Archive for the ‘David Nutter’ Category

disturbing

Freaks all week.

Most kids of my generation, (late eighties/ early nineties) couldn’t wait for Friday nights to come around. It was the start of the weekend, two days school free, one of which was reserved for sitting in front of the idiot box munching Cap’n Crunch, while absorbing Saturday morning cartoons, and the other bumming around with our friends playing Goldeneye, street hockey, and trading comic books. It was also when ABC aired their TGIF lineup, with shows like Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Step by Step, and Teen Angel, you know the hip, family friendly shit they thought we actually enjoyed.

I was not most kids. Friday night for me meant heading to my grandmother’s house to watch the X-Files, a series that terrified, and fascinated me, and still stands as one of my favourites of all time.

Created by fellow canucklehead Chris Carter, X-Files was the perfect blend of science fiction, camp and horror, and a revolutionary show that launched the careers of many popular names in the industry.

One such name, David Nutter went on to find success directing pilots, and episodes for other popular shows such as Millenium, (another Chris Carter series) Band of Brothers, Supernatural, Arrow, Shameless, The Flash, and probably the most well known, the infamous season three episode of Game of Thrones, The Rains of Castamere.

In 1997, Nutter directed his first Hollywood film, (before then his work in film had been limited to direct-to-video features such as Trancers) the Scott Rosenberg penned, Disturbing Behavior.

The film is essentially the Stepford Wives for the Kevin Williamson generation, and follows high-school senior Steve Clark, who, after moving to the picturesque coastal town of Cradle Bay, discovers the town’s clique, the Blue Ribbons, are mind-controlled teens who’ve taken part in program led by school psychologist Dr. Caldecott, and berserker rage every time they get turned on.

Disturbing Behavior has all the nasty cliches of the late nineties horror film: troubled teens played by a cast of A-list twenty-something’s, (in this case Nick Stahl, James Marsden, and Katie Holmes) consisting of the bad-girl, the intellectual-stoner, and the reluctant hero, an alt-rock soundtrack, and more edginess than Sonic the hedgehog dual-wielding dual-bladed lightsabers.

What makes this movie interesting isn’t the fact that it’s a moving billboard of all that was hilariously wrong with the nineties, but rather it’s troubled history. After submitting a version of the film that Nutter likened to a feature-length Monster-of-the-week episode of the X-Files, MGM basically shredded it like an eight-ball of blow at a Charlie Sheen house-party, reducing it to the 83 minute monstrosity released in theatres that was so bad, Nutter wanted to have his name removed from the credits.

I’ve seen the fan-made cut of the film circulating the interwebs, (which is supposedly closer to Nutter’s original vision) and it’s much better. It’s still more nineties than an Image comic book illustrated by Rob Liefeld, with dialogue written by Will Smith, but most of the issues ascertaining to the plot, and lack of character development are ironed out.

Despite all its flaws there are a few aspects of the film that are enjoyable, namely the eerie, and atmospheric music composed by another legendary X-Files alumni Mark Snow, which is way better than the movie deserves, and a brilliantly hammy performance by the always enjoyable, William Sadler.

As it stands, Disturbing Behavior is a curio that falls into the, so bad it’s good, category of films. It’s a shame we’ll never see Nutter’s director’s cut of the film, because somewhere, hidden beneath all the nostalgic nineties refuse, and Hollywood tampering is what could have been an interesting film.