DIRECTOR: TOM TURNER. RUNNING TIME: 97 mins. DVD: THUNDERBOX. PRICE: £18.99 CERT: 18
Total turd might be a good way to describe this truly terrible exploration of the lives of people who are crap fetishists. The bottom line, (so to speak), is that writer/director/producer Tom Turner’s delve into the world of coprophiles, is simply not entertaining on any level.
If this were a serious examination of the world of these strange and sick people then it would be interesting, but this is little more than a celebration of the film maker’s own sick obsession. Nevertheless, the film starts off as if it is a true documentary looking at the background and history of the fetish – did you know, for instance, that Swift the writer was a coprophile, (although anyone who has read the full text of Gulliver’s Travels will hardly be surprised. Indeed the first 30 minutes are quite good taking a light tongue-in-cheek look at this strange obsession. Famous historical figures are exposed, from Alistair Crowley’s obsession with collecting all of his waste products to prevent them being used in magic spells against him, to such strange stuff as the Manson Family making a life size model of Charlie Manson out of their crap.
Hitler’s insistence on regular bowel movements for the SS is a revelation but the whole effort begins to falter when the subject of differing dog crap turns up. Mansfield green grocer and part-time pet detective John Paller claims to be able to tell different breeds by the taste and texture of stool. Not only do we have to witness this, but we also have to endure his repository of crap stored in a fridge, where he shows what he believes to be the only existing example of the once common white chalky dog turd.
Turner’s journeys to Europe and America see him become far too involved in his subject, a fatal mistake for a film maker, as the film rapidly turns into a latter day ‘Mondo’ movie. Sadly, we’re forced to see him indulge in coprophile orgies, rolling around and smearing himself and others in excrement. Do we want to see him being tied down and stooled over? Is this just a holiday film which grew with a pseudo- documentary beginning? One can’t help but suspect so.
A strange mix of historical fact and fossilised crap, it rapidly descends into a frenzy of excrement eating and wearing. Worst of all is the growing suspicion on the part of the viewer that Turner has followed the ‘Mondo’ formula to the extent of actually staging some of these events using actors. Indeed, one begins to suspect that in some cases the events depicted aren’t just being recreated for the camera, but never really happened in the first place, instead being the products of Turner’s fevered imagination. Amongst such low points is the sequence involving a Scottish chip shop owner who supposedly craps in his deep fat fryer and sells the resultant crispy crap as battered Mars Bars to drunk Glaswegians. Its authenticity is severely undermined by the lingering suspicion that the chip shop owner is actually an actor who once appeared in an episode of seventies sitcom Terry and June, with boot polish on his face playing the owner of an Indian takeaway who Terry Scott suspects of putting local cats in his curry.
Finally, one is left hoping that bonkers Education Secretary Michael Gove never sees this film, as its sequence extolling the nutritional values of excrement – accompanied by what one fervently hopes are faked scenes of North Korean school children tucking into ‘turd burgers’ – might inspire him to implement a novel, but disgusting, way of cutting expenditure on school dinners.
All in all, this is one film that really can’t be recommended, as it fails on just about every level, being neither sufficiently informative to qualify as a documentary, or entertaining enough to be a ‘Mondo’ movie. Ultimately, it’s just repulsive.