Described by producer/director/writer/actor Charles Cullen as “as a surrealistic portrayal of one man’s search for salvation through Jesus Christ”, SUPER BADASS has to rank as one of the trashiest pieces of film I’ve sat through – this movie is truly awful, but that’s the idea. The plot basically follows around a hippy bounty hunter, called Super Badass (Cullen) who wears white vests, shades, baggy denims, and ridiculous “joke shop” top hats (the kind you see worn by drunken rugby fans who enjoy having their faces painted with their teams colours), as he tracks down a series of surreal serial killers.
First villain on the scene is “The Boogieman”, a Michael Myers clone that wears a white tablecloth on his head, and carries an assortment of weapons to despatch kids. Boogie is first seen emerging from a closet and quickly cuts a little girl to pieces with a sickle. Next up is “Bucko the Clown” (Dale Johnson) who arrives at a children’s school ground and massacres the lot with a machine gun. There’s also “Light Bulb” (Grant Plaskon), a guy who uses gun, crossbow and chainsaw to kill a spaced out tantric dancer and a young girl. Several other zany, psychedelic psychos turn up to slaughter various bad actors, before meeting their match in our anti-hero. Super Badass obtains his crime fighting powers by praying to Jesus, practicing martial arts, and mystical hallucinations caused by drinking from test tubes filled with laudanum, a tincture of morphine and alcohol, which also helps him resist pain.
Using a variety of squib shots, Cullen paints the screen red, with Pythonesque set pieces that are so OTT they could never be considered offensive, even if they do include a young girl having her throat cut-open, and a group of kids getting riddled with bullets, Sam Peckinpah style. Cullen’s 16-mm movie is a hoot we have decapitations, chainsaw dismemberment, brain blasting and assorted violence that have become staples of Cullen’s films, that include BOOGEYMAN (1989/1998), BOOGEYMAN 2 (1998), and A MODERN DAY WESTERN (1997).
The film also includes some delicious black humour such as Super Badass painting himself in female clown make up, and chequered mini-skirt, and standing seductively in a doorway in order to attract Bucko’s attentions. Another sequence shows our hero sitting at a beer table chatting to “The Puppet Man” a ludicrous chain-smoking, booze-swigging papier-mâché character. There are lots of fabulous little touches to Super Badass’ character in this movie; whenever he decides that conversation or events are “valuable” Badass whips out an old radio-show style microphone in order to record a dictation for future prosperity, there’s also lots of religious iconography cut in as insert shots, designed to show that the character is a devout worshipper, which add a weird look to the film. I’m sure Cullen isn’t just throwing this in for effect, a glance at his website would reveal he takes religion pretty seriously. Cullen also happens to be a chicken/goat farmer, snake hunter, musician, broadcaster, tap-dancer, and children’s storywriter. Whatever the merits of this movie – you can’t say the guy lacks talent.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Charles E. Cullen
USA / 1999 / 74 minutes.
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