From Brian Kelley–“I’m a big fan of well-excuted micro-budget horror films. Sadly, there are very few. However, a few years back I somehow (the details are fuzzy) got in contact with the director of THE JANITOR after seeing the awesome looking trailer. He sent us a pre-release copy and the Horror Movie Night crew ate it up. It’s hilarious and gore filled in all the right ways. I truly hope Damon agrees that it’s a silly fun time.”
Not entirely sure how The Janitor escaped my radar, but it had. The cover looks vaguely familiar but that’s about the extent of my knowledge on this horror comedy effort. In watching I found that what you get is a pretty fun ride with some exaggerated characters, plenty of gore, and a few laughs.
Lionel (Andy Signore) is one of the custodians in an office building full of filthy people. He cleans up the messes left behind by the rude employees and lives in a small supply closet. Every day he pines for one of the female workers and will do anything to get a shot with her – and I do mean anything. This janitor also has a bit of a dark side. Lionel has a problem with his temper and bloodlust to kill those who cross him, or those who are just in his presence at the wrong time. For 90 minutes you follow him as he kills and readies himself for the big promotion to working full time in a local sorority house.
This is not a film with a large Hollywood budget. Some of the production values and overall look of the film aren’t what you would find in a major studio release, but that’s not always a bad thing. In studio movies you don’t always get crazy amounts of gore, plenty of T-N-A (which happens to be the letters of the sorority), and some dirty, dirty humor. Plenty of the jokes here in some way have to do with sex and we Americans know how taboo that can be. Sigh. Whether it’s Lionel’s boss who is constantly reading/talking about STDs or our hero decapitating a prostitute as he climaxes from oral sex, there is plenty here for the adult crowd. And be honest, who hasn’t wanted to cut off their partner’s head in the heat of the moment?
There are also a few moments of gross out humor, the most notorious involving a large semen sample taken from the severed head’s mouth. Lionel and his mentor Mr. Growbo (Bruce Cronander) have to do whatever is necessary to get rid of the janitor’s seed and replace it with someone else’s essence. You’ll laugh; you’ll feel your lunch creep up in your throat. It’s quite a scene.
When it comes to the killing, this movie rarely disappoints. The bearded broom pusher dispatches a varied array of killing techniques. Whether it’s setting someone on fire, plunging their face, or disemboweling the mailroom boy, he takes pride in his work. This all leads up to a very bloody final sequence that is filled with as much laughter as blood. Okay, maybe there’s a little more blood.
Signore not only stars in this film but he co-wrote and co-directed this with TJ Nordaker. Together they achieved a very Troma-like vibe, though it was eventually released by Elite. This is not a bad thing. It feels much more like the good Troma films actually made by the company, rather than some of the dreck they distribute. Low budget indie god Lloyd Kaufman even makes a cameo appearance as a drunken bum who gets his arms ripped off by Lionel. Another great cameo moment comes near the end when comedian, actor, and World Champion Judah Friedlander appears to hit on teenage girls.
I get that this type of movie is not for everyone. Most every aspect is over-the-top, from acting to script, but those of us who like to watch the occasional absurdly fun film will definitely find something to enjoy. The Janitor is highly entertaining and makes the most of its low budget constraints. In the end you will have a good time and be left with the urge to clean your toilet – and that’s never a bad thing.