Bag Boy Lover Boy (Blu-ray)

Starring John Wachter, Theodore Bouloukos, Kathy Biehl

Directed by Andres Torres

Distributed by Severin Films


Unlike other home video companies, say Scream Factory or Arrow Video, there is a distinct visceral feeling produced when a package from Severn Films arrives. Opening the mailer is not likely to unearth some celebrated ‘80s cult title, or a lavish release from one of the majors; no, what is about to be revealed is either something grotesque, perverse, weird, or – more likely – all three. One of the label’s latest endeavors, Bag Boy Lover Boy (2014), is the latter, gushing sexual deviancy and bodily fluids like a busted water main. It is a film that is so bold in its weirdness that viewers have only two simple choices: embrace it or shut it off and pretend your eyes never saw a thing. Doing the former is an easy choice because the film has an ace (of sorts) up its sleeve: John Wachter, who stars as the eponymous “boy”.

Albert (John Wachter) is a hot dog truck employee in New York City, with a brain that moves slower than molasses on a cold night. He has no apparent standards, for either himself or the food truck or, grossly enough, the food within. During an argument with a drunken couple late one night he meets Ivan (Theodore Bouloukos), a local photographer who finds himself unexpectedly captivated by Albert’s unconventional looks and personality. Ivan invites Albert to take part in a photo shoot, to which the dimwit reluctantly agrees so long as Ivan teaches him how to become a professional photographer, too. The shoots Ivan stages are bizarre fetish scenes of blood and pigs and violent scenarios. Albert plays along, though he is unable to properly grasp Ivan’s direction. When he asks Ivan to begin teaching him about photography, his aspirations are rebuffed.

An opportunity presents itself when Ivan heads off to Milan for a fashion shoot, and he accidentally leaves his studio keys with Albert. Armed with a Polaroid camera and all the charm of a wet sock, Albert heads out into the city in search of prospective models. And somehow he meets women who are willing to accompany him back to a studio. Alone. Using Ivan’s perceived success as a template Albert attempts to get his models to pose in increasingly bizarre scenarios. When one refuses to don a plastic bag over her head, Albert matter-of-factly chokes her to death. And then he rapes her. From selling hot dogs to murder and necrophilia in a matter of days. Albert continues to use Ivan’s studio as his own but his retarded hubris and complete lack of empathy soon get him into hot water.

John Wachter is a… special actor. His performance has been hailed in the press and he won the Best Actor award at the New York City Horror Film Festival in 2014. Is he acting? If so, this is the most convincing portrayal of a mentally challenged individual since Tugg Speedman played Simple Jack. Albert doesn’t display any homicidal tendencies until the moment when he does, but his general world view is established early on – he just does not give a shit. He works at a hot dog truck. He lives in an austere drab apartment. He can’t get a date. When he drops a hot dog on the floor and just puts it back on the grill, it isn’t done maliciously. The inherent grossness of the fact doesn’t even register. Albert is just checked out of normal life.

Still, his abrupt decision to go from weird creeper to necrophiling murderer, and eventually cannibal, is a little jarring. Albert is the sort of guy who has to wear Velcro shoes because he could never figure out how to loop laces, and he has the physical presence of Abe Vigoda with a sinus infection. Any one of the women he attacks should have been able to at least match his deficient physicality and beat his wimpy ass but good before running off and alerting police. He’s a little Lennie from “Of Mice and Men”; not strong, but ignorant in his efforts to get women to do as he asks. Non-compliance is met with death simply because it means they are now unable to push back.

Director Andres Torres and cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano manage to capture the scummy streets of Abel Ferrara’s The Driller Killer (1979) with a neon veneer reminiscent of Nicholas Winding Refn or Gaspar Noe. Flash and style are on display to be seen, but viewers are always reminded harsh streets and unexpected violence are lurking just beneath. This is Maniac (1980) with Corky from Life Goes On (1989-1993) in the lead. Bag Boy Lover Boy is not a great film but it is captivating in its own quizzical way. Just don’t grab yourself a hot dog before pressing “play”.

The film may capture the grittiness of NYC’s streets but the 1.78:1 1080p image is far removed from that aesthetic. This is proficient digital image; smooth, natural, free from grain. Colors pop within this slick presentation, capturing numerous gross-out moments with optimal clarity. When Albert drops a hot dog on the floor of his dirty food truck, you can easily see every chunk of dirt and blackened food remnants clinging to the little wiener. Scum and dubious sex appeal have never looked better.

A capable English LPCM 2.0 stereo track carries the audio. The score is punchy and features great fidelity, with the sound ranging from weird gypsy music to punctual beats. The sounds of the city are nicely spaced within the front-end speakers, giving life to the streets. Dialogue is always discernible and clean. Subtitles are available in English.

Audio commentary with director Andres Torres, actor Theodore Bouloukos, and editor Charlie Williams.

“The Student Films of actor John Wachter” features two very short pieces, Got Light and The Never-starting Story, each running just over a minute in length.

A trailer is also included.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary With Director Andres Torres, Actor Theodore Bouloukos and Editor Charlie Williams
  • The Student Films of Actor Jon Wachter: Got Light and The Never-starting Story
  • Original Trailer

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Anthony Arrigo

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