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STUDIO: Vicious Circle Films
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
- Commentary With Director Ryan Nicholson
- Behind The Stoma: The Making Of
- Enough Dope To Hanger Yourself With: On The Set
- Black On White Inbred
- Deleted Scenes
- Blooper Reel
- Original Trailer
- Explicit Stills Gallery
Pimps and Hookers! Back alley abortions! Bloody revenge!
Starring Nathan Dashwood, Dan Ellis, Ronald Patrick Thompson, and Debbie Rochon. Written by Ryan Nicholson and Patrick Coble. Directed by Ryan Nicholson.
Like all great works of fiction, the story of Hanger (Dashwood) begins with a pregnant prostitute watching a horror movie with a tranny and a burn victim. Rose (Rochon) is struggling to make ends meet, ‘cause the market for a hooker with child is understandably limited. This has evidently become a major point of contention between Rose and her pimp Leroy (Thompson), and the ruthless entrepreneur takes it upon himself to abort the baby (no doubt after Rose had accrued three strikes in accordance with company policy). Rose dies, but the baby, inexplicably, survives. 18 years later, the child, nicknamed Hanger (you can probably guess why) is rescued from the streets by Rose’s favorite john (Ellis) and the two embark on a series of seedy misadventures with a host of other unsavory characters.
I’ll just say this up front: Hanger wants to be a Troma movie. Don’t let the Vicious Circle Films banner throw you off, the film’s quality and general sensibility are pure Troma. Lloyd Kauffman even has a cameo in it. So if you love Troma, you might like Hanger, because even by the infamous schlock studio’s standards it’s just okay. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll hate it.
I have very mixed feelings about the work of Kauffman and co., leaning towards dislike but tempered with odd respect. In principle I love their gonzo, DIY, anti-PC attitude, but I don’t actually enjoy watching many of their films. The intentional badness is a turn off and the over the top attempts to shock just seem juvenile. The same applies to Hanger; I appreciate that it embraces gross, offensive b-movie schlockiness, but it’s often a chore to sit through.
Wait, maybe this movie is supposed to be a weird sequel to Roxanne
The film announces its intentions right at the start. The opening scene features actors in silly prosthetics, close-ups of lactating breasts, a pregnant prostitute getting beaten, and thugs burning a tranny’s (Lloyd Kauffman) penis on a stove. As if that doesn’t paint a clear picture what the movie has in store for you, the follow up is an extremely graphic scene of Rose’s pimp forcibly giving her a late term coat hanger abortion, killing her in the process. Director Ryan Nicholson is coming out guns blazing, but the opening scenes have an unintended effect: they tell you you’re in for 80 more boring minutes of bad acting, amateurish filmmaking, puerile humor, and sleaze.
Keeping the proud, racially sensitive legacy of Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu alive
Handled with more focus, skill, and maturity the basic premise could have been turned into an interesting, watchable movie, without even sacrificing shock value. In fact, the movie as is lacks any real drama or suspense, even though the concept suggests an intense thriller. All the synopses of this movie I’ve read make it sound like Hanger is on a driven quest of vengeance, but that’s not the case. All possibilities of engaging characters, coherent story, or compelling conflict are lost in a sea of “shocking” bullshit. Hanger himself isn’t a real character, has no inner monologue or motivation, is barely even a performance – just a pile of latex.
Great, someone stole my idea for a Death Wish/Hellraiser crossover
All the violence, sexism, racism, and other taboo violating is just a gleeful attempt to make the film offensive to as many people as possible, so it’s not like I take issue with it morally or think the filmmakers are bad people. But after the mild shock wears off what’s the reward in watching it? Audacity is all the film has going for it. It has that in spades, but that’s not going to be enough for most people. So who’s the audience for this film? The average mainstream moviegoer is going to think it’s total garbage, and will probably never see it. If you’re a discerning genre fan, you’ll want something with more to offer. That leaves the sort of gorehounds and exploitation fans who don’t care how bad a film is as long as it’s fucked up, and while that’s no small demographic, chances are even they’ll eventually outgrow it when they discover that twisted movies can actually be well made and interesting.
The screener I got doesn’t include the special features… featured on the full DVD. There appears to be several of them though.