Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95 minutes
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“The Janitor” gets right to the point. With in your face reservoir style killings in the beginning of the film, this dark comedy is hard to resist. TJ Nordaker and Andy Signore have concocted some really great characters and some truly gore-filled comedic scenes for our b-film delight. The great direction and cutting-edge quality of the low budget gore are truly music to my ears. The humor is sophisticated, the wit is sharp and the editing is nearly flawless. Nordaker and Signore have created a new version of the gore-filled, sexually grotesque, mind-numbingly funny Troma-esque film that goes above and beyond what we’ve come to expect from a good low budget independent horror film.
Lionel is a disgruntled, if a little frightening, Janitor (played by director/writer Andy Signore). With his best friend Mr. Growbo (Bruce Cronander), he lives in a closet in the office building he cleans for a living. Pushed around by the office workers, disrespected by the cute women, and shunned by the one girl he can’t take his eyes off of, Lionel is frustrated indeed. So frustrated, in fact, that he has started killing people on the side. As the office workers begin disappearing one by one, the FBI are called in to put a stop to the entire mess. Agent Page (Skip Pipo) is an idiotic FBI man who couldn’t find the killer is the killer walked up and killed him, but he’s determined to try. As the investigation goes on, Lionel believes that there is only one thing for him to do: switch jobs. When a sorority called TNA
Wants to hire him as their own private janitor, Lionel can’t wait to leave his terrible existence at the Office Building. But that means laving his dear dear friend Mr. Growbo behind. Lionel must face the consequences of betraying his one and only loyal friend, and the payment is bloody, covered in semen, and often involves some sort of deviant sexual reference or body part dismemberment. In short: icky but yay.
Andy Signore is such a good actor that you are almost in awe that he decided to make such a gross-out horror flick (lets face it, horror is just one notch above porn on the belt of good taste). His Lionel is deep, brooding, intense, and pitiful, while at the same time a formidable killer. Bruce Cronander plays the demented Mr. Growbo with flair and an almost childlike dementia. Crystal Lebard is the promiscuous secretary with an attitude (who’s not afraid to get naked at the drop of a hat) and Fiona MacIntyre plays the Cameron Diaz look-alike love interest of Lionel. So may good characters and such fun actors all warrant a mention. Rachael Bennett, Stephanie Medina, and Kelly King as the sorority girls who both tempt and ultimately destroy Lionel’s’ last fleeting faith in innocence are hilarious. Playing a bimbo who is also conniving and creepy is a challenge.
Larry Butler is the sexually transmitted disease-obsessed boss at the office, Mr. Bouillabaisse, and he has a great ability to deliver his often-freaky lines with style and a straight face. Chris Hall is the obnoxious and adorable Robbie, the office flirt. John Carreon plays Willis, a new janitor on the scene who becomes Lionel’s staunch ally, and Skip Pipo steals the show as the incompetent, bumbling, and stupid Agent page of the FBI. Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo appearance as a homeless bum who gets his arms torn off (twice).
The Janitor involves some of the funniest gore scenes I have witnessed in ages.
Though there tends to be too much bleeding from the mouth and excessive arm tearing, the humor is great fun. There is a definite Troma influence on this film, but it’s actually a great movie on its own and creates sits own definitive style.
Behind all the gore and laughter, there is a brooding darkness in this tale. Real Hostility and deep frustration shine through Signore’s eyes as the disturbed Lionel. The crucial element of character development has been attended to brilliantly despite the wisecracks and sex jokes that float around aimlessly. Lionel is a sympathetic character despite his mass murdering of innocents. There is a power in the script and intensity to the horror. Signore and Nordaker have the ability to transcend the obstacles that low budget filmmaking presents. With a variety of camera shots (like an 80’s buddy montage), great editing, and a little bit of Kung Fu thrown in for spice, The Janitor reveals some of the most clever filmmaking in independent cinema all year.
Posted on September 24, 2005 in Reviews by Heidi Martinuzzi
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- PLAYHOUSE (DVD)
- THE JANITOR
- LLOYD KAUFMAN: AMERICAN AUTEUR
- ANDREW GATY: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ZOMBIES FOR THE FUTURE
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