Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Far and away one of the most batshit insane movies that I've seen in recent years was The Taint. Uber violence, sex and language were just the tip of the controversy iceberg with this sick, twisted, but often hilarious extreme flick.
Needless to say, it blew me away and I made a mental note to watch out for the future efforts from the creative team of Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson.
Recently I saw a jaw-droppingly awesome trailer for the film Science Team. By the time it was over, I knew I needed to see this badboy ASAP. Then I saw the name Drew Bolduc attached as director and I was online within seconds, tracking down the filmmakers to get my hands on a review copy. 
Could this film possibly match my insanely high expectations? Read on...


Dir: Drew Bolduc
Starring: Vito Trigo, Richard Spencer, Emily Marsh, Matt Chodoronek, Mariea Terrell, Josh Potter, Michael Merchant, Dietrich Teschner, Suzanna Mancini

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much here but read on at your own risk.
The film opens with an advert from the titular Science Team, a top government organisation that looks to deal with otherworldly threats through the application of science, all while building knowledge to gain a better and more enlightened view of the universe around us. 
Flash forward and we are introduced to Chip (Trigo) a writer who is quite possibly the angriest man in the world. After we witness Chip accuse his girlfriend (Mancini) of an affair, we get to see him completely lose his shit, destroy his home and then pack a box with his belongings and head off to his mother's house (with a quick violent brawl with a stranger on the way).
However, upon arriving at the family home he discovers his mother's dead body and a repulsive alien entity taking up residence in the bedroom.
After an unfortunate incident involving the a policeman whose anger nearly matched Chip's ('If you don't calm down I swear to God I will cut off your balls and shove them down some orphan's throat!') Science Team are called to deal with the situation.
But despite their initial noble aspirations, the team have changed, becoming more about destruction and containment then discovery. Disillusioned field team leader Joey Tweed (Spencer) heads to the scene along with his able deputy Elizabeth (Marsh) to get to the bottom of the situation — and then things get really weird. 
What links Chip's mother to Tweed, Science Team and the extraterrestrial?  What exactly does the alien want? And which is more dangerous — the otherworldly being or a borderline psycho in a bathrobe with anger-management issues?

THE BEST BITS (minor spoiler warning): Well, Science Team is absolutely hilarious. It's not often I am reduced to fits of tearful hysterics but this film managed it time and again. From the campy, faux 80s recruitment video that opens the movie to Chip's various explosive tantrums to some of the snappiest, most quotable dialogue I've heard in a long time — Science Team is an extremely funny, irreverent work of mad genius.
During the film there is a brief but telling cameo from one Lloyd Kaufman. It telling because it is the gonzo inanity of Troma productions that are immediately brought to mind when watching Science Team. It is a little more restrained than its forerunner The Taint, but it is still more wild and excessive than your average cinema flick. Science Team feels very much like an instant cult favourite, bristling with the frantic kinetic energy of The Taint, but with more polish, sharper visuals and, at times, some surprisingly beautiful cinematography.
Bolduc and his team use the camera wonderfully, with some inspired choices of angle and use of lighting. There is a marked improvement in the look of this film when compared with The Taint, which shows that Bolduc is simply getting better.
But let's return to that fantastic dialogue! I think I could easily pick a dozen brilliant quotes from this film, the writing is that good.
From Chip's assertation that his girlfriend is cheating on him due to overuse of ellipses in a text message, to the wonderful Dueger Tenowon Smith (Josh Potter) and his increasingly irate threats to rape Chip 'cowboy-style’, plus the hokum science from Tweed right down to the team's slogan 'Nothing Evil Has Ever Come From Science' — this is laugh-out-loud funny stuff.
The lines are delivered impeccably by a strong and talented cast. I have nothing but praise for Trigo and Spencer, both of whom absolutely rock in their polar opposite roles.
Trigo is immense in an extremely committed and physical performance as Chip. As a simmering volcano of barely restrained rage, Trigo is brilliant — he seems genuinely unhinged at times. Amazingly, Trigo makes this violent, emotional manchild sympathetic, and there are some scenes of genuine pathos  in here. This is sterling work from a top-drawer actor. Running barefoot through woodland during the jaw dropping escape/spree-killing sequence and throwing himself bodily around the sets with reckless abandon, Trigo really does give it his all. Well done, sir!
Spencer is equally brilliant, bringing the preening and cocky, bitter and resentful Tweed to life. He shows incredible comic timing, not least when bragging about what a badass he is.
He also gets the chance to demonstrate some excellent physicality during a surprisingly fantastic fight scene with Trigo. It feels a little like a heady cross between THAT infamous fight scene from John Carpenter's They Live and the MMA brilliance of Donnie Yen's climactic showdown with Colin Chou in Flash Point. Okay, it doesn't quite reach their lofty standards but I love a good fight scene and, by golly, this is a good fight scene!
Despite the laughs (and there are plenty of those) the film also has some real moments of heart and has a pretty weighty message at its core. This is an indictment on the nature of science, the team was created with a purpose of enlightenment and discovery but it has become a destructive, corporate force, dealing with the wondrous things it comes into contact with by working out how it can be used and, if it can't, destroying it. This is a pretty deep message for a film in which a grown man threatens to try to impregnate another with his DNA before an injured man’s eyeballs explode after he talks about 'how much pussy' he used to get. The film manages to sadden, at times it all feels a bit tragic, even as a ‘sessile alien bastard’ ‘psychically penetrates’ unwitting victims. Bravo guys!

