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
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
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
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
Whatever, fuck you, listen to me for once. Get this through Sub
|One of my favorite
hots, Mr. Van Bebber, in the doorway, knocking back a beer...
|That looks a little
Gestapo Black Exploitation?
From Tobacco Row It's Good!
Squad Join Today!
Meateater Do Not Touch!
Stranger Run Run Opie!
House On Hwy 5 Sheesh!
Locked Doors It's Dirty!
Massacre Some Like It.
Pussy It had to be done
Alley It is Rock.
Woman Truck. Woman.
Freak A Classic for You!
Geek Bigfoot Porn
School Ghosthustlers Wow!
Island You Must See!
Not that kinda Cock!
Alienator Feeling Alienated?
Island Vanity and the Beast
Spree Tim Ritter's $0 budget wonder
Prof. Tread still can't sleep.
Tramp She is sumpin' else.
Footmen Tire You...? Heavy religiosity!
Knievel Evel of Course!
Killing Of A Chinese Bookie! Smart Guy.
Pink Angels Gayness, and Bikes
Burning The 80's, ahhh the 80's.
- The Winged Serpant! Larry Cohen rules!
For Your Life! WARNING Racist content
Tall Buford Pusser in the Hizouse!
Camp Internet Geeks Unite!
Losers Ya Loser!
of the Mutilated Bro. George gets busy.
Me An Angel Gal Biker and more.
Grim Reaper Reap on.
One of William Girdler's triumphs.
At Dawn A Modern Classic.
Boy Carradine, Dress, Dourif!
Hollywood Rape-Slaughter Rare expose'.
Savage Weekend. Take
Dead and Buried.
A Should-be Classic.
Summer In Barefoot County. PeeUww!
Night Train To
Terror Choo Choo!
Drink Your Blood Glug, glug!
Russ Meyer and breasts!
Stop Women Honnnk HonnnnK!
Deadly Darling! Pigs!
the Germ Fighter! Clean up!
Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast? Why?!
County Express! Glug, Glug!
The Night God Screamed!
White Dog Racists
City Slickers get offed!
Times Five Sean MacGregor's Titantic!
at the Red Wolf Inn Burp!
Eyes See It
Greatest Sinner One of the best!
Baby! Goo Goo!
Camp Nightmare Viva the Revolution!
of the Beast Creatures Booga!
Play Dead Incest craziness!
of Death Vacation madness!
Come, Evil Go! Bye, Bye Sinners!
Strutters Get Black Sucker!
Pretty Eddie Deep South Craziness!
Golem Jewish Folklore or what?
NYC Apartment Blues
To Kill A Clown
Alan Alda Vietnam Vet!
Spook Who Sat Next To The Door Booya!
Woke Up Early The Day I Died Mr. Ed Wood.
Mutilation Man Andy Copp goes arty on us!
People Across The Lake Good TV!
Woman Hunt Load Up Gents.
Devil At You Heels Daring Devil.
Are The Damned Dammit!
Farm TV movie Classic!