Gutterballs (2008) poster

Gutterballs (2008)


Canada. 2008.


Director/Screenplay – Ryan Nicholson, Photography – Mark Atkins, Music – Patrick Cable, Visual Effects/Production Design – Lars Simkins, Special Effects Supervisor – Jon Funk, Makeup Effects – Life to Death FX (Prosthetic Designer – Michelle Grady). Production Company – Plotdigger Films.


Alistair Gamble (Steve), Nathan Witte (Jamie), Wade Gibb (Joey), Candice Lewald (Lisa), Jimmy Blais (Sam), Jeremy Beland (Ben), Trevor Gemma (Patrick), Nathan Dashwood (A.J.), Mihola Terzic (Sarah), Scott Alonzo (Dave), Danielle Munro (Sarah), Stephanie Schachter (Cindy), Saraphina Bardeaux (Hannah)


Various people gather to play and party at the Xcalibur Bowling Alley after closing. However, this ends in a fight between a group of friends and the bullying Steve and his gang during which Steve’s foot is crushed. Lisa returns looking for her purse only for Steve and his friends to grab her and rape her and for Steve to then violate her with a bowling pin. The next evening everybody turns up after hours again, including a seemingly unaffected Lisa. However, as they party, a masked figure known as BBK starts brutally eliminating all those present.

Gutterballs was the third film from Canadian director Ryan Nicholson. Nicholson was a makeup artist on numerous films and tv series including Final Destination (2000), Scary Movie (2000), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Blade Trinity (2004), Ghost Rider (2007), Blair Witch (2016), Warcraft (2016), Altered Carbon (2018-20) and The Predator (2018). Nicholson made his directorial debut with Torched (2004), followed by Live Feed (2006) and then had a modest hit with Gutterballs. Nicholson went on to direct the likes of Hanger (2009), Bleading Lady/Star Vehicle (2010), Famine (2011), Alarming (2013), Dead Nude Girls (2013), Collar (2014), as well as episodes of the anthologies Necrophagia: Nightmare Scenarios (2004) and Hell Hath No Fury (2006). Nicholson passed away from cancer in 2019.

When it came out, Gutterballs attracted some Censorship Controversy and was released in cut forms and finally seen in an uncut version in 2011. Watching the latter version here, it is clear why – the entire film that has been conceived around allowing Nicholson to do what he does best, namely serve up novelty makeup effects and gore. It is a film that leaves no doubt that it is aiming for the same crude and vulgar vein that Troma Films have mapped out for themselves. It is making no apologies about doing so and is determined to push a limit.

The tone is fairly much set by the opening sequence where we are introduced to Candice Lewald who is wearing a mini-skirt and bends over to give a full vagina shot from the rear. A few scenes later, there is an extended scene where she is gang-raped by Alistair Gamble and associates. As I am watching her rape being dragged out in detail for several minutes, I am asking “Is this something I really need to see? Is this not stepping over a line into just being unpleasant exploitation?” If that does not answer for you, then the capper of the scene where a bowling pin is inserted in Lewald’s vagina – wide end first! – surely pushes Gutterballs over into well into Bad Taste territory.

The BBK killer in Gutterballs (2008)
The BBK killer – with bowling bag over their head for a mask

The film is largely construed around a series of Splatter and Gore scenes served up at regular intervals. These consists of the likes of:- a head shoved into a bowling polishing machine and excavated to an empty skull cavity; seeing the tranny (Jimmy Blais) with dick out and it being sliced in two; and various despatches with sharpened bowling pins. The lamest of these is a couple who are suffocated while 69ing – her thighs are forced down to smother him and she forced to choke on his dick (which leads to an interesting speculation as to whether such would be medically possible). Beyond a plentiful line-up of boobs, there is not much else to the film.

The film has obtained the use of a bowling alley to shoot and everything is construed around a bowling theme – the killer’s mask is even a bowling bag turned upside down over their head. None of the characters seem particularly sympathetic or likeable. Most of the time they seem to trade insults case in point being lines like: “You’re lucky the toilet wouldn’t flush when your mother spread her legs and pulled you out with a goddamn coat-hanger.”

Ryan Nicholson later made a sequel with Gutterballs 2 (2015).

Trailer here

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