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Not every movie I watch do I do so to be entertained. If you watch “genre” films, you pick the genre; you realize many of the better films do not aim merely to entertain, but to move you, to take you on a journey from the safe, moist place on your couch to whatever version of “another” place the filmmaker wishes you to arrive. It’s usually about the journey…THE MUTILATION MAN, a film by upstart director Andy Copp seeks to put you on the road, in a slightly different place (this looks nothing like the Dayton, Ohio I know) and a slightly different time period, is it the future? Probably, but more importantly it’s a moment of history, or moments that are trapped in the cerebral cortex of one man. This road trip is marked by images of rape, child abuse, self-hatred driven mutilation, sexual deviancy and death. Copp tries to get you, as well as, his main character to the other side.

Part art film ala’ a zero budget Jodorworsky, part horror tinged gut churner ala’ Deodato, Copp takes a small amount of cash, some talented actors and some nice “homemade” effects and delivers a very effective effort. Experimental but not annoyingly so, THE MUTILATION MAN uses the stutter-stop brain waves of a sick individual as the narrative timeline of the film, short of the rantings of an abusive father, and the catcalls of the followers of Copp’s main character, the film is dialogue free. A pulsing soundtrack and interesting sound mix tricks help catapult you into Copp’s world of self-mutilation as cathartic entertainment for all involved.

THE MULITAION MAN begins bizarrely as a young boy is buried, only to reemerge from his shallow grave as a man. Naked, longhaired, covered with dirt, excrement and self-loathing. Terek Puckett delivers a performance worthy of note as this man. Puckett’s Ivan wanders through what may be a dream or flashback of horrifically mutilated and recently deceased bodies strewn haphazardly, this opening sequence goes a long way to firm up that Copp has a future in filmmaking. But don’t expect linear film from this point on, inside of Ivan’s head are images of his father, raping his mother/girlfriend/whore as Ivan witnesses this acts amid the squalor of inner city Dayton, Ohio. The bizarre, sparse lighting, the nasty, shit-stained flop Copp used as a set all adds to the viewers since of discomfort. But this is where Copp must put us to make us realize why Ivan is trying to purge something. Ivan’s father is brought into being by underground director/writer Jim Van Bebber. Bebber is praised around here and honestly I consider his breakthrough film DEADBEAT AT DAWN the best low budget action film ever made, bar none. Van Bebber, like Copp hails from Dayton and according to Copp, not only does Jim add to the production by turning in a truly twisted, gutsy performance, he helped out with equipment, expertise and the like. The scenes of Jim Van Bebber are so over the top at times it’s difficult to watch, but Copp build this fucking trip into layers. As Ivan progresses into his roll as THE MUTILATION MAN, the flashback and strange goings on in his head reveal more.

Strange goings on, that’s one way of putting it I guess, Ivan is hired I guess, to perform in front of a small bank of sort of early 90s style Goth/metal head, if you are looking for a reference point. He shows up dressed in a black trench coat and wide brimmed hat. In front of these blood thirty thrill seekers he uses various tools to cut, scratch, poke, hook and mutilate his body. During these outrageously graphic segments, Copp shows us what is going on inside Ivan’s noggin. Ivan is in some sort of womb like sack, covered with hot pink slime of some sort, there seems to be pair of labia surrounding the orifice where a female enters and exits, she sports a strange S&M-style metal claw apparatus. Ivan breaks through this make shift uteral sack and the two seem to gauge poke and prod at something akin to drunken foreplay. This same female also shows up in Ivan’s outside world. She seduces him and Ivan tries to succumb, going as far as thrusting his hand down her pants before agonizingly retreating.

Much of THE MUTILATION MAN really defies explanation. So I’m not gonna try, use your own mind you lazy bastards. Copp asks much of his viewer. Terek Puckett, who also is featured in Van Bebber’s MY SWEET SATAN, goes full bore as Ivan, Puckett is way the fuck out there, the film is full of full frontal nudity courtesy of Puckett and a few of the other male players. I wonder how many of Puckett’s acts as the traveling self-carving sideshow act ended up “real.” The most devastating visuals are brought to us via Jim Van Bebber. His father character is beyond nightmarish. His performance is unfortunately so close to home if you find yourself on the wrong side of white trash culture, that you will probably miss the subtleties. At one point Van Bebber is in a bathtub, fucking a corpse, disemboweling, chewing off areole and screeching something akin to “I’m not Bad!” Over the fucking top! Behind the scenes footage at the end of the tape I got from Copp shows Van Bebber chugging Bud and getting ready for this scene submerged in a pool of guts, rotting flesh and tits, this is almost as disturbing as the finished product.

