Wicked WorldOverview -
Fill your brain with 90’s Canadian nihilism and pulp insanity with the trash classic Wicked World. This follow-up to the underground hit Things from director Barry Gillis sees a psychopath reliving his kills while stuck in a mental hospital. Full of violence, sleaze, and monologuing, the film is a compelling departure from reality. AGFA and Bleeding Skull bring the film to Blu-ray with a respectable A/V package, two cuts of the film, and 90 minutes of special features. For Fans Only.
In 1989, filmmaker Barry J. Gillis and friends renewed the world’s faith in Canada with the horror brainbomb known as THINGS. But that was only the beginning. WICKED WORLD is not only Gillis’ 1991 follow-up to THINGS—it’s also a new form of genre anarchy. Grant Ekland (Gillis) is a cop who is haunted by the death of his girlfriend at the hands of a psychotic slasher named Harold. When Harold is released from an asylum, there’s only one option for Ekland: revenge! Filled with metal riffage, gnarly ultra-violence, and experimental techniques, WICKED WORLD feels like what would happen if Salvador Dali injected acid directly into his brain while staring at a Cannibal Corpse LP cover. This is a highly personal treatise on the toxicity of society from one of the most singular filmmakers in trash-horror history.
directed by: Barry Gillis
starring: Patti Anne Crossman, Maria Delgado, Kelly Felhaber
1991 / 103 min / 1.33:1 / English Stereo
• Region Free Blu-ray
• Original 1991 version preserved from the 3/4” video master
• 2019 director’s cut
• REALITY: THE MAKING OF WICKED WORLD, a full length documentary
• Video essay: A TRIBUTE TO EDDIE PLATT
• Video essay: TOMORROW’S DREAM
• Marshall Law video
• Original trailer
Purchase Original Edition From Vinegar Syndrome.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
“Nurse Latino you are a sick person.”
Grant Ekland (Gillis) is a cop with a grudge seeking revenge. His girlfriend was murdered by serial killer Harold who is getting released from a mental institution. Now in a vegetative state Harold ruminates on his kills with a running monologue while his nurse pushes him around the hospital grounds. While narrating his “book” Harold develops his story which involves numerous scenes of grisly deaths and sleazy encounters. Bouncing around in time the killer amuses himself detailing his victims and creating the cop character who must die for his actions.
Wicked World is unlike anything you’ve ever seen (unless you’re an AGFA fanatic). It’s an incoherent mess of exposition funneled through the cozy narration of a madman who hates slides. His meandering philosophies provide justification for the onslaught of ultra-violence he visits upon his unsuspecting victims. Dialogue exchanges have an utterly bizarre delivery like an operator reading from the phonebook. While the cardboard characters mill about our killer waxes poetic about the evils of political correctness and his hatred for life.
Gillis crafts a mean-spirited, nihilistic film without momentum but plenty of tension to build the bizarre collection of scenes to a point. His first feature Things gained a huge cult following in the late 80s from trash enthusiasts discovering the next bad movie to champion. This surge in popularity motivated Gillis to start work on the follow-up centered around a Toronto serial killer.
When combined with the VHS video editing of the 16mm film Wicked World becomes a half-remembered nightmare. For me the non-linear timeline paired with the drudge of Harold’s narration tested my patience often. The constant use of musical cues further ramps up the atmosphere of the film making the whole effort seem like Gillis is straight-up threatening the audience at every turn. Gillis wears his heavy metal influence on his sleeve dropping tracks into the murder sprees and quoting Black Sabbath lyrics in the text inserts. The whole feature has this angsty teenager vibe which works surprisingly well.
Wicked World is a trashy and violent masterpiece tailored for a midnight movie crowd. Full of non-sequitur dialogue, bizarre editing, and surreal violence the film is a veritable treasure trove of bad movie tropes. I’d double feature this with the recent AGFA release of Final Flesh to ensure every synapse in your brain has been rattled to death.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Wicked World finds home on All Region Blu-ray thanks to AGFA and Bleeding Skull. The disc is housed in a transparent keep case with reversible artwork. Loading the disc presents logos before landing on the Main Menu screen. Scenes from the film play behind the no-so-typical navigation options. My advice? Select Start the Rampage!
This reissue of Wicked World on Blu-ray presents the film in its original 1.33:1 which was shot on 16mm but edited on video. The 1080p HD image is fuzzy with mild grain patterns evident. Colors are muddy in most sequences though reds and blues are strong. Fine detail isn’t prevalent. However, this lo-fi aesthetic combined with the frantic and surreal editing techniques render a presentation that is all vibes and little detail.
The director’s cut on the disc offers an updated presentation with new CGI effects and an HD image scrubbed to death with a DNR pass eliminating what film grain was present. This version may be slightly improved in other areas but the image quality takes a nosedive. Thankfully you get the opportunity to take each version for a spin and decide for yourself.
Wicked World arrives on Blu-ray with a serviceable DTS-HD 2.0 stereo track. Dialogue exchanges and the narration sound like they were post-recorded in an echo chamber. Most of the exchanges are clearly presented but run through strange filters to achieve a disorienting effect. Music and effects are surreal and terrifying. Tracks are peppered throughout the feature with most so soft you can barely tell they’re playing. The indie metal tunes are mixed in with some eerie synth work making the soundtrack an eclectic mix of raw sounds that are oddly compelling. English subtitles are available.
AGFA and Bleeding Skull load this release with plenty for fans of the film to enjoy. The Director's Cut isn't a departure from the original but is worth checking out. Start with the behind-the-scenes featurette then Tomorrow's Dream before tackling the Director's Cut.
- 2019 Director’s Cut (HD 100:00) Gillis makes a few edits here including additional visual effects, adjusting audio issues, a heavy DNR scrub, and altering the quotes presented before and after the feature. Overall this cut isn’t wildly different from the theatrical but the audio track offers a slightly improved experience.
- Reality: Behind the Scenes of Wicked World (HD 60:00) A feature-length odyssey by Barry J. Gillis!
- Music Video: Excited by Marshall Law (HD 5:18)
- Original Trailer (HD 1:58)
- Tribute to Eddie Platt (HD 2:20) Eddie’s son Stuart pays tribute to his father’s iconic role as Harold in the film.
- Tomorrow’s Dream: The Legacy of Barry J. Gillis (HD 23:50) Gillis goes through his process of re-editing Wicked World and details his five upcoming projects.
Wicked World weasels its way into your brain with psychedelic non-sequiturs powered by a ranting lunatic. Gillis' film is a sleazy mess that is strangely magnetic. Unfortunately too much of this braindump feels forced making no more than an experimental funhouse ripe for midnight movie mayhem. AGFA and Bleeding Skull reissue the film on Blu-ray with a respectable A/V package given the source material’s limitations. For Fans Only.
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