The biggest winner at this year’s Blood in the Snow festival was the crowd-pleaser Bloody Knuckles by writer/director Matt O’Mahoney, which won over audiences and took home the “Bloodies” awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Special FX. This offensive and hilarious horror/comedy draws inspiration from severed-hand classics like Evil Dead II and Idle Hands, leaning heavily on the side of raunchy humour and gross-out gags – a point which becomes clear right off the bat thanks to an extremely politically-incorrect intro and animated credits sequence. While certainly not for all audiences (particularly those with weak stomachs or high standards), Bloody Knuckles is a confident and assured effort that earns big laughs with a fun concept, and feels destined to become a cult classic.
Travis (Adam Boys) is an underground comic book artist whose claim to fame is a series called Vulgarian Invasions which depicts some of the most vile and offensive imagery imaginable, and has earned him a bunch of adoring fans. For his newest issue, Travis targets Chinatown businessman Leonard Fong (Kasey Ryne Mazak) who just so happens to run a criminal gang in his spare time. After seeing the issue, Fong kidnaps Travis and removes his right hand as punishment for the offence, putting his comic series on hold and sending him into an alcoholic depression. But his problems are only just beginning as it turns out his severed hand has miraculously returned to life with a desire to “reconnect” and seek revenge on Fong and his crew, not to mention bring the comic series back from the dead (so to speak). All of this collides in an epic finale filled to the brim with gore and depravity.
Bloody Knuckles is the perfect type of film to screen at a festival like this, benefitting from a large audience of fans where its contagious energy can spread and elevate the experience to another level. O’Mahoney has found that perfect balance of horror and comedy, maintaining a light and sarcastic tone while delivering all the blood and gore that fans will expect. The film’s strongest asset, however, remains it’s inventive script, which throws a wide collection of creative ideas into the mix instead of leaning too heavily on its central premise to carry the film. Many of these stem from the comic series itself, such as the fictional-turned-actual character of Homo Dynamous (Dwayne Bryshun), who emerges as an unlikely show-stealer in the later stages of the story thanks in no small part to his expert head-crushing skills. The special effects are also top notch considering the film’s modest budget, using some very creative practical methods to depict the severed hand while also giving it a sense of character and personality at the same time.
Of all the films that screened at Blood in the Snow this year, Bloody Knuckles was the biggest surprise hit, delivering far more than expected by its premise thanks to some sharp writing and tight direction. It was created with a very specific fan-base in mind, and while its off-the-wall concept and offensive subject matter will prevent it from appealing to the masses on a larger scale, it is sure to satisfy a whole lot of horror fans looking for a fun late-night option at their next movie night.