Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hobo With A Shotgun - Homelessploitation

I don't think I'll ever be able to emphasize it enough, but I love Tarantino's and Rodriguez's Grindhouse. It was my all-time favorite movie experience: A midnight showing, a fun crowd, a double feature, and awesome intermission trailers. And it was those fake trailers in between films that made me fall in love with Exploitation Cinema. When Exploitation was being produced in the 70's, the movie itself could be terrible, but it was the exciting movie previews that got an audience to fill the seats of the theatre. So to gain interest in the production of Grindhouse, an Internet sensation came to fruition as the general public were challenged to submit their own faux trailers. While there were many awesome trailers produced, there was one that stood above the rest: Hobo With A Shotgun. With high appraise, support, and a legendary lead to helm the title role, this small fan project grew into a full overblown movie production.

Starring Rutger Hauer, this 2011 film was directed by Jason Eisener. Hauer plays a hobo who has just arrived to Hope Town and quickly discovers it's filled with nothing but hopelessness. Aspiring to save up enough money to buy a $40 used-lawnmower, he has no chance of making an honest living in a city overridden by crime. After saving a prostitute named Abby (played by Molly Dunsworth) from being mutilated, the Hobo can no longer handle the corruption and decides to take matters in his own hands - He trades in his dreams and life-savings for an avenging shotgun. As the Hobo slowly cleans up the streets, will he be able to defeat the evil crimelord running Hope (or should I say Scum) City?

From my little synopsis, you can tell this movie is outrageously overblown. However, along with all the silliness and humor, you have to have the right stomach to watch this film as it's filled with some pretty horrific scenes:
  • Homeless are decapitated using "glory holes"
  • Naked women erotically beat dangling homeless people with razor serrated baseball bats
  • A bus full of elementary students are murdered through the use of a flame thrower
Just as Machete is a "Mexiploitation" film, Hobo With a Shotgun is a "Homelessploitation" film. Right from the start, the movie's opening title card screams of Exploitation. Portrayed with a grainy film stock, you feel like you're watching a film in the Grindhouse. Even the story's plot exhibits these perverse elements. The homeless are oppressed and forced to do excruciating things such as chewing on glass while being filmed on camera. However, once the Hobo comes to town serving justice by shotgun, the homeless band together to fight the system. Mix in some sex, blood, and over-the-top dialogue, this movie makes homage to the quintessential Exploitation films.

As for the acting, Rutger Hauer plays the role of the Hobo perfectly. He comes into town, nameless, in a similar fashion to Clint Eastwood from the Leone Westerns. He is strong willed and doesn't like to be tied down. Even though he hides behind a tough demeanor, he has an affectionate side, especially towards Abby. Preserving a platonic relationship with elements of a father and daughter, the Hobo is able to pass his torch of rebellion onto Abby. Molly Dunsworth effectively plays this role, feeding off of Hauer's presentation and becomes a strong and beautiful character the audience likes. In the end, both actors display a intimidating side (especially when Abby sacrifices her hand), where they become scary figures we wouldn't want to mess with, reminiscent of Hauer's Android role in Blade Runner.

If you like Exploitation Films, this movie is for you. If you liked Grindhouse, this movie is for you. Or if you only liked the Thanksgiving and Don't Trailers, this movie is for you.

So on Death List Five, Hobo With A Shotgun ranks #4.

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