A few weeks ago I was treated to my very first screener courtesy of Jimmy Lee Combs, a very talented independent filmmaker from Colorado, whose full-length directorial debut feature, Hans Crippleton: Talk To The Hans, is sure to send shock waves through the horror community when it’s released later this year. Granted, Hans is not going to please everybody: In fact, it’s more than likely going to offend a few people with its transgressive humour and politically incorrect social brand of social commentary manifested through oddball characters. However, Hans doesn’t care about the boundaries of good taste: as a matter of fact it joyously stampedes through them like a crowd of hillbillies who procreate within their own gene pool should. To say this is a film with balls is an understatement; but as ridiculous as it may be – and ridiculous it is – Hans is also a film with brains, which the zombies really want to eat.
Hans Crippleton: Talk To The Hans is a difficult film to describe: I believe the psychological term for it is ”batshit crazy.” However, let me give you the simplest summary: It’s a mockumentary about a family of inbred backwoods hillbillies who are plagued by an ancient zombie curse. Their story peaks the interest of Barnaby Hunt (Andy Hankins), presenter of the supernatural show ”Horror Hunts”, a show which seeks out real life cases of the paranormal. The movie documents the cripple Hans (Kevon Ward) and his outrageous family as they discover the origins of the curse; all the while our protagonist undergoes a ”from rags to riches” rise to stardom, and self-destructive fall from grace.
There’s a scene within the opening 3 minutes of Hans where we witness a mother running around her garden, being chased by zombies, dragging her baby by the umbilical chord, that just so happens to still be attached to her womb. If that sounds like something that appeals to you, then you’re in for a treat for the following 97 minutes. This sets the tone for the rest of the film: a gleefully inappropriate romp that pays no attention to morals or good taste, and it does so in a fun, harmless way.
What I really loved about Hans was its irreverent satire, which poked fun at celebrity culture, reality television and conservative ethos. Furthermore, they even took shots at their haters on social media. It’s refreshing to see such a punk rock attitude from filmmakers: in an industry where most make movies to try and reach the largest audience possible, the team behind Hans are only interested in pleasing themselves and their fans. Kevon Ward (writer and star) is reminiscent of Lloyd Kauffman, Trey Parker and John Waters in a sense; they too defy conformity with discernible wit and hilarity. It’s going to offend people, but it’s going to offend with style.
As I said earlier, Jimmy Lee Combs is a filmmaker with a lot of talent and potential. Having already established himself as a director to watch out for with a number of diverse, critically acclaimed shorts, he took the reigns for Hans more than ready, and it shows. For a micro-budget feature, Hans has more than adequate production values, it’s incredibly well shot and it bursts at the seams with passion. The make-up is beautifully hideous, the effects are practical and there’s plenty of blood to please your sickening lust for the gruesome.
Watching Hans, I recalled my first time watching Braindead (1992) and Bad Taste (1987). Here’s a group of friends with a lot of talent, making a ridiculously fun film, that’s sure to resonate with future generations of fans of offbeat, dirty cinema for generations to come. 8/10
Stay tuned with my interview with director Jimmy Lee Combs!!!
Jimmy Lee Combs
Kevon Ward, Andy Hankins, Irene Leonard, Katie Bevard