by Jason Coffman
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As I watched The Taint, I couldn’t help but imagine Lloyd Kaufman crying tears of pride as the influence of Troma films officially made itself known in yet another generation of young filmmakers. Completely ridiculous and as gleefully offensive as anything Troma has ever done, The Taint brings new meaning to the word “splatstick.” The filmmakers of this super low-budget smorgasbord of gross-out apparently never met a bodily fluid they didn’t want to splash across the screen in brightly-colored high definition digital video. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing is entirely up to the individual viewer.
As the film opens, our hero Phil O’Ginny (writer/co-director Drew Bolduc) wakes from a nightmare and is immediately chased by a shitting hillbilly in long pajamas wielding a scythe. As he flees through the forest, Phil is stopped by a terrifying sight: a man staggering around with a huge erection sticking out of his pants, spewing semen everywhere, raising a rock to cave in Phil’s head. Enter Misandra (Colleen Walsh), who quickly dispatches the man and explains to Phil how society has completely fallen apart due to The Taint, a mysterious chemical that entered the water system and turns all men into rampaging misogynists bent on killing and/or having sex with any woman unlucky enough to fall into their grasp.
As Phil and Misandra head to a well that Misandra believes to be untainted, they encounter other survivors of this bizarre apocalypse. One of these survivors happens to be Phil’s old gym teacher Houdini (Cody Crenshaw), who has settled in to anarchy very nicely and runs a gang of nomads with names like Balloon Knot and Alligator Fuckhouse. They then meet the masked stranger Ludas (Kenneth Hall), who takes them to his friend’s dad’s basement and tells them the whole terrifying story of The Taint. However, Ludas may have more in store for our heroes than just confessing his sins.
As you may have guessed by now, The Taint is not a film for the easily— or even fairly reasonably— offended. Other plot points include child abuse flashbacks, Nazi imagery, and an impromptu abortion. Throughout the film there are scenes of men killing women in various gruesome ways, using some shockingly good special effects. While the film goes on at least one story detour too many, the pacing is still very quick, with a total running time of just around 70 minutes. The Taint is a surprisingly accomplished independent film that looks great and has something to offend pretty much everybody— what else could you possibly want?
The Taint is available on DVD (and limited VHS) through the official movie web site. Visit the site for more information on the film, including trailers and soundtrack clips, and to see if The Taint may be playing at a film festival near you.
Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He writes reviews for Film Monthly and “The Crown International Files” for Criticplanet.org.
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