I can’t decide what was the transgressive nadir of Archie Andrews’ fall from vegan grace… unwittingly torturing the neighbour’s tethered dog with a pellet gun as he tries to kill it in his first attempt to get fuel for his car (with both the dog and Archie crying throughout)(and the audience screaming with laughter) or unceremoniously tipping the elderly neighbour-lady’s body over the railing of the second floor balcony where she has unfortunately expired.
Or, umm, it coulda been all the murders he committed.
I gotta go with the dog, though. I just can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. And no, you don’t see the pellets hitting the cute wittle doggie. That’s offscreen. We do get to see Archie’s sobbing between cocking the gun and firing, however, and that is enough. *yelp* *sob* Cocking and firing. *bark* *weep* Cocking and firing. *yipe* *blub*
The Toronto After Dark screening of Alex Orr‘s Blood Car packed the Bloor Cinema at 11:30 Saturday night, and it was clear that the audience was ready for what the film was there to deliver: more laughs than screams, more blood than brains, and more nonsense than sense.
Set in the future–two weeks in the future, to be exact–when gas prices have gone through the roof (you thought that 98.9 ¢/liter you paid to fill up the car yesterday was bad? try $32.21/gallon) and folks have, perforce, stopped driving their cars. Sweet-natured vegan kindergarten teacher Archie Andrews (who reads The Little Engine That Could to his class and wears a t-shirt that says “Meat is Murder in the Worst Degree” and sleeps with a stuffed toy baby seal) has a plan to come up with a car that runs on alternative fuel. Archie, a Little Engine if ever there was one, is determined to succeed. He thinks he can. He thinks he can. He has been working on a recipe of wheatgrass fuel and has gone through liters of the green goo but it isn’t until he accidentally cuts his hand and bleeds into the mixture that he finds success. Oh yes, it’s all very scientific, I assure you.
Looking into the story behind this film, I was astounded to find that its budget was a mere $25,000. It looks ‘waaaaaay better than that. Shit, it looked like they spent that much on fake blood, alone. And the effects around the car were very well done and linger in my memory–including a gruesome shot of somebody basically getting eaten by it.
Y’know, that said, it occurs to me that the film’s kind of a cross between Christine and The Little Shop of Horrors. And if we hadn’t had that one shot of the car trunk’s mysterious interior, I’d add Kiss Me Deadly (or, for you young’uns, Tarantino’s tip of the hat to Aldrich’s film). I mean, once Archie gets the car in motion, its needs take over his life and he is a slave to it (oh, hrm, could this be a message film?!), finding fuel wherever necessary. Doggies, little old ladies, kidlets, squirrels, you name it! He becomes the most unlikely serial killer.
The comedy is very broad, but if you don’t mind that it’s bloody good fun. Especially that thing with the dog.
→ originally published 2007-10-23