“Look at me. I’m a big fucking idiot!”, my wife sarcastically mocks me, as I make this morning’s coffee.
She wasn’t being mean; she was quoting our favorite line from Troma’s Hectic Knife.
If you don’t already know, I enjoy many of the classic Troma films. It’s rare that one of their new films piques my interest enough to dedicate an hour or more of my life to watching it. Hectic Knife was no different. But then…
It wasn’t until after I spoke to Greg DeLiso, the director, through the official Hectic Knife Twitter account that I genuinely wanted to watch it. DeLiso seemed very genuine and proud of his work; he was happy to have another viewer.
I love when films, good or bad, are created with heart and dedication. DeLiso had my attention and I figured I’d give it a fair shot.
After all, Greg DeLiso (director, co-writer) and Peter Litvin (star, co-writer) worked on Hectic Knife from 2010-2016 creating this bastardization of film. Someone needs to watch it.
Just how good of a Troma film could 2 inexperienced filmmakers, 6 years of their lives wasted, and $15,000-20,0000 make?
REVIEW HECTIC KNIFE, ALREADY!
Let’s get this out of the way…
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!
Within the first minute or two, both my wife and I were laughing out loud; seriously LOL-ing at the terrible delivery of the terrible dialog. It was hilarious because it was meta, self-aware, and didn’t give a fuck.
I wasn’t sucked into the characters or plot as much as the idea of “how far and how silly will they go?”
IT’S TROMA. DOES IT HAVE A PLOT?
Hectic Knife tells the story of a lovable loser, albeit hero of the streets of New York City, named Hectic Knife (Peter Litvin).
Yes. The character’s name is “Hectic Knife”. It’s really his name. They sort of explain it, but not really. Just shitty parenting, I guess.
Back to the plot…
Hectic spends all of his time saving citizens from baddies. His method of justice?
Stabbing the shit out of the criminals with his two knives.
As Hectic goes through his daily routine of slaughtering bad guys and saving hookers, he begins to question why he does what he does.
Not unlike in the movies Superman 2 and Spider-man 3, Hectic deals with the struggles superheroes often go through.
(Yeah. I compared Hectic to Superman and Spider-man. Wanna fight about it?)
What’s his purpose? Is it all worth it?
Hectic Knife deals with his existential crisis for all of 45 seconds or so. His best friend Harry simply reminds him that it’s worth it and life is normal again..
I’m not joking when I say he questions the purpose of his life and resolves it in under a minute. Seriously, under a minute.
After disposing of some criminals who like drugs (they let you know they like drugs), Hectic Knife discovers the business card of “Piggly Doctor, Professional Baddy”.
We now have our antagonist.
Pretty straight forward, isn’t it?
“I’m Piggly Doctor. I’m the villain.” That’s real dialog in this turd of a film.
Hectic Knife now has to find and eliminate the big baddy, while dealing with a new girlfriend and roommate, friends being murdered, and having flashbacks to his training in India, 25 years ago.
Wait a minute!
How old is Hectic?
He trained in India 25 years ago and He fought alongside Harry in ‘Nam.
He doesn’t look that old. Maybe thirty.
So, if Hectic is 30-ish, did he fight in ‘Nam as a baby?
When they flashback to his training, he looks the same age. What the…?
I can only suspend by disbelief for so long, guys.
Where was I? Oh…
Will Hectic find Piggly Doctor?
And battle him to the death?
Is the suspense killing you?
Yes and yes. Hectic finds Piggly Doctor. He then kills him.
Meh. It’s a hero movie. What else could happen?
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT HECTIC KNIFE
Hectic Knife has a lot to like.
When working with such a small budget, filmmakers can’t always follow the rule of “show, don’t tell”. DeLiso and Litvin got around this by making Hectic Knife very, self-aware and full of characters that simply spew exposition at the audience. The characters deliver their exposition in a dry, straight forward manner, subverting typical screenwriting.
When I say “spew exposition”, I really mean it. They quite literally tell you their backstories, actions, and intentions in the film.
“I’m killing you. Now you’re killing me.”
“Look at this. This is your skin. Look at this. This is your tendon. Watch this. I’m pulling your tendon.”
Even more exposition was thrown in the audience’s face through simple labels. Often, handwritten labels appear on things.
Is that a candy bar? Yep. It says “CANDY BAR” on it.
Are those bills? Yes. It clearly says “BILL” on the envelope.
The characters don’t stop at direct exposition. They often break the “fourth wall”, meaning they talk to the camera/audience. They do it to the point that if there was a “fifth wall”, they would have shattered that, too.
Most lines delivered by Peter Litvin are dry, lifeless, and monotone, adding to the already bad acting throughout the movie. In a weird, meta way, it adds a charm to Hectic Knife, the character.
Come to think of it, everyone over-acted.
Litvin’s bad acting had to be intentional, as I’ve seen how charismatic he is in his music videos.
Oh, yeah. Livtin scored the entire film, too. He’s a fairly accomplished musician. Check him out on YouTube.
DeLiso and Litvin hammer some jokes into the ground. Like, seriously keep at the same joke for a ridiculous amount of time.
It’s almost vomit-inducing.
But in a good way.