WORST BITS (minor spoiler warning): The irreverent humour of Science Team may not be for everybody. If you are easily offended (and there are plenty of scenes that could cause offence) or you don't find the more bizarre and madcap comic style of South Park or Troma movies funny, Science Team may well leave you cold.
However, on the other end of the scale if you are a fan of The Taint and come in expecting an equally OTT splatterfest, you may be disappointed. Science Team is a lot more subdued than its gonzo older sibling. It is quieter, more restrained and while there are a couple of very good, gory, head-bursting splatter scenes, these are far fewer and farther between than the in bloody rampage of its predecessor. This is a more intelligent film, with several very witty moments scattered in among the inappropriate handjobs, violent overreactions and geysers of bodily fluids. In truth this a comedy that nestles somewhere in the middle — a better-made and gentler introduction to this particular style of frantic, bad-taste comedy, a neat jumping on point before taking the next step up to the extremes of The Taint.
As is often the case with a zanier comedy, one of the places in which the film takes a hit is in regards to a coherent plot. I got most of what was going on, but certain questions remain unanswered  and some character motivations remain somewhat patchy at best. This leads to an ending that doesn’t really resolve much of anything, instead merely throwing all of our random ingredients into a blender and hitting the on switch. It is a conclusion of sorts and character arcs are resolved (often messily) but the whole exercise feels a little meaningless in the end. Of course, this is very much the point, a wilfully downbeat ending that demonstrates just how senseless the nature of the work of Science Team has become, but some of you may feel disappointed. Just a warning, guys.

VERDICT: Of course I’m going to recommend Science Team. It‘s riotously funny, far-cleverer than it first appears, a critique of bureaucracy within science combined with a rather moving dissection of guilt and grieving. It‘s no coincidence that to Chip the universe becomes a larger far scarier place, home to terrifying and mysterious forces after being faced with the mortality of his mother. But most of all, it’s a hilarious comedy, filled with zippy dialogue, tremendous physical comedy, loving pastiches of sic-fi/action hybrids and the sort of bad taste laughs Trey Parker and Matt Stone would be proud of. You should watch it soon as you can.
Luckily, that can be very soon indeed, because the film is available for download through the movie‘s official site. Alternatively you can buy some cool as hell VHS copies of the film (and some BRILLIANT Science Team t-shirts that I’ll definitely be buying!) through their store. DVD copies are due later this year.

Eitherway, be sure to check out the film’s Facebook page. Why not Like it while you there? Go on, they've earned it!

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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