Gutterballs is a 2008 slasher film written, produced, special fx, & directed by Ryan Nicholson (Famine, Hanger, Collar, Live Feed, Star Vehicle, Torched, & Gutterballs 2). Nicholson is mainly known for his special fx work on such films as Final Destination, Scary Movie, Ghost Rider, The Predator, Deadpool 2, Blair Witch, Reindeer Games, Dreamcatcher, Lake Placid, & many others. He directed his own films for his own company Plotdigger Films while he wasn’t working on those major productions. It was produced by special fx artist Roy Nicholson (Collar & Live Feed). The estimated budget for the production was $250,000. It premiered at 2008’s Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors. It has had several DVD home video releases in the U.S. from both Plotdigger Films & TLA Releasing which included the original version with different music plus the extended x-rated Pin-Etration Edition. The word “FUCK” is used 516 times in the film making it the 4th of all time in cinema history!!!!
On January 2008 at the Xcalibur Bowling Centre, the janitor (played by: Dan Ellis from Hanger, Monsturd, Star Vehicle, The Profane Exhibit, & American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock) has allowed two groups of teenagers to bowl against one another after hours. Steve (played by: Alastair Gamble from Mind’s Eye, Hanger, & Hardwired) is still bitter after his best friend Jamie (played by: Nathan Witte from Batwoman & Charmed) had sex with Lisa (played by: Candice Lewald from Hanger). After Steve plus his friends Joey (played by: Wade Gibb from Cannibal Lipstick, Hanger, & Shifter), Patrick (played by: Trevor Gemma from Dead Hooker in a Trunk & ABCs of Death 2.5), & A.J. (played by: Nathan Dashwood from Hanger, Shifter, & Choose Your Victim) harass the “tranny” Sam (played by: Jimmy Blais from Mohawk Girls & Swallowed Whole). This leads to a brawl between the teams. Egerton, tells the teenagers to leave & they can continue their tournament the following night. Lisa, forgot her purse in the arcade but she finds her defenseless against Steve & his friends who were waiting for her. Steve violently rapes Lisa while the others watch. The others rape Lisa after Steve is finished with her. Steve returns with a bowling pin & prepares to insert it into Lisa until he forces Patrick to do it instead. The four leave Lisa on the pool table, naked & barely conscious. The following night, the two groups arrive at the bowling alley to continue their tournament. Steve is joined by his “girlfriends” Julia (played by: Danielle Munro from Girlfriend Experience) & Hannah (played by: Saraphina Bardeaux). Jamie arrives late with Lisa who barely speaks. The rest of the team includes Ben (played by: Jeremy Beland), Cindy (played by: Stephanie Schacter), & Sarah (played by: Mihola Terzic from Collar). During the game, the players notice a mystery player on the scoreboard, BBK but believe it is just a glitch. Dave (played by: Scott Alonzo from Sibling Rivalry & How the Sky will Melt), one of Jamie’s friends hooks up with Julia at the bar. A mysterious person wearing bowling attire kills both of them in a gruesome unique way. Two strikes appear next to BBK on the scoreboard in the form of a skull & crossbones. The game continues but people start missing out of nowhere. The survivors have no clue about the dangerous killer that’s hunting them down one by one. Can they get along long enough to escape this psychopath? Or Will they all be stuck playing their brutal game until their death????