Looking deeper into the psyche of Copp, I like the idea of emotional pain being cleansed by physical pain. Does Copp convey this idea effectively; I guess is the question with this film? I believe he does, without doing it ham-fistedly. I think the film might have been more effective with a narrative style, but it’s not my film. Copp’s willingness to demand that the audience buckle in to this film and figure it out alone shows fucking balls. The fact that we are not privy to a voice-over, Ivan’s psychiatrist giving us an explanation or Ivan himself uttering a line is a daring bit of filmmaking. I would have been simple to use this basic device to tell the story but Copp chose to show you better than he could tell you. Kind of like me kicking your ass.

Ivan places himself in the situation of fishing or cutting bait. He must try to purge the shit from his being but performing in a show that will either kill him or heal him. His crowd of followers will have to drive Ivan to the brink…this is the set-up for the end of the film. Copp does not cop out…man, I had to get that one in…the bloodletting is massive, the imagery eye burning and the end…rewarding. Ultimately Ivan is going through what we all go through at once being tempted by Hell, marked by scarred but inviting Succubae (the very fine Kristie Bowersock) while trying to find a bit of Heaven with an hopeful, angelic caretaker (Jollie Scott). Copp gives us a lot of Hell; Heaven is as elusive for the viewer as it is to Ivan.

I’m not sure how much money was spent on The MUTILATION MAN; it’s shot on a combination of 16 mm and 8 mm with a smattering of video porn thrown in during some of the bizarre “internal” sequences. Copp did not set out to make a traditional horror film nor a derivative shock vehicle. THE MUTILATION MAN obviously found some kindred spirit with the highly acclaimed TETSUO, but also I sense a taste of well-known surrealist Luis Bunuel and mad man Fernando Arrabal, names not casually thrown around when you are used to talking about exploitation and sleazy independent productions. But do not let the arty tone of the film scare you away, there’s enough viscous red stuff to keep the jaded gore seeker grinning. Copp’s editing style keeps you as bewildered and Ivan’s bent brain so as my pal’s usually say, “let’s party…for real this time.” THE MUTILATION MAN would make for a great acid trip, midnight movie for you black clad industro fags and hags so if that’s your bacon, let this be the lettuce and tomato on your toasted white.

THE MUTILATION MAN took a while (years) for Copp to complete, in that time Jim Van Bebber made his way across the US to California, Terek Puckett, doesn’t like to acknowledge affiliation with the project (my guess due to shrinkage) and Andy Copp is still making his movies. What will the future hold for Copp, that remains to be seen but THE MUTILATION MAN is one of those film that folks will scatter to get their hands on once Copp gets that breakthrough genre picture. Why wait? Get it now, watch it, learn something just maybe about truly independent thought put down on celluloid and then go make a movie yourself you worthless fuck, it worked for Copp, it can work for you and you Mom will be glad you got out of the basement for some other reason than to score a Little Debbies.

Whatever, fuck you, listen to me for once. Get this through Sub Rosa....


One of my favorite hots, Mr. Van Bebber, in the doorway, knocking back a beer...

That looks a little sore.

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Art meets, over the top gore and violence with Andy Copp's feature debut

Chris Wayne
Terek Puckett gets down, dirty and nekkid.

Copp's effective $5 effects make this low budget bastard something special

See what I mean...

Am I lyin gto you?

Ivan, The Mutilation Man, must set out to find his own inner peace.

That's not Dale Earnhardt that's Ivan.

JIm Van Bebber, Ivan's twisted caregiver....

Copp's world for Ivan has some strange visuals, including nekkid cannibals.

Ivan's Heaven, his angel that he seeks.

And Ivan's very lovely but scarred version of hell, the Succubus.

The eyes of a child, what they see can burn beahior into the sould...

How about watching your father fuck a disembowled corpse in a bathtub.

It might be enough to make you want to exorcise your demons with a ittle bloodletting.

Ivan let's "X" mark the spot during a performance.

Ivan's Angel looks on....

Inside Ivan's head is a great place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there...but I'd be wiling to date that giant labia.
Brains On Film 2003