Wednesday, 20 May 2015


I've reviewed some seriously smart and thought-provoking films here at the House. From the arthouse experience of Coyote to the stunningly poetic Pieces of Talent to the searingly insightful Julia — these are the sort of films that show horror can be as much about brains as blood.

Junk Bonds: The Return of Junk Bucket, sequel to 2008's micro-budget Junkbucket, is not this kind of film.

What it is, is the story of a penis-nosed, castrated psychopath, a group of strippers and their closet heterosexual driver, cannibals, recreational drug use and LOTS of severed dicks.

Ladies and gentlemen, Junk Bonds...


Dir: Stephen Lange
Starring: Erin Stewart, David Rollison, Graham Downing, Shane Regan, Ryan Miller, Kate Jaeger, Mike Christensen, Ryan Higgins, Brenda Joyner, Nick Edwards, Mandy Price, Shawna Weber, La Petite Mort, Sara Coates

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much here but read on at your own risk…

One year after the slaughter at Lake Pakajanomo, the handful of survivors, including tough final girl Cassie (Stewart), earnest Erek (Rollison) and irredeemably selfish dandy Ben (Regan), who has been joined by his dim but sweet brother Matt (Downing) attend the reading of a will for one of their party who was less fortunate during the bloody rampage of Junk Bucket (Miller).

Unbeknownst to them, the bucket-headed and penisless serial killer has now found a family of equally mutilated cannibalistic outcasts — the savagely and protective Mama (Jaeger); hard-nosed Vietnam vet Otis (Christensen); sexual deviant Moseley (Higgins); and girlish psycho Shelby (Joyner). What's more, as 'Mr Buck Junket's' birthday draws near, the family have a very special present in store for him.
What's more, the family have laid on some entertainment for the party, Merle's Girls, a strip troupe driven around by alleged homosexual Merle (Edwards). The girls consist of delightfully dippy Terry (La Petite Mort); tough and curvy Melissa (Price); straight-talking and alternative Seage (Weber) and all-american new girl Jenny (Coates).
As all the parties end up converging on the same spot events turn to a bitter battle for survival?
Who will live? Who will die? And who will lose their junk?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Junk Bonds: The Return of Junkbucket; is batshit insane — and I LOVED that. Comedy-horror hybrids can be quite hit and miss, as can any comedy, but Junk Bonds (as grimly gory and un-P.C. as it is) had me in stitches. 
With South Park-style crudeness, this is a filthily funny movie. However, it isn't just a grossout comedy Junk Bonds is also a spot-on homage/satire of the seminal Texas Chain Saw Massacre series. From character names (Moseley!) to the final scenes, this is literally packed with references to Tobe Hooper's grindhouse classic and its sequels.
It isn't entirely necessary to be familiar with the exploits of Leatherface and the rest of the Sawyer family to enjoy Junk Bonds, but if you are you’ll definitely get a lot more from the movie.
It also manages to walk that fine line of spoofing the events of those films without ever feeling like it loses respect for the source material. Good work, guys.
One way in which it very effectively apes that series is in its shockingly visceral gore. This is a comparatively low budget film (although compared to its predecessor it's practically a Michael Bay Summer blockbuster!) but that does not hinder the sterling practical effects. In a film which promises a penis-severing mass murderer, you might be expecting this to be pretty splattery. You really have no idea. I thought we might get the odd insinuated cock and ball severance — nope, this is no-holds barred genital genocide. With body parts flying left, right and centre, Junk Bonds is wangtastic!
The effects work by Herbie M. Gandy, Alan Gandy, Marcel Banks, Jana Hutchison and Colleen Kelly is truly awesome. It just goes to show that vision and imagination can overcome budgetary constraints. This is also true of the way the movie looks, with Lange and his cinematographers Ellen Callaghan, Andrew Harrison and Seth Wessel-Estes ensuring that the visuals are always as polished as can be. This is clearly a labour of love and it's to be admired.
So it's got the blood and belly-laughs, but does the movie have any depth? I'd say so. Lange has a written a wonderfully surreal storyline and does a truly superb job of juggling a pretty sizeable cast of madcap characters.
This is certainly assisted by the engaging work of its inexperienced but eager cast.
The returning actors are all obviously comfortable in their roles, especially the impressive Stewart who makes for a believable and spirited final girl and the coolly sardonic Regan (whose work is undoubtedly helped by the fact that he gets a lot of the movie's best lines).
Miller is great in the titular role too, making his character both grimly murderous and childlike at the same time. He also manages to evoke some real pathos with his eyes while wearing a prosthetic penis on his face — an achievement in itself!
However the new cast members are equally impressive. The cute La Petite Mort is wonderfully likeable and Price is a hoot as the tough, no-nonsense member of Merle's Girls. I also really enjoyed Weber's work and think she could make for a superb scream queen if she sticks with the genre. Here's hoping!
The attractive Coates also has serious horror potential and is worthy of praise purely for delivering the most hilarious deliberately awkward 'erotic' dance ever.
It would be remiss to overlook the performance of Edwards. The character of Merle is legitimately funny, a man who fakes homosexuality (unconvincingly, I might add) to hang out with girls who take their clothes off for a living. He has some of the finest jokes in the script and he shows fantastic comedy timing throughout to ensure that every one of his scenes is a high point. Equally amusing is the very funny indeed Downing, whose screaming berserker charge into action in particular was a riot.
However, arguably the finest newcomers are Junkbucket's family. Higgins is a bristling ball of rat-like sordid energy, while the wonderful Joyner veers from sexy to girlishly childish to outright disturbing with alarming ease. I look forward to seeing more of her in the future!
Perhaps the two finest performances come from the truly brilliant pair of Christensen and Jaeger. Evoking R. Lee Ermey for his role, Christensen is a joy to watch (and had quite possibly my favourite line in the movie) while Jaeger is already collecting much-deserved award nominations for her stellar work. These two are fantastic.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): It's quite difficult to critique a movie like Junk Bonds: The Return of Junkbucket because it isn't taking itself too seriously. Most criticisms will simply wash over it because this movie isn't setting out to be the next The Shining or The Exorcist — this is a fun flick.

