User login

Bagman, The

Review by: 
Release Date: 
Screen Entertainment
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Rae Fitzpatricki
Stephanie Beaton
Paul Zanone
Wil Mathew
Alonzo F. Jones
Bottom Line: 

During its short history, the slasher flick has borne many shadowy emissaries of our deepest fears; innumerable incarnations of the unstoppable killer who, emerging from the murky dark of our collective subconscious into the flickering light of the big screen, terrifies us -- from the safety of our comfy armchairs -- with a constant, nagging, nervous reminder of the fragility of our own mortality. From the silent, supernatural baby-sitter-killing-machine that is Michael Myers, to the merciless hulking figure of Jason Voorhees, right through to the wisecracking, dream dwelling pedophile familiar to all as Freddy Krugger -- the slasher flick has nurtured a whole host of bizzarre and original creations who have served its ignoble purpose with consummate skill. Now, from indie filmmakers Silver Moon Productions, comes yet another name to add to that lengthy list of murderous stalkers and maniacal slashers: none other than the... eh... Bagman?? Hmmm!

The film starts with one of those scene-setting flashbacks that sees the obviously adult cast decked out in school uniform pretending to be school kids! With the standard of acting on display here, of course, this turns out to involve either speaking in a slightly squeaky voice or wearing an ill-fitting wig! A gang of friends, led by unhinged Randy Joyner (Paul Zanone) are taunting a boy called Jack Marshall, who was horribly disfigured in a house fire that killed his entire family. Not content with bullying, Randy ends up drowning the poor kid in a stream and, for good measure, pissing on his corpse! The rest of the friends are horrified; but, terrified by Randy's madness, they all swear never to reveal to anyone what really happened at the stream! One of the girls in the group, Sue Creswell (Stephanie Beaton), looks back at the corpse as the gang are leaving, but the body seems to have disappeared!

Now we flash forward to the present day and, after a spot of very uncomfortable-looking humping on the kitchen unit (furnishing the film with its first required quota of silicon enhanced boob shots), Sue splits up with her artist boyfriend and flies back to live in her home town -- where the other members of her gang of school friends still live. Randy is now a policeman (?!!) while his sister Margaret and the rest of the gang are just your average bunch of small town nobodies. To welcome her back to the community, Margaret invites Sue to an evening of horror movie-watching at her place. When Sue proves none to enthusiastic about attending, Margaret breaks into her house wearing a sack over her head (just like the disfigured murdered boy used to) and kidnaps her! Sue is even less happy about this turn of events, but her "friends" assure her it's all in good fun! Meanwhile, of course, the real "bagman" has already begun killing-off the less conspicuous members of the gang one-by-one with a (suspiciously plastic-looking) machete! Soon, Sue suspects Randy has been hiding a dark secret about why he hated Jack Marshall so much; but is the real Marshall back to take revenge, or is Randy responsible for this sudden bout of bloodletting?

Make no mistake, this low budget indie feature suffers from all the usual drawbacks of films of this type: ugly sot-on-video visuals; choppy editing; uneven audio levels; poor acting. But one or two elements make this effort worthy of at least some attention -- at least from hardcore slasher fans and lovers of B movie cheese! First up, some degree of thought appears to have been but into the appearance of the film's titular antagonist (rather than just relying on a shop-bought Halloween mask as these films usually do). The sack-over-the-head look is, no doubt, inspired by Jason's in "Friday the 13th part Two", but the Bagman's sack has a creepy smiley face painted on it and the character sports a fetching floppy hat to hold his makeshift mask in place. Add to that a dingy plaid shirt, baggy jeans and the pronounced limp the character sports, and we can see he is a bit more distinctive than your average slasher fiend.

Next, although many of its performances are quite horrendous, a few members of the cast do seem to possess a sense of humour about the flick. Paul Zanone, who plays the psychopathic cop, Randy, seems especially fond of the acting-through-facial-hair method of performance -- sporting an amusingly ridiculous fake 70s porn star moustache with great gusto. In fact, the only real suspense in the film is generated by wondering whether it will manage to remain attached to his upper lip for the full running time, since the heroine seems to do little but run backwards & forwards from house to house, trying to phone people who are already dead! Unlike many other cast members (who just cannot act at all!) Zanone seems to be playing it with a fairly large twinkle in his eye and his ironic performance manages to make the film's unappealing amateur status slightly more bearable! Gore levels are oddly restrained, but there is some attempt to flesh out the plot towards the film's conclusion so, although it's not that good, it is watchable enough and will probably keep commited slasher fans mildly amused.

The film is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio; the image quality is not that great but, then again, it probably hasn't ever looked any better! There are no extras included apart from a few trailers for other screen Entertainment titles.

Your rating: None