Oh, sweet Jeezie, I think I’m having ‘Nam flashbacks.
In 2009, I reviewed this movie for Fatally Yours, a great horror site run by Sarah J., who you can now read at The Spooky Vegan, and this is the one movie that almost completely broke my will, not only to review indie horror, but to ever speak another word in this life or continue to breathe.
OK, so maybe it wasn’t all of that. But this one hurt a lot…so, of course, I’m reposting it four years later. I don’t know what these CockHammer folks have been up to in the years since, and I don’t care, but hopefully they’re having a great time out there. Finally, after all the therapy, I think I’m close to having a great time out there again someday really soon. Here we go!
This simply can not be a typical movie review, as CockHammer is not the typical movie. It would be juvenile to simply discard the movie as “bad,” “piss-poor” or “the most awful thing I’ve ever seen,” because it’s loaded with so much more than that. This, the latest of Kevin Strange’s micro-budget filmsplosions doesn’t deserve a review that does any more than cast the film aside…but at the same time, it absolutely deserves so much more than that.
CockHammer is a film in the Troma tradition, an exploitative horror-comedy with rampant sexuality and drug references. Unlike a Troma flick, however, the winking wit is simply non-existent. A blurb coming from the filmmakers themselves sets the film up as, “schlock at an exciting pace, proving that making your own damn movie has little to do with talent, and everything to do with tanacity (sic).” Unfortunately, they’re completely fucking right.
The synopsis is simple: Terrence and Perander, a pair of junkie swinger losers are forced into action by the kidnapping of their girlfriends by the evil CockHammer, played by Strange himself. Strange actually pulls double-duty in this film, as both the titular CockHammer and a View Askew-esque stoner named Hogan. In all fairness, Hogan and his partner in crime (whose name eludes me at the moment and, really, doesn’t matter) are reasonably entertaining. Their humor is of the broadest variety and the lowest common denominator, but it mostly works.
This ends the portion of my review of CockHammer where positive things are written.
This thing is wacky, crazy, drug-fueled nonsense that is always energetic but never good. Not even for a second. For a horror, there’s nothing scary about it, and for a comedy, I was crying blood and screaming at the skies about a plague of locusts that has yet to occur. The fact that both genre-hops in this movie are so damned sure of themselves while being so damned wrong is the biggest part of why I couldn’t get behind a single minute of this thing.
I remember responding to my editor’s e-mail, choosing this film first of all the movies up for review. Having recently seen and greatly enjoyed the no-budget Junkbucket, I assumed that another dick-related, politically incorrect slasher would be right up my alley. And, knowing that I can sit through just about anything, I wasn’t worried about getting this movie watched, reviewed and posted within a couple of days. That was weeks ago.
The first time I sat down to watch CockHammer, I made it through about 30 minutes of the flick before I simply couldn’t handle another second. The dialogue for the film is the most literal form of “atrocious,” coming off like a hybrid of something that wants to sound like a Kevin Smith movie and an album of Insane Clown Posse b-sides. The lines are so long-winded that I found myself hoping the characters would pass out so they’d shut the fuck up. They wouldn’t stop, so I did.
I’d promised myself that I would sit through the entire movie in one shot, to give it a truly fair shake. Bad though CockHammer might have been, I wanted to treat the fact that the people involved in making the film did put passion, time, effort and even a little bit of money into this with a measure of basic respect, so I had to start it over again when I went to watch it the 2nd time. By the 4th time and the 2nd week of attempting this, I realized that it simply couldn’t be done.
The acting was awful, but I expected that and largely didn’t care. The script was worse than stuff I wrote in the 3rd grade, when all I did was copy the main plot to The Monster Squad into everything. The special effects were ridiculous, but at least I think that was the point. Mostly, though, the idea at large was just something that never needed to be made. I do want to be fair and say that the cinematography was adequate, and the on-screen graphics had a good look to them…but then, how fair is it to say nice things about something I hated? That’s not fair; that’s nice.
I didn’t want to do this review by the time I had to sit down and actually write it. It honestly breaks my heart to give a shitty review to people who are obviously horror fans. I know they tried; it’s evident that Kevin Strange and the crew at HackMovies.com wanted to make something that could become a cult hit, like a Poultrygeist or Tromeo and Juliet. Honestly, I wish they had; I’m always looking for the next interesting thing in horror. I didn’t find it here, though, and the trailers for Strange’s other films pretty much confirmed that I could stop Lewis & Clarking the HackMovies body of work.
Finally, let’s talk about this budget. I’ve received more than a couple nasty e-mails about how a movie that I gave a poor review was only made for 400 or 500 bucks, and I was a mean boy or something, and I’m at the point now where I just can’t deal with that excuse any longer. A budget does not buy ingenuity or creativity. It doesn’t buy the ability to write or even necessarily to act. All a budget can buy is a Michael Bay movie, and those happen to also suck. CockHammer, according to the info provided with the movie, was filmed on a $500 budget, and I admire the desire and passion that shines through when someone makes a movie with such meager funds. But fucking hell, make the movie you can make with 500 bucks, not the one that fists my ass and then expects me to thank it because it’s “indie” or some shit. “Indie” is no cover-up for the fact that a movie is just plain awful.
I guess…hell, I hope, that HackMovies.com could have a cult future ahead of them. Address Kevin Strange’s mug-happy acting, the poor writing, meandering story that just doesn’t matter and stupidity that devolves the whole thing into a goof video that some high dudes made with their friends. I hope that any horror fan can find it within him or herself to live their dream and make a kick-ass horror movie. CockHammer isn’t that dream, though. This thing was a fucking nightmare, in all of the ways that horror should never be. I guess I really wish them the best, but if I gave this a good review, my brains should be on a wall for being dishonest. No.
OK, so that’s my CockHammer thing…so, am I any closer to understanding why I posted this in the 1st place? Well, I think so. Part of it is that Kevin Strange wrote me personal messages and was a really snotty piece of shit to me, so I kinda don’t like the guy. The bigger part, though, is that I reviewed a movie yesterday that has an IMDB rating of 3.5, and Cockhammer has a 4.0. Sick Boy was truthfully a million times better than CockHammer in every conceivable way. Hell, I watched it in one sitting, which means surprisingly more than many might figure.
So I guess I’m kinda saying that there’s no accounting for taste in this world, and that neither ratings nor reviews really mean a single thing. Kinda makes this blog seem pretty unimportant all of a sudden…
…oh well. Join me next time, when I’ll be reviewing the 1946 classic, Arthur Buttfucker: American Savior. Premonition: probably going to be a hit.
Oh, and here’s the trailer. I guess it’s NSFW. Whatever.