I suppose a lot of your enjoyment from the film will come from how much humour you can derive from dick jokes. Personally, I love schoolboy humour so I thought it was hilarious. However, if you take offence at member-mentioning, this is NOT the movie for you.
Equally, if you cross your legs whenever you see a sportsman inadvertently clocked in the meat and two veg, Junk Bonds, with its quite graphic dong destruction, may be a tough watch.
I know I praised the Texas Chain Saw Massacre references but maybe one or two were a little too on-the-nose. Perhaps a tiny twist here and there (as they managed with the wonderful Grandpa dinner table scene) could have made this an even funnier and cleverer take?
Finally, while the movie is undoubtedly a decent low-budget effort, it does suffer with some of the setbacks you find with those films. Most of the time it looks and sounds great, but every now and then quality does slip for a moment or two. I think it's a testimony to the efforts of everybody involved that these moments are very rare.
Equally, while the cast are clearly having a great time and working their arses off, there are a couple of awkward line deliveries now and then when inexperience shines through. Luckily, these don't ruin the film and I'd go so far as to say that the odd rough edge here and there only adds to the movie's low-fi charm!

THE VERDICT: My oh my, Junk Bonds: The Return of Junkbucket knocked me cockahoop! It may be nuts, but when it comes to gore and giggles, it really is the total package and offers balls-out fun along with some stand out performances by members of its cast. I can't wait to watch and review the original movie (keep your eyes peeled here for that) but in the meantime, if you get a chance to check out Junk Bonds, DO IT! Trust me, you can't go schlong wrong!

To find out how and when you can catch the movie, head over to its official Facebook page. Give it a Like while you're there too, it would be ri-dick-ulous not too!

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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