Remember that time on Family Guy when Peter Griffin fell down and hurt his knee? He keeps wobbling back and forth, loudly breathing in and out. It goes on for, what seems like, forever. It eventually gets funny again.
Hectic Knife takes it a step further by beating a dead horse to the point that it soul leaves its body, they the soul, rape it, and beat it to death again.
I know some people hate that style of humor, but I dig it.
Speaking of long, drawn out drivel…
THE BAGEL SCENE!
I kept reading about the damn bagel scene. I was worried that it would ruin bagels for me, but thankfully it wasn’t what I thought it’d be. I won’t ruin it, though. It’s something that you have to see on your own.
I prefer to call the “bagel scene” something like “four ninety-nine”. Watch it. You’ll understand.
Was that a Home Alone reference?
Throughout Hectic Knife, I managed to catch references to other films. Not only was there a Home Alone reference, but I also picked up on Troll 2 and some Monty Python. I can’t be sure of the MP, but I would guess the duo behind the movie have seen a few MP movies.
I don’t want to give away all the details of Hectic Knife, but it has a bit of everything.
Badass fight choreography? Check!
Stop motion animation? Check!
A song out of nowhere? Check!
Mind-blowing special effects used to regenerate limbs? Check!
Finally, one of the best parts of the movie is the end credits. The Hectic Knife characters and director Greg DeLiso appear in a wrap party. The actors are in and out of character, making references to the how bad the movie is, scenes they are in (“Remember when…?), and so on.
The close of the movie has its charm and shows that the creators have a sense of humor about what they made.
Hectic Knife leaves the audience with a good taste in their mouths.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT HECTIC KNIFE
Clearly, I enjoyed this movie. Hectic Knife isn’t without flaw, though.
There are a few times when the pacing felt really off. I can’t remember the exact scene, but somewhere in the middle of the movie, I started realizing I was watching a movie. That was short-lived and I was back to laughing, soon after.
The girlfriend introducing herself joke didn’t click for me. It’s one of those jokes that they drag out and for whatever reason, it grated on me.
My least favorite part of the film is the final, climactic battle. It was a final battle, but definitely not anything spectacular. I laughed a few times, but It just fizzled out. The movie somewhat apologizes as the credits start to roll.
THE VERDICT ON HECTIC KNIFE
You might be thinking: “Should I watch Hectic Knife? Is it worth my time?”
If you’re thinking that after reading my Hectic Knife review, then there must be something wrong with your brain… which means OF COURSE YOU SHOULD WATCH IT!
Hectic Knife is in no way a masterpiece.
Seriously, it’s bad.
Like, REALLY bad.
In the context of the budget, genre of film, and creators’ intentions, Hectic Knife is an awesome, gory, good time!
(Feel free to quote that, guys *wink* *wink*).
I would bet money that if this movie got into the right hands, it could become a cult classic.
Hectic Knife has everything that makes a good cult film:
- Extremely quotable
- Over-the-top schlock
- Great physical humor
- Heart and genuine effort from the creators
I could see screenings of this film having props and audience participation. Bagels, rubber knives, candy bars, and orange Tic-Tacs would make for some fun interaction.
Hell, costumes would probably only cost you $4.99.
Greg DeLiso claims to have never watched Troma films in the past, but I almost find it hard to believe because this is the best non-Troma Troma film I’ve seen in a long time.
Non-Troma Troma films are an actual thing. Remember Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Cannibal! The Musical? That was one.
Do you like Troma? How about over-the-top gore? Dumb dialog? Terrible acting? So-bad-it’s-good movies?
Then Hectic Knife is for you!
Seriously. Click the damn button on your mouse or remote and watch it.
If you really want to support the Hectic Knife filmmakers, buy the Blu-ray. I’m sure that pays both them and Troma more money.
If you prefer watching your Troma movies how God intended, hit up them up on Twitter and see if they still have any of their limited edition VHS copies left.
WANT MORE HECTIC KNIFE?
Watch the trailer. You’ll love it. If not, you need to say to yourself, “Look at me. I’m a big fucking idiot!”
The trailer does Hectic Knife no justice. It’s much better than this.
How about some trivia? Everybody likes trivia.
Hectic Knife Trivia From IMDB
Because of the minimal, out-of-pocket, budget Peter Litvin and Greg DeLiso wrote scripts on Wednesdays, Peter would produce the next weeks shoot and they would shoot scenes the following Monday. Peter and Greg did this for over a dozen Mondays straight.
All of the stop motion animation in the movie was created by director, Greg DeLiso in his parents’ basement. (What a loser!)
Peter Litvin composed, recorded and performed the original score for Hectic Knife himself at a recording studio in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which just happens to be the same studio used by Detroit rap group, ICP.
The entire movie was created on a whim after Peter Litvin hired Greg DeLiso to “create any short film I want.” Hectic Knife was just one of many shorts the two created back in the spring of 2010 but eventually became a feature-length production when they both fell in love with the footage they had so far.
The original rough cut was 1 hour, 54 minutes and was created in only two weeks.
Most importantly, the “Wilhelm Scream” was not used in the movie. imdb.com
How about links to more Hectic Knife stuff?
** Want director Greg DeLiso’s home address and which bushes to hide in to best watch him sleep? How about some nude photos of him? Hit me up on Twitter and ask! **