by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

In the genre of "transgressive cinema," there isn't much room left for transgression. Let's face it, if you are just treading on a pre-blazed trail, there ain't a whole lot of transgressin' goin' on. Gutterballs tries to meet the challenge by combining explicit sex and nudity with explicit gore in a format which I can only as "extreme hardcore slasher" because the violence is sadistic and outrageously over the top and the sex is only a hair shy of actual hardcore porn.

People of both sexes are brutally beaten and raped on camera. Buckets of blood flow out of arteries. Intestines dangle out of mutilated corpses. People die in grisly and painfully lingering ways which would shock Brave Sir Robin's minstrels. Decapitation is a particularly popular theme.

In the midst of the carnage, there is sex - or maybe I should say "sexual carnage." The first substantial nudity occurs in a brutal gang-rape which occupies more than seven minutes of running time. The second major nude scene involves a pair of lovebirds killed while in the 69 position in the dark. The killer chokes the woman on the guy's penis. The guy thinks he's just getting a really deep BJ - up to a certain point. The camera reveals the couple's genitals with some explicitness, albeit not in hardcore detail or duration.

As the film begins, violence erupts in an after hours bowling match between two rival gangs of youths. The proprietor of the lanes breaks up the fight and sends the kids away at shotgun point, but when one of the girls returns to the bowling alley to get a forgotten purse, she is raped by the other gang. When the same two gangs resume their grudge bowling the following night, members of both gangs are picked off one-by-one by a bowling alley madman ... or ... madwoman. The body count is supposed to be driven by the dramatic hook of the masked murderer's identity, although I'm not sure why anyone in the audience would care. We know that the murders must have something to do with the previous night's rape, and the raped woman mysteriously disappears early in the film, so she must be involved somehow. Unfortunately her disappearance cheats us of even the cheapest of the cheap thrills the plot might have delivered, because without her there is no Laurie Strode character with whom we can identify, so there is no way for us to become emotionally invested in the plot. Each of the film's characters is so unsympathetic that the killer actually seems to be doing them and us a favor. Since several of the victims are brutal rapists, their losses are not mourned, and we might have some emotional involvement if the raped woman were seen getting revenge on her tormentors. Since she disappears, however, and the masked murderer kills members of both gangs, we are cheated of even the kind of involvement and catharsis provided by exploitation films like "I Spit on Your Grave."

With a couple of fleeting exceptions, the deaths are not particularly original, but the film's redeeming grace is that the gory moments were specifically tailored to a bowling alley setting. Think about ball returns, hot wax machines, beer bottles, and the violent things which may be done with bowling balls and pins. The setting also provided ample opportunities for black humor, but those opportunities were generally squandered. Although I did laugh out loud at one funny/scary moment, the tone of the film and the dialogue of the characters is so consistently nasty and unpleasant that the humorous subtext can't really flourish.

The film was made with an ultra low budget, which seemed to consist entirely of the cost of the media. The only set is a dark bowling alley after hours, and the dozen or so actors seem less like professional thespians than co-operative acquaintances of the auteur.  Since the script is also weak, lacking any strong component of humor, mystery, or emotional involvement, there's only one reason to watch, and that is if you want to see just how far it will go with the violence and nudity. The answer is "pretty damned far," if that's your bag, baby.

No DVD info currently available. Keep an eye on the Myspace Page.







There are no major reviews online, but IMDb links to reviews from more than two dozen sites which specialize in the horror genre.


7.9 IMDB summary (of 10)
  The score will probably settle in the fours, or fives at most.


Straight to DVD.


Candice Lewald shows it all, including a genital close-up.

Danielle Munro shows it all in a 69 scene. The camera also shows her with a real or prosthetic penis in her mouth.

Stephanie Schacter shows her breasts.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


It is so outrageous that genre fans may be curious about it, or even find it entertaining.