'm getting at here is that Bolduc deconstructs horror with a master's touch. Is spitting out a mouthful of pea soup not convincing enough as vomit for you? Bolduc's gonna actually spew copiously for you, then! Are you unsure as to the popularly accepted subtext of horror movies? Bolduc believes that subtext might just be misogyny and bashing women's heads in while still wanting them as sex objects. [Misogyny is just as bad as any other 'misos', (Latin for hatred) as both Bolduc and I know. It's a joke, people! - Ed.] And while The Taint unfolds with terrible confidence, employing subtle CGI and razor-sharp editing to make every hideous or dramatic effect as strong as possible, it's also goofy and stupid as fuck. Damn it, I'm done here. Great job, Bolduc; your sick, sick masterpiece looks to be a leadoff home run.
The Taint looks pretty good for a low-budge indie feature. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, this presentation betrays seemingly digital origins, with most aspects of the image looking slightly keyed-up. That said, detail levels are OK - not great - and there's plenty of motion blur, plus aliasing. On the other hand, the image is quite crisp (and really well photographed) and colors are quite vibrant. Some flashback footage is black and white, and less refined.
Digital 2.0 Stereo Audio has problems. Some dialog sounds to have been recorded live - hell, maybe all of it was - thus the sexy scientist chick off in the corner is totally unintelligible, while other stuff is occasionally too quiet or muffled. The soundtrack - sparingly applied and as stylish and astute as the rest of the movie - is, however, WAY TOO LOUD in comparison to dialog.
Scene Selections and Trailers for The Taint are numbered among the relatively scanty extras. Bolduc, writer/producer Dan Nelson and actors contribute a Director's Commentary that shatters most of my illusions about intent, etc. while still entertaining and informing me. The disc comes in a clear, standard sized keepcase with an arresting pink, hand drawn cover that brings to mind the ethos of 1980s DIY rock poster making. It totally fits the bill.
Though Drew Bolduc's low-budget sleaze festival impishly pushes every possible button, and is as vile as anything you may ever see, it's just a joke, right? And a damn good one, too. Bolduc's horror smarts, skill behind the camera, and lazily trenchant writing and acting, plus co-director Dan Nelson's super-tight cinematography and skull-crushing SPFX, ensure that this is the funniest exploitation flick about masturbating zombies that you'll see in your entire lifetime. If you have any shred of decency, you'll avoid this like the plague. But if you're like me - and if you're even questioning yourself, you're probably like me - you know The Taint is Highly Recommended. If you belong to the other 99% , you'll Skip it. (But what fun are you, then?)
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com