Hectic Knife

 Hectic Knife

by Sherif Awad
Watching this new horror/comedy brought back memories of the mid 1980s when I first rented from a Cairo video club a VHS copy of The Toxic Avenger. During that period, I was only familiar with studio films that came to our Egyptian mainstream cinema theaters and quite unfamiliar with the notion of American independent cinema, especially the roots of its horror, fantasy and sci-fi films.
Troma Entertainment, who is currently distributing Hectic Knife on Blu-rays across the United States is, by the way, a leading entity in the latter genres.
It was founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in back in 1974 creating cult films like the aforementioned Toxic Avenger and its sequels in addition to many more genre films. After not hearing about Troma for a while, I came across their back catalog floating back on YouTube. In fact, starting from the year 2012, the company officially released many of its cult films that exceed a 1,000 for free viewing on their official YouTube channel.

And now let’s go back to Hectic Knife which the name of the film’s main character. As played by Peter Litvin, Knife is a not so smart vigilante with long blond hair who walks the streets of the city killing criminals, drug dealers and thugs using his two knives. But after years of doing so, maybe 25 years after he was qualified by a great teacher, Knife became broker from playing the hero. And so he decides to look for a roommate, but he ends up with the less smarter Link (John Munnelly). After saving a blond girl called Frannie (Georgia Kate Haege) who immediately moves in with him as his girlfriend,  Knife meets his match in the form of another blond villain called Piggly Doctor, played by J.J. Brine.


Hectic Knife is a great spoof of the vigilante genres… Accidentally, it is a genre that Hollywood’s major studios currently try to revive with the recent remake of Death Wish starring Bruce Willis that I watched few days ago and also the two Equalizer films now starring Denzel Washington.
From a technical view, the film is mostly shot in Black and White with the rarely used aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (Sometimes used by arthouse directors like the Polish-born Pawel Pawlikowski in his 2013 acclaimed and award-winning drama Ida). The filmmakers used a Panasonic AG-DVX100 which gives Hectic Knide an older feel of 8mm grainy aesthetics while also reflecting its low-budget (or perhaps no budget) on the screen. However, the co-screenwriter Peter Litvi and the writer-director Greg DeLiso succeeded to come up with their own breakthrough in the genre with a mix of funny dialogue lines and improvising performances from most of the co-stars.
I recommend this film to viewer who want to discover indie horror films mixed with humor, a genre that initiated the careers of mainstream film like Sam Raimi starting with his Evil Dead trilogy to his Spider-Man trilogy. Like Marvel’s films, the ending credits suggest that we will get some kind of a sequel.

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