It’s a gore film! No, it’s an art film! No, it’s a gore film! No, it’s an art film! I got it…it’s GART!
Once we get past the opening credits sequence, featuring the Mutilation Man looking all mutilated, we’re treated to some grainy super 8mm footage of a boy burying who I assume to be his dead mother. I’m going to say assume a lot because I sure don’t know what the hell happened in this movie. Guess I’ve been away from art school too long. Anyways, the reason I think it’s the kid’s mother is because this scene is followed up with footage of the kid and his dad (VanBebber) hanging out watching TV, eating and playing. No momma in sight. Later, through a series of repetitive flashbacks, we see that the father had beaten the mother to death. Okay, so that makes sense. But the thing is, shortly after the kid buries his mother at the beginning of the film, a grown man, THE MUTILATION MAN, rises naked from the pit. Er? So this is either a metaphor for the kid burying his awful childhood, only to rise as the Mutilated Man at a later age or he really is burying his mother and it’s this grievous act that gives birth to the Mutilated Man. I smart. But I’m not gonna try and dissect this entire film. Makes my brain hurt.
So from here on in, we follow the Mutilation Man, a very “El Topo” type character who wanders around a desolate land in a black trench coat and hat, running into weird characters left and right – naked cannibals, a crazy gothic chick and a band of others. But it’s when a group of heavy metal yokels stumble upon the drifter that he begins to give self-mutilation shows…long self-mutilation shows, while his fans cheer him on.
As the Mutilation Man continues to wander, stopping every once in a while to fondle a gothic chick or give a show, we’re treated with an endless barrage of flashbacks featuring distorted film images and sound, lots of nonsense and lots of SCREAMING. There’s very little dialogue in this film, but damnit does everyone love to scream. It’s either the characters’ screaming or mixed in screams with the rest of the audio terrorism. This just may be a sign of my old age, but if I ever hear anyone scream or roar again, I’m kicking them in the chest.
Shot in 16mm, super 8mm and video, “The Mutilation Man” supposedly took three years to make. You know what? Andrew Copp could’ve cut that time in half by cutting the length of his movie in half. For an “experimental” piece, if you wanna call it that, 80 minutes is just way too long. A shorter film would’ve worked a lot better. Even though I still wouldn’t know what the hell was going on.
Despite my indifference, I’m sure there’s an audience out there somewhere for Andy’s film. I can just see it now – a bunch of punk rock underground film aficionados pinching their chins and nodding their heads, “This is about the pain of man.” You got that right, Buckwheat. But I guess what some people see as art, others will see as a mish mash of influences including “El Topo,” “The Begotten” and Lucio Fulci movies.