Everybody has a horror nut in their life. Someone who obsesses over the visual special effects used to terrify people. The sort of person who absolutely must see every scary film on the market, and can tell you the exact chemical composition of movie blood. They've probably even made their own batches of it and keep it stored in the fridge. For me, that person was Matt Kurtz, and back in elementary school I remember him reading Fangoria magazine in every single class, and singing the praises of directors and movies I've never heard of. You know someone like that, right? If you don't, then chances are pretty high that the person is you.
Hobo With A Shotgun is out today on VOD, and you can watch it on your Xbox, at Amazon, rent it on iTunes, or several other video hotspots. Or catch it in theaters next week when it opens around the country. Personally, I'd recommend that you wait to see it in theaters, because you'll feel like you got transported back in time straight into a forgotten horror flick from 1985. Better yet, you could do both, and take a gaggle of friends with you. Because there just aren't enough movies about hobos with shotguns, or any weapons for that matter. Want to find out more about this cultural retro phenomenon? Of course you do. Keep reading.
When you boil this film down to its roots, it's a redemption story where a lone drifter comes to town, and starts cleaning up the filth and corruption that exists everywhere. Sounds like most Clint Eastwood westerns, right? In this case, Clint Eastwood is played by Rutger Hauer, and he's a hobo pushing a cart right through the middle of the 1980s, where drugs, arrogance, and self-obsession reign supreme. He's trying to gather change and buy a lawn mower so he can start his own landscaping company, but once things in the hellhole of a town he's slumming in get extremely bad, he can't ignore it anymore.
So, what does he do? He gets a shotgun and starts dealing out street justice, "one shell at a time." Yes, that's a tagline right out of the film, but it is appropriately awesome. Hauer deals death left and right as he works his way up the foodchain of thuggery, and eventually takes on the big bad boss who has the town under his thumb, along with his two Ray-Ban Wayfarer wearing, maniacally-grinning sons. The local media immediately love the hobo once he starts making headlines like "HOBO STOPS BEGGING, DEMANDS CHANGE," but the big boss turns the tables on him by offering a massive reward.
That's the film in a nutshell, but it's the execution (and I mean that word literally) by director Jason Eisener that turns this film into something special. Yes, there is a ton of over the top violence, the likes of which you'd never even see in a typical Hollywood R-rated film. Yes, the film doesn't make sense at all. And yes, Rutger Hauer returns himself to badass status, the likes of which I haven't seen since The Osterman Weekend. Or maybe The Hitcher. Molly Dunsworth does an ample job as a hooker turned hobo sidekick, and Nick Bateman and Gregory Smith perform admirably as Tom Cruise-clones who have no morals whatsoever. Brian Downey rounds out the cast as their insane criminal father, but Hauer will truly grimace and growl his way into your heart.
Come for the gore, stay for the camp, and then wonder where this will take Rutger in the future, because I sure as hell hope this means we'll be seeing him again. Speaking of seeing him again, if you're looking for $2.99 worth of hobo shotgunning fun, you can download the Hobo With A Shotgun 8-bit game (yes, for real) where you get to blow away baddies with your shotgun. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Gibs included.