HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

BAG BOY LOVER BOY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Albert (Jon Wachter) is one of those dorky, withdrawn, borderline characters who seem to need just a little push to go off the deep end into the wonderful world of coo-coo.  And, in his case,  to transform into BAG BOY LOVER BOY (Severin Films, 2014).

He's a hot dog vendor in New York who's very lackadaisical about his job and basic sanitation in general (dropped hot dogs go right back on the grill) and dreams of being an artist or, better yet, a photographer, even though he knows nothing about art or photography. 

When a portly professional photog named Ivan (Theodore Bouloukos, AFTER.LIFE) is smitten with Albert's extreme ordinariness and offers to pay him to pose, Albert dully goes along with it thinking he'll get some photography training out of the deal. 

Instead, he's the co-subject of a series of perverse sex pictorials in which he is directed to put a plastic bag over a sexy model's head and mimic strangling her to death while Ivan eggs him on with sick exhortations and snaps away.

With such dreadfully unhealthy stimuli simmering in his overheated brain, Albert, left to his own devices when Ivan is suddenly called away to a big photo shoot in Italy, takes over the studio late at night and starts luring women there in order to satisy his raging new passions for (a) really bad photography, and (b) putting plastic bags over women's heads and strangling them to death.

Looking somewhat like something Abel Ferrara might've cooked up in his spare time, BAG BOY LOVER BOY has the muted, gritty-grimy aura of an 80s slice-of-urban-decay thriller like LIQUID SKY but without the neon veneer or quirky score. 

There's a bland, matter-of-fact quality to Albert's homicidal deeds that underscores how truly sociopathic, disturbed, and almost comically self-obsessed he is.  (We get several brief glimpses into his mind which are telling.) In fact, the ease with which he slips into his horrific new lifestyle tells us that he's been on a hair-trigger all along, just waiting for the right impetus to steer him toward his true calling.

With all of that, the film is rife with understated, tongue-in-cheek (and very dark) humor that begins with Albert's ridiculously disconnected nature itself and then really kicks in when the flamboyantly vain and profane chatterbox Ivan shows up (Theodore Bouloukos is both naturalistic and over-the-top in the role and is brilliant).  

I love it when Ivan glibly defends the terminally apathetic Albert against a couple who witness him retrieving a hot dog from the floor for their consumption--the dialogue seems improvised, it's so sharp and realistic.  Another particularly humorous scene involves woefully inept photographer Albert being schooled by a camera shop clerk as to why his Polaroids are turning out so blurry.

Humor and tragedy are nicely combined later on during Albert's seriocomic encounters with various victims, including Ivan's overbearing assistant Jackie (Kathy Biehl), who stumbles onto his nocturnal activities, and his friend/secret love Lexy (Adrienne Gori), who actually agrees to pose for his increasingly sick photos in exchange for a place to stay. There's even a foray into cannibalism that yields ghoulish giggles.

The Blu-ray from Severin Films is in 1080p full HD resolution with English 2.0 stereo and optional English subtitles.  Bonus features consist of a trailer, two brief, comical student films by star Jon Wachter, and a commentary featuring director Andres Torres, actor Theodore Bouloukos, and editor Charlie Williams.

After an abrupt climax, BAG BOY LOVER BOY ends unexpectedly--not with a bang (although there is one), but with some deliciously curdled character moments that send us off with a wry smile.  It's almost a feelgood flick in its own sick way, albeit one that might leave you feeling like you just got dropped on the floor and tossed back onto the grill.

Buy it at Severin Films



Theodore Bouloukos said...

Thanks so much again for you kind appreciation! It's fans like you who make this business all the more worthwhile.

Porfle Popnecker said...

Thank you! So glad you dropped by to read and comment on the review! You really were great in this movie.