Director Jim Groom’s 1992 cult oddity REVENGE OF BILLY THE KID remains criminally underappreciