Equal parts gore, surrealism and comedy make up Breaking Glass Picturesâ€™ â€œThe Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistolâ€, which when combined with the movieâ€™s tragic â€œWTF???â€ ending form a loosely-wound web of ridiculousness. But in a good way, of course.
The movie presents the life of Tommy Pistol, a bumbling everyman that couldnâ€™t catch a break with a baseball glove. Things start unraveling for him personally, and as he unwinds with some good olâ€™ fashion porn his lucid state allows his brain to project a series of three ludicrous scenarios, all with him as the lead. Each of the three dream-like stories show a different (and increasingly disturbing) side of the movie businessâ€¦.and how Tommy can survive in this world. Whether portraying a fresh-off-the-bus naÃ¯ve rube new to the underground LA scene, an overzealous extra, or a sleazy porn director, Pistol seems to be at peace with his role in this dark universe. Of course, a wrench in the cog of these daydreams rears its head, in the form of an allusive, puss-filled (and zombie-creating) spider that spins the movie full-circle. The repetitive mind-fucking image of a hot dog in a microwave then begins to make sense, and makes the title inevitable.
Starting to make sense yet? Probably notâ€¦..but itâ€™s a story that you have to see played out before you can even think of making heads-or-tails of it all. The entire movie pushes a sense of innocence, but also has no clear path or obvious destination for the majority of the action. The ending does have a sick sort of redeeming value, both to Tommy and more importantly, to the viewer. How you feel after watching it will vary, but at the very least you will be given a finality that is hard to argue with. The fact that director Aramis Sartorio splices in some well-placed family-themed home video montages will connect you to both Tommyâ€™s psyche and his torment. I mean letâ€™s face itâ€¦â€¦the title gives away the ending. But at least they mess with you as much as possible first.
The gore level, although it takes a while, is bloody and funny enough to make Lloyd Kaufman smile, if not blush. In many ways the splatter effect ambitiously tries to rival the Hostel films, but in reality is more likely mocking it. A particularly laughable (and completely random) gag involves cutting the skin off of a former bodybuilding Hollywood behemoth (turned California governor), and proceeding to go on a slapstick-y murderous rampage in this makeshift â€œdisguiseâ€. How can you not love a premise like that?
As the movie progresses, and Tommy Pistolâ€™s characters keep zigging and zagging, itâ€™s easy to see why he has such a cult following in both the porn and horror communities. He has a likeable disposition, and a natural sense of comedic timing. The film, while uneven, is both funny and bloody, campy and touching. The Troma-level action and pace will ultimately please this particular niche audience, while leaving others scratching their heads in both disbelief and revulsion. The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol wonâ€™t win any mainstream awards, but it can easily earn a distinction for being an underground darling.