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Nutbag - Director's Cut - Fright Flix Productions Print E-mail
User Rating: / 14
Written by S. J. Alpino   
Saturday, 12 January 2008

Directed by: Nick Palumbo
Written by: Nick Palumbo
Produced by: Danyel Makenna
Cinematography by: Nick Palumbo
Music by: Eric Galligan
Special Effects by: Adrienne Houle & Christopher Burgoyne
Cast: Mack Hail, Renee Sloan, And Davia Ardell
Year: 2000
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 80 minutes

Video: NTSC R1
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Distributor: Fright Flix Productions

"Nutbag" is auteur Nick Palumbo's first journey into the world of the human Great White known as the serial killer. Sin City is the perfect setting for the bloody reign of death executed by the Vegas Ripper, who is played by "Switch Killer" and "Mr. Ice Cream Man" director Mack Hail. The Vegas Ripper or “Nutbag” is inspired by Saucy Jack, The Son of Sam, and Ted Bundy.

Nutbag is tormented by maternal abandonment issues, resentment, loneliness, hatred, and despair. Nutbag's mother left his father for a black man who subsequently killed Nutbag's mom post coitus before his very young eyes. The Vegas Ripper believes people think they are better than him, and this is the reason why they ignore him. Consequently, the Vegas Ripper is loaded with racism, misogyny, and general hatred. Nutbag is an absolute misanthrope.

Nutbag's apartment is a psychotic raincoat pervert's wet dream cum true. Porno-magazine pages adorn the walls as well as horror movie posters and creepy Halloween masks. Monster Maniac figures complete the demonic Feng Shui. The apartment is illuminated by red lights which enhances the infernal atmosphere of the apartment. Nutbag's lair seems inspired by one of Ted Bundy's final interviews in which Ted blamed hardcore pornography for his violent deviancy. Sure Ted, and had Charlie Manson received a record deal he would have played at your inauguration as governor of Washington state!

Like every red-blooded American Psycho, the Vegas Ripper rents a no-tell motel room with a whore in the seedy part of the Las Vegas Strip. This sexy, lithe brunette in a tight black dress entertains Nutbag (and us!) by stripping and then giving him head. Ladies, I know you hate it when a guy pushes your head down further while you are trying to (hopefully) suck, but isn't that better than having your head yanked back by your hair and then having your throat sliced with a meat cleaver? No? Then, I'll have my meat cleaver sharp and ready, though not until you are finished with my nutbag, but I digress.

While Nutbag is outside of his apartment taking out the trash he runs into his neighbor Mandy who is played by the gorgeous Renee Sloan. Mandy flirts with Nutbag despite his flat, monosyllabic responses and odd gaze at her. Mandy even gives the Vegas Ripper her telephone number. This is who I like to call a "perfect" victim. A few of Ted Bundy's surviving victims and would be victims have discussed the "Bundy stare." As Ted was conversing with these lovelies he would fixate on them so severely it seemed like he was turning their images into pornographic loops of unimaginable depravity right in front of them.

My favorite scene in "Nutbag" is a perverse tribute to Jack the Ripper. "I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them," is scrawled in blood on a wall. The camera pans down to reveal a nude woman tied spread eagle on a bed by her wrists and ankles. She is wearing a Pig mask as the soundtrack pulses with sinister oinking effects. The mystery woman (who is actually listed as such in the credits) is attempting to scream, but since it is hard to make out she is probably also gagged. Burning red candles surrounding the bed and Monster Maniac figures menacingly looming above her complete the ominous tableaux. The scene climaxes with the Vegas Ripper stabbing the nude woman in her groin which while not on the level of a similar scene in Nacho Cerdà's "Aftermath" is still a visceral moment.

My other favorite scenes in "Nutbag" involve the luscious porn star Davia Ardell. Nutbag picks up the lollipop licking Davia while cruising the Strip. The next scene finds them in his bathroom as he is repeatedly dunking while degrading the now nude Davia Ardell into a tub of water as she struggles to free herself. This vignette ends with the still nude Davia unconscious yet tied to a chair with a Hobo mask on her head as the Nutbag explains his philosophy about death. I only wish Davia had more lines, but thankfully she has a small role unlike Ms. Sharon Mitchell's glorified cameo in William Lustig's "Maniac".

Despite a minuscule budget and being shot on digital video "Nutbag" has a professional, crisp look. The music by Eric Galligan gets underneath your skin and crawls. The writing is while simple is realistic and conveys the inner thoughts of a disturbed mind. The major flaw of "Nutbag" concerns the very non special effects. Ranging from too simplistic to obviously inadequate one scene sums this up best. An interracial couple is captured and then killed by Nutbag and the latex appliance is clearly visible on the actor's face as his throat is being cut. The stabbings in the film are seemingly accomplished with a retractable knife that spurts out blood. Fortunately, Fright Flix used Toe Tag Pictures for the special effects on Nick Palumbo's shot on film debut "Murder-Set-Pieces".

The second criticism I have of "Nutbag" would usually sound the death knell for a film which is the lead actor's performance. Mack Hail has the twitchy dramatics of a WWF wrestler without the realistic, though steroid induced, rage. Mack Hail acts mad as opposed to truly being enraged. Mack Hail does have one effective moment, though. When Nutbag tries to call Mandy a second time his voice breaks and his eyes moisten as he leaves a message on her machine. It's like he is reaching his hand out to humanity and asking, "Please give me this one chance at belonging." Of course, humanity slaps his hand away and calls him a bitch. Serial killers seem unable to handle life's petty rejections. Instead, lust murderers read these rejections as messages from society that tell them that they are monsters and that they do not belong with humanity.

Nick Palumbo's "Nutbag" is one exploitative, fiercely independent, nasty son of a bitch of a horror film. "Nutbag" would have fit perfectly with a triple billing of "The New York Ripper" and "Make Them Die Slowly" in a 42nd Street Grind-house theater. While the special effects and acting leave much to be desired the film as a whole is an enjoyable albeit dark experience. "Nutbag" leaves one with the sense that with a larger budget and additional creative talent filmmaker Nick Palumbo could create a truly masterful horror film. In December 2004, Nick Palumbo did just that, and this time the film has incredible murder-set-pieces!


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James  - Nutbag     | |2008-10-29 15:09:03
I know we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but the screenshots on the back
of the DVD for Nutbag didn't exactly jump out at me.

It looked like a
low-budget home-made youtube video. I didn't expect much, so I wasn't
dissapointed with the final result.

A modern day 'Jack the Ripper' resising
in LA would have made a terrific idea for a movie if executed properly.

whole movie had a somewhat amateurish feel about it. From the home movie effect
right through to the laughable "violent scenes". I understand that this
movie was clearly affected by a low-budget, but still, even the movies made on a
shoestring have been able to capture the hearts of viewers with well developed
characters and a decent storyline. Nutbag had neither.

The acting is poor at
best, although full credit should go to the tranatula which is by far the most
entertaining thing in this movie (and is seriously underused).
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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