DAY 9: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL: One with a misunderstood freak/mutant/abomination, etc., (or in this case: a fatherless child with farm implements).
Oy, this movie . . . this friggin’ movie! Just like a Wim Vink joint, such as Half Past Midnight, a Jim Larsen joint takes its punches for being repetitive and plotless, with its “awfulness” compounded by its scant-to-no dialog and added-in-post victim screams that come replete with bad acting and well, bad everything that a film should not be.
Frackin’ balderdash: Nigel the Psychopath is a thing that should be.
For as our cherished (well, my) Doug Ulrich and Al Darago Karo Consortium for Better Film product line foretold in Snuff Kill: a Larsen bowel movement is a burst of pure offal ridiculousness squeezed out by an-off-the-Ritalin energy. Yeah, that’s right: move it on over, Mr. Dennis Divine, for there’s a new, pulpy monster mag back pages SOV-auteur in the john, er, town.
Yeah, just plop it right over ‘ere, Jimbo: our VCRs have been trained on a steady diet of the fibrous intestinal cleaners of Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, and Bruno Mattei for a very long time. We can handle the raison d’etre Sean S. Cunningham stank for the one hour serving you’re dishing . . . or is that squatting? Hey, if we can clench our cheeks on Joel Reed’s Gamma 693, we can pass this tape worm without the vasoline assist, no problemo.
Okay, so . . . the pesky plot, or lack there of: Our misunderstood ‘lil devil on this 9th day in the month of our Scarecrow is Nigel: a gas mask-adorned psycho who frolics among the SOV backyards of America as he lives by the edict: heaven is a place where everyone is a lot happier. But not just anyone, mind you: get the adults the frack out of here, for Nigel stalks the local playground and kills children death-porn style — with a weedwacker (well, a sickle/rake thingy) — along with the occasion broomstick impaling and staple gun dispatching. Heads are split open, neck are garroted-by-tree, faces are stomped, and arms and legs are loped off in quick succession in between fight scenes that make ol’ Dolemite himself, Rudy Ray Moore, look like Bruce Lee.
Oh, hell yes, and jumpin’ Jehoshaphats, Nigel the Psychopath is a film that breaks all the rules, not just the crafts of filmmaking and thespin’, but of good taste and common sense that jangles the five sense. Ye must embrace the inept editing and the muddy-to-blaring music that goes from acoustic guitars to reggae to rock. Accept and suspend all logic as Larsen’s gang of shemps* out-Raimi a Sam Raimi production with a commitment to the shot-on-video cause. Pair ‘er up with Cards of Death and Lazarus the Legend and analog yourself into a snowy-screened stupor.
In the end, for me: Nigel the Psychopath isn’t so much a fluid narrative, but a documentary — a documentary chronicling Jim Larsen and his friends having the best ’80s summers, ever, as they lived the dream of making their own slasher movie. So, yeah, uh, okay . . . Nigel the Psychopath may not be the best movie (for me, it is), but it’s full of the heart that lacks in wannabe, SOV-masquerading junk like the Canadian slop that is Blue Murder. And the Larsen love comes in spurts!
Thanks to writer and director Jim Larsen interacting with his fans via the wonders of the web, we’ve come to know that, while we toss his slasher opus on our SOV woodpiles, it was actually shot on Super 8 mm film and VHS video between the years of 1986 to 1989. There are also three versions on YouTube to chose from: the original super 8 film short, the VHS-version, Nigel the Psychopath At Large, and Nigel the Psychopath: 33rd Anniversary Director’s Cut (that runs a wee-longer, at 70-minutes). Pick one or pick ’em all and watch the insanity for yourself, courtesy of Jim’s very active You Tube portal.
What’s that? You want to know more about the man, the myth, the “real” warped mind of Jim Larsen? Well, he’s on the web at themindofjimlarsen.com via WordPress. He tells his version of events concerning Nigel the Psychopath with his own page dedicated to the film. Read it!
* Dude, if we have to explain “shempin'” to you, we know ye not. Turn in your B&S About Movies membership card.
About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.