By its very title alone, Epic Pictures’ “Butt Boy” should be a winner.
The film, co-written, starring and directed by Tyler Cornack, follows a police detective struggling with alcoholism who begins to suspect that his AA sponsor is a serial killer who makes people disappear up his own ass.
That’s right. He absorbs people with his butt.
Cornack plays Chip Gutchell, the suspect. Tyler Rice plays the detective, Russel Fox.
Based on the first trailer alone, we were completely on-board. “Butt Boy” had all the makings of a bona fide cult classic, the kind of seedy-schlocky exploitation flick that midnight showings were made to promote.
When we received a digital screener, it’s fair to say that anticipation was high.
And then we watched it.
“Butt Boy” starts out okay, detailing the agonizing simplicity of Chip’s suburban life with his wife and son. Then Chip goes in for a routine check-up and his doctor slaps on a rubber glove and tells him to bend over.
This brief proctological exam, apparently, awakens something inside Chip.
Something dark, and evil.
An insatiable hunger.
Chip slowly discovers his ass is now calling the shots.
He tries to get his wife to play hide the finger. When she refuses, he takes a shower and plays hide the soap. Then, he watches TV and plays hide the remote. Then, he feeds the family pet and plays hide the pooch.
Before long, Chip and his family are putting up fliers at the neighborhood park, hoping someone will contact them with information on their missing dog.
That’s about the time that Chip spies a mother alone with her young son. Yep, you know exactly where this is going.
Within hours, police arrive at the Gutchell residence in response to a child that’s been reported missing from the park. They ask if Chip or his wife saw anything. Chip plays the concerned parent to the hilt. He joins a massive manhunt. The little boy is never found.
And then “Butt Boy” jumps forward in time nine years.
By now, Chip is a recovering drunk and a sponsor at the local Alcoholics Anonymous. It has been years since he put anything or anyone up his butt. Apparently, he quelled those urges by hitting the sauce.
That’s before he gets paired up with the new guy, Detective Fox, barely days since his last drink.
The more Fox talks about how much he loves booze, the more Chip starts thinking about how much he loved putting things up his ass. Soon enough, both men fall off their respective wagons.
But the one thing Fox doesn’t share — the key detail that Cornack’s script inexplicably ignores right up until a pivotal moment in the film’s third act, which is way too late — is the detective’s relationship to a certain missing toddler from nearly a decade earlier.
And it’s little missteps like that which ultimately undermine any potential for “Butt Boy” to be something truly special.
Sure, I get it, “Butt Boy” was never supposed to be taken very seriously, but dammit, man, why wouldn’t you want it to be taken seriously if you had all the components to do so?
Imagine watching a movie where the entire third act is dedicated to the flawed hero doing everything possible to hunt down the man he believes committed an anus, er, heinous crime and took the one thing that he really cared about, his son, and then he realizes that man is actually a friend?
Even if “Butt Boy” didn’t want to take its pivotal cop-killer relationship and make the most of it, this is still a movie about a guy whose ass swallows a bunch of stuff whole, including pets and people.
How are you going to make a movie about a guy with a killer pooper and never show what that actually looks like when someone or something gets swallowed whole?
Just to be clear, so I’m not misrepresenting “Butt Boy,” there is a portion of the third act that’s dedicated to the inside of Chip’s lower colon, and there is one scene that offers a tantalizing tease of the power of Chip’s ass, but those brief sequences aren’t enough to elevate this out of the would-of, could-of, should-of bin of great ideas turned into so-so movies.
Despite eventually taking viewers on a trip inside Chip’s rectum, “Butt Boy” fails to offer any explanation for how Chip suddenly gained this power or why his ass acts like a de facto time capsule inside which nothing ages or dies.
How do you screw that up?
It’s like making a movie called “Killer Sofa” about a serial killer’s spirit that gets transferred into a Barcalounger that then stalks the killer’s ex-girlfriend. This is a real movie. “Killer Sofa” was released last year. Yet, it too failed to show the kind of loveseat carnage that genre fans might expect.
It makes no sense.
And, clearly, making sense is what we should care about when watching a movie about an all-powerful, world-devouring ass.
“Butt Boy” is currently available to rent or buy on most streaming Video-on-Demand platforms like Amazon Prime and iTunes.
John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films that often get overlooked and interviews with cult cinema favorites like George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell and Dee Wallace. Contact him at Blood Violence and Babes.com, on Facebook @BloodViolenceBabes or on Twitter @BVB_reviews.
(Originally published by Scene's sister paper Creative Loafing Tampa)