There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Butt Boy combines the scatological curiosity of The Human Centipede with the absurdism of Rubber. You may recall that The Human Centipede is about a demented surgeon who sews three people together, connecting their posteriors to their mouths, while Rubber is about a sentient car tire who murders people with its mind. Heady concepts and bad taste unite these films, except Butt Boy is somehow not absurd enough to veer into “so bad it’s good” territory. It is impressive the filmmakers got this project off the ground, although there is a good chance it may ultimately embarrass everyone involved.
At first, Butt Boy tells a simple story about an ordinary man who discovers a dormant kink. In addition to directing and co-writing the film, Tyler Cornack plays Chip, a mild-mannered IT guy who lives in the suburbs with his wife and son. During a routine prostate exam, Chip discovers he really likes to put things in his butt. He tries a bar of soap, then his television remote. It gets weird from there—somehow, his butt develops superhuman powers, so it can suck up living creatures, like his dog.
Chip’s insatiable butt is a burden. He did not ask for this power, so its appetite is more about compulsion than gratification. He even starts attending Alcoholics Anonymous for his addiction. This is also where Butt Boy develops its plot. Years after the dog, Chip relapses and sucks up a child. This triggers a police investigation, and Chip is the AA sponsor for the case’s lead detective (Tyler Rice). The two men begin an uneasy friendship, at least until the detective has his suspicions.
This film had its premiere at last year’s Fantastic Fest, a festival where audiences are often more receptive to such material. Once getting past the title and concept, however, even cult cinema fans may find the filmmaking and performances a touch too amateurish. As Chip, Cornack’s performance is so deadpan that sympathy or disgust barely register as appropriate responses to him. Rice is a bit more successful—he plays the detective as an intense obsessive with an inexplicable accent—and while his hard-boiled concept is out of place, at least it is a recognizable archetype.
There are long stretches where Chip’s resignation veers into disinterest, so the monster living inside him inspires little curiosity or suspense. In the final act, we see what happens to the detective when Chip’s butt sucks him up and, needless to say, it looks unpleasant up there. Many of the film’s mysteries are solved, although the horror and gross-out humor are not a great fit. Jokes are superfluous when the concept is already this bizarre.
In a period when no one is going to movie theaters anymore, smaller indie films have unparalleled opportunities to reach audiences stuck at home. Swallow and Sea Fever rise to the occasion, and even serve as unintended metaphors for these strange times. Butt Boy hopes for similar success, as if cabin fever is enough to get people interested in a movie about a demented butthole and its hapless victims. No one should be that desperate, so if your evening comes down to choosing between another film and this one, you should probably avoid this number two option.
Butt Boy is available to rent and stream on Amazon Prime.