Hanger


Title: Hanger
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror, Exploitation
Starring: Dan Ellis, Nathan Dashwood, Wade Gibb
Director: Ryan Nicholson

Sometimes you get a craving that nothing short of full blown gore-laden depravity will be able to fill. It's times like these that you need to look to the trash of the film world; the low-budget films that may not have the cash to splash around on detailed effects, but the idea's for a story that would never make it past the studio's desk. Another straight from Nicholson's chest of Troma worship, the man who previously gave us a film (Gutterballs) about a bowling pin slasher massacre returns with a tale even more depraved than ever. Starting out with a backroom abortion with a coat hanger, things only progress as he throws in casual racism, Santa's fun with GHB and tampon tea bags in as an aside to the main story. You see, the abortion of a baby manages to survive; her whore mother's main customer taking it upon himself to make sure this horrifically disfigured child, affectionately named Hanger, survives on the streets until the day of his 18th birthday where he is taught the truth. Given a job at a local scrapyard, working with other horrifically disfigured men – just about everyone in this film has severe facial deformities unless they're a woman – and with his mothers pimp just released from jail, he's told it's time for them to get their revenge. Luckily his hard upbringing has given him something of a bloodlust. That, and a weird love for his teddy bear.

As you might not expect, a lot of time is spent in and around the scrapyard getting to know it's inhabitants. Taking the primary position is Russell, a quirky Chinese man whom he quickly befriends, and Phil, the wheezing freak in denial of his violent homosexual urges. Whilst witnessing Hanger and his attempts to fit in to the meagre opportunity at life that has presented itself, we are presented the other side of the tale; the side of 'The John' and his quest to take revenge for the atrocity's the pimp, Leroy, has committed. Key scenes, or 'set pieces' really, as the manner they are worked in seems to be little more than build-up and context for what he really wanted to show us, are given a classic Heavy Metal back beat, and as the film progresses, his sick sense of humour steadily becomes more apparent. 'Dirty Leroy's,' doing exactly what all of us have wanted to do at some point to those annoying Johovah's Witnesses knocking on your door and Russell's constant child-like glee at the bloodshed that seems to be a part of his daily life form just a few highlights presented.

There are times, however, where it feels as though he gets a little too distracted with all the side stories, working in characters with little purpose in the tale and forgetting that this is, at it's core, a revenge story. It's certainly admirable that he managed to work in so much depravity and violence; that he never forgets that the name of the game is 'exploitation,' and does so with so much vigour that it puts other contemporaries to shame, but the story itself feels a little of a cluster of idea's that he's tried to tie into a neat package. The sense of humour required to enjoy this is about as depraved as you can imagine, with certain scenes even a little too much for the gore hound in me to get behind, but the fact that he doesn't hold back is both a blessing and a curse. To say this isn't a film for everyone would probably be stating the obvious right about now, this is a flick that is beyond the realms of bad taste, but when you get the hunger for some mayhem, this film certainly manages to fit the bill.


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