The condemned: Butt Boy (2019)
The plot: Sometimes, after watching a particular film, you can think to yourself, “Wow, I can’t believe no one else thought of that before. That seems like something that should’ve existed long before now.” Butt Boy does not elicit that reaction. If there is the polar opposite of that response—maybe something along the lines of “What particular traumatic childhood experience, combined with years of sublimated nightmares and a chemical strain of DMT so potent it would make Timothy Leary regret having ever tried drugs in the first place, led to the decision-making process that birthed this concept?”—then Butt Boy is a film that would engender it. That’s a compliment, by the way.
In all ways save for one, Butt Boy is your typical ’80s-style cop thriller. Russell (Tyler Rice) is a detective who recently admitted he has a problem and begins attending AA meetings, but spends his nights pining over the ex who has moved on with another man. He’s been working for months on a massive crime bust, but when his chief reassigns him to a case involving a missing kid, our protagonist discovers a disturbing fact: His prime suspect in the new case is none other than his brand-new AA sponsor, a seemingly docile family man named Chip (Butt Boy director Tyler Cornack). As Russell begins investigating his new friend, he starts to realize that Chip’s placid exterior may hide a dark soul capable of committing awful acts. Soon, it’s a race to stop the criminal before he hurts anyone else. Pretty standard fare, no?
Oh, right, except for the one atypical element: Chip is addicted to shoving things into his ass, and though he starts small—game pieces, soap, etc.—he moves on to bigger and bigger items, before using his asshole to swallow up people whole, at which point they’re transported into a cavernous realm inside of Chip, trapped forever in his time-and-space-warping anal cavity.
Over-the-top box copy: Just the wry tagline, “Assume the position.” Also this is the rare instance where I’m not about to begrudge anyone the desire to get a little hyperbolic when waxing poetic about this film. It’s a hell of a premise.
The descent: Normally, this section of a Home Video Hell entry is set aside to explain what initially drew me to a film—what aspect of the low-budget production led me to think that it would be worth checking out and that I’d possibly find something rewarding inside. In this case, however, I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. The movie is called Butt Boy. It is about a man who disappears people by swallowing them up into his butt. Not since Joyce’s Ulysses has art so clearly announced its intention to do something different. This is a film all right-thinking people should be curious to check out, pugophobics aside.
The theoretically heavenly talent: You have not heard of writer-director Tyler Cornack. (Please don’t come at me, family and friends of Tyler Cornack. I am sure you all have heard of him.) You have not heard of star Tyler Rice (real Tyler-centric film, this one), or costars Shelby Dash and Brad Potts. Make no mistake, and not since the last Mel Gibson movie has this statement been more true, the asshole is the real star of this show.
The execution: What makes Butt Boy work is how fully it commits to its premise without even the slightest suggestion that this is anything other than the normal cop-movie fare. Edit out the parts where Chip is pulling things and people into his ass, and you have a movie more or less in line with endless examples of generic B-movie pulp. This is a world much like our own, in which it is seemingly completely inexplicable that a man could be doing this, and yet our cop hero simultaneously accepts the reality of the situation and deals with it like any other criminal. You keep waiting for someone to say, “That’s fucking insane,” but the movie is structured in such a way that there’s never any opportunity to find out if that’s how people in this universe respond. Hence, you get scenes like this one, where Russell explains to the chief his theory of who’s responsible for the disappearance of the boy.
This is all played completely straight. And if you don’t know anything about the movie other than it’s about a guy who sticks things up his butt and maybe kills people—as I did—the gradual progression of things going in Chip’s rectum is truly astonishing. I think the film broke me early on, when, after the initial wave of sticking things like a bar of soap or the television remote up Chip’s ass has ended, he pauses, then gives the dog a sketchy look. Cut to his wife posting “missing dog” flyers.
After discovering a computer disc containing the video footage of Chip swallowing up the missing kid, Russell leads Chip to an abandoned factory to confront him. (Why he doesn’t lead Chip to, say, the police station is a puzzling matter, indeed.) Russell beats Chip up, and after knocking the wind out of him, goes back to his car to call for backup. Instead, this happens.
Yes, it’s like a swirling vortex of anal suction. Butt Boy is a unique film.
Things get real ’80s-fantasy feature during the last act, after Chip sucks Russell up into his ass as well. This is where we get the scenes of the detective wandering the cavernous realm of a colon with the kids that Chip’s rear end swallowed (Chip vacuumed up a little boy nine years earlier, then quit doing it out of shame until Russell entered his life). It becomes almost a surreal nightmare as Russell and the kids spend over a month living in this rear end. Here, observe them stumbling upon the fruits of Chip’s labor.
Chances it will rise from obscurity: I suspect Butt Boy is going to endure as a cinematic curio. There aren’t many movies about a detective matching wits with a guy who disappears objects and people up his asshole, let alone many that turn out to be pretty good. That’s a lonely subgenre shelf at the video store.
Damnable commentary track or special features? The Blu-ray comes with a commentary track from the director, as well as a 12-minute making-of featurette. Thanks to COVID-19, I have not been able to receive a copy of the Blu-ray in time. Then again, part of me wants to preserve the mystique—as much as a film called Butt Boy can have.