Underground Film Journal

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Movie Review: The Taint

By Mike Everleth ⋅ December 22, 2010

Purple movie poster featuring silhouette of a man wearing sunglasses

The bar was set by John Waters. Then it was raised by Lloyd Kaufman. Now, filmmakers Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson are giving everybody a run for their money as the new Kings of the Gross-Out flicks. And that’s with just one film! The Taint is one of the most over-the-top, completely unbelievable, deliriously gonzo parade of filth and destruction ever committed to film. (Or video, as it were.) Plus, it’s all extremely funny as hell.

Waters, in particular, has always made the distinction between “good” bad taste and “bad” bad taste where the “good” stays above the line of mean-spirited-ness. Just about every frame of The Taint challenges that line and, happily, yes stays clearly above it. Like Waters and Kaufman, their unique, modern brand of offensiveness is committed in the name of good fun.

But, what’s truly commendable about these two young filmmakers is the broad vision they brought to this particular film. This was clearly an elaborate and extensive production, working overtime to stretch it’s low-budget to produce high quality filth that looks way more expensive than it probably was. Plus, by tackling overtly challenging material in such an overblown way gives the film a truly epic, original feel.

Truly, though, The Taint is just an exceptionally perverted twist on the zombie genre. Bolduc stars as Phil O’Ginny, a lisping, prep school Lothario whom we first meet while he’s literally taking advantage of the farmer’s daughter, who promptly chases the boy off mid-schtup.

O’Ginny then runs smack into the sexual apocalypse. With the exception of himself, all men have become endowed with grossly swollen members, running roughshod all across the countryside as raging, super-testosterone fueled maniacs out to defile and murder all women.

While that may sound like the set-up for a film loaded up with unbridled misogyny, Bolduc and Nelson are clearly sympathetic to and on the women’s side here. Even O’Ginny, who’s basically the only normal male left on the planet after “the taint” hits, is far from a sympathetic character. He’s fairly close to being a half-wit who has to be led through the devastation by Misandra (Colleen Walsh), a tough-as-nails character in the Ellen Ripley vein.

While the plot has O’Ginny and Misandra having to evade the overly-aroused hordes, much of the film is a series of flashbacks detailing how this apocalyptic nightmare began and what happened to various characters when it did.

For example, Misandra was a happily married and well-satisfied woman who was forced to kill her husband Bob (Richard Spencer) in the middle of lovemaking when he turns into a violent lunatic. Not only is she forced to bash his face in with a thick glass vase, but she yanks his brain out of his head and sobs uncontrollably over the gray matter she cradles in her hands.

Other people the mis-matched pair encounter on their travels are an over-compensating twerp named Houdini (Cody Crenshaw) and his gang who don’t appear to be affected by “the taint,” but are more than happy to take advantage of the new world male order.

Eventually, O’Ginny and Misandra meet up with a bizarrely masked character, Ludas (Kenneth Hall), who reveals himself as the source of “the taint.” In the film’s possibly longest flashback sequence, Ludas is a scientist who, with his hapless assistant (also played by Bolduc), invent a male super-enhancement formula that gets leaked into the local water supply.

The Taint is a total “good” bad taste endurance test. Although it has a fairly involved, time-shifting plot, it’s all basically an excuse to string together an ever escalating series of revolting, offensive — yet strangely good-natured — effects and set-pieces. The violence committed against women is extreme and intense, but at the same time it’s all so ridiculously violent that it’s goofily cartoonish and not mean-spirited. Plus, most men in the film don’t get off easily, either. Both sexes are equally maimed, mutilated, massacred, barbecued and what-not.

Lastly, just when you think Bolduc and Nelson have gone as far as anybody can go, they ultimately reveal Phil’s secret origin, which turns out to be the film’s pinnacle of cringe-worthy, horrific debasement. It’s truly a shock that one film could go so low — and be so absolutely hysterical.

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