Screams From The Crypt: Bag Boy Lover Boy Review
Welcome back to Screams from the Crypt, the Talk Film Society’s home for horror! This week our very own Schlockmeister General Dan Colón is here with a review of Bag Boy Lover Boy, a festival favorite that's finally getting a Blu-ray release via Severin Films.
If you’re anything like me, you know there’s nothing like a hot dog straight from a vendor on a city street, but after watching Bag Boy Lover Boy, I'm not sure I'll be able to touch another one again. After spending a few years on the festival circuit, Andres Torres’ first feature film has finally arrived on Blu-ray, thanks to the good folks at Severin Films, and, my god, it’s a hell of a debut.
Bag Boy Lover Boy stars Swedish-born newcomer Jon Wachter as Albert, a slack-jawed, dead-eyed New York City hot dog vendor who works the night shift and lives in a shitty, windowless apartment with little more than a venus flytrap and some posters of naked ladies on the walls. One evening, he encounters Ivan, an ultra-charming yet undeniably sleazy photographer (played by Theodore Bouloukos) who wants to make Albert the focus of his next art show. Knowing nothing about art, Albert declines. That is, until he realizes photography may be the way to win the heart of Lexy, an adorable starving artist and one of Albert’s regulars. In exchange for an education on art, Albert agrees to be photographed in a series of awkward, exploitative fetish shoots alongside a couple of beautiful models, which contrast harshly against his limp noodle physique. When Ivan is called away for a job in Italy, Albert, armed with a Polaroid camera, decides to “borrow” Ivan’s studio to shoot some photos of his own. When he accidentally kills a prostitute he solicited for his first shoot, he comes to realize he may have found the muse he needed to indulge his own creative impulses.
Much like its central character, Bag Boy Lover Boy is a bit slow and frequently gross, but it’s also endlessly fascinating. Director Andres Torres, perhaps channeling Abel Ferrara, creates a beautifully sleazy little world within the streets of New York City that simultaneously feels both current and reminiscent of the grimy New York of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Though much of the film, particularly the second half, aims to shock or disgust the audience--like some straight up necrophilia and cannibalism or Albert dropping a hot dog on the filthy floor only to place it back on the grill, claiming the heat keeps the hot dogs “clean and germ free”--most of it, if not all, is presented with a gleefully sick sense of humor, which adds a nice balance to the overall tone of the film and makes some of the more unsavory moments palatable to more than just the hardcore genre fans.
Jon Wachter is absolutely wonderful as the pathetic protagonist, injecting Albert with a tangible sense of pathos that can be felt through his ever-vacant expressions, even when he’s committing some truly heinous acts, and his co-star Theodore Bouloukos is equally brilliant as Ivan, dominating each of his scenes with an effortless likeability that instantly supersedes any reservations one might have about his exploitative motives. The film is never more alive than when the two share scenes together, and it’s almost a shame when Ivan disappears in the second act as the film shifts gears to a much darker place.
Unfortunately, the Blu-ray put out by Severin Films is pretty sparse. In addition to the film, it includes a commentary track featuring some wonderful insight from Andres Torres, Theodore Bouloukos, and editor Charlie Williams, as well as a couple of Jon Wachter’s student films, and that’s pretty much it. A film as odd as Bag Boy Lover Boy just begs for a behind-the-scenes featurette at the very least. Fortunately, the film is such a pleasure to watch that it more than makes up for the disappointing lack of extras on the disc. Though it may leave the more extreme gorehounds wanting, Bag Boy Lover Boy is a delightful little piece of exploitation sleaze that should satisfy most genre fans looking for something fresh and twisted.