This is my favorite film from director Ryan Nicholson who also played the villain BBK in some of the scenes. Gutterballs features some of his best kills, gore, atmosphere, & his greatest character of all time. It’s a nasty & mean spirited slasher that doesn’t hold anything back. It’s a great homage to the 80’s slasher film & sub-genre. Depending on the version you see, it’s gets rather extreme when it comes to the blood & the sex. The original version is loaded with creative murders, filthy dialogue, & lots of sleaze including lots of nudity. The synth score really creates the tone for this & it fits it perfect like it’s one of the characters. Ryan Nicholson has always been very loyal to his cast & crew members. He puts the same people in most of his projects. Unfortunately, most of these actors are very amateur or have no experience at all. I will say that Dan Ellis was really good in this & he had the best performance out of everyone involved. Ryan really should have let others write his films because his dialogue can get cringe worthy every once in awhile. Then again, it makes most of his characters very unlikable & you are ready to see them get slaughtered which works for this type of feature. Luckily, most fans do not watch Ryan Nicholson movies for the script & acting. They want to see gruesome deaths, red all over the screen with top notch special fx, & nudity that would make Mr. Skin proud. Ryan Nicholson delivered on all of that with this low budget production. The Pin-Etration Edition is included on this release as a bonus feature. It’s the x-rated & un-edited hardcore cut of Gutterballs. It’s pornographic at times & it actually has even more blood soaked entertainment added to it. Not going to lie, it gets unconformable during some scenes so it’s definitely not for everyone. If you watch that version, make sure you are in the right company because it will be very awkward if you are not. I am looking forward to the sequel Balls Deep finally getting finished & released soon. Unearthed Films is doing a great thing about restoring & keeping the memory of Ryan Nicholson through these home video releases of his past work. If you are wanting to check out an independent horror slasher that’s a throwback to the 80’s, you are going to love Gutterballs. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Unearthed Films! This 1080p (1.83:1) transfer is definitely better than all the previous home video releases. It’s a low budget feature & it does show at times but it works for something like this. Gutterballs is dark & grainy but it kinda adds to it’s crazy atmosphere. The English: LPCM 2.0 track is an upgrade compared to the older DVDs that were put out in the states. All the vulgar dialogue is crystal clear, the mayhem is elevated, & 80’s style score has a nice boost here. As far as the technical aspects, this release isn’t going to blow you away or anything but it’s the best possible version for Gutterballs available on home video.
Let’s discuss the special features from Unearthed Films! The best extra on this disc is the extended/un-edited/uncut/x-rated version of Gutterballs known as the “Pin-etration Edition”. For the longest time, this cut was hard to see unless you have the special edition which was very limited. It has even more gore than the other version plus it’s loaded with hardcore shots. This one is more extreme than your normal horror flick, it’s very graphic & it’s not watered down at all. It’s presented in standard definition which actually makes it even sleazier. It has an “Audio Commentary” with director Ryan Nicholson. He chats about how he came up with the concept. He talks about shooting on location at the bowling alley. He goes over the cast & crew for it. He brings up the special fx, gore, & deaths from the film. He mentions that they shot the kills somewhere else besides the main location due to all the blood & crazy fx used for them so they wouldn’t mess up the Xcaliber bowling alley. He defends nudity in cinema & he says he made the characters horrible on purpose for Gutterballs. He has a great sense of humor about everything here & he has lots of fun talking about the production for his film. “Behind the Balls: The Making of Gutterballs” is almost 43 minutes. It has interviews with director Ryan Nicholson, actors Dan Ellis, Nathan Witte, Jimmy Blais, Alastair Gamble, Wade Gibb, Jeremy Beland, Stephanie Schacter, & various members of the production. It’s mainly an interview with Ryan Nicholson. He goes into great detail about the feature & his experience on it. It starts out with a hilarious intro from one of the actors. It has behind the scenes footage from the set. It has a few of the same topics brought up that were talked about the commentary here. Ryan Nicholson says this was ready before Live Feed but they felt the other would have been a better project to debut with. He mentions the characters were made awful on purpose for Gutterballs to make it easier to kill them. Some of the actors describe their character & what happens to them in this. He calls it a over the top cartoon for adults. He chats about his love for 80’s slashers & this was a homage to them. He talks about the graphic rape scene here & the reaction they got for it. They go over the look & the costumes for the feature, trying to bring everything back to the 80’s. They chat about the bowling alley location & the shooting schedule for Gutterballs. Nicholson breaks down some of his favorite death scenes from the production. He goes over the special fx for them. He brings up the nudity & how important it was. The cast & crew talk about their experience for working with Ryan Nicholson. This is an older extra & it’s in standard definition. A little over 13 minute “Photo Gallery” featuring a variety of pictures & stills from the production. It has a “Trailer” for Gutterballs. It also have additional “Trailers” for Collar, Famine, Nightwish, & The Song of Solomon from Unearthed Films including a few Nicholson films. That’s a decent amount of bonus material but Unearthed Films released a “Collector’s Edition” with a bonus disc with over 40 hours of footage on it. Honestly, I was hoping to get that one because it really hasn’t been covered yet & it sounds amazing. Live Feed is the next Nicholson feature to get a blu ray release from the label & like I said before I can’t wait to finally see the sequel to this when it’s released. This is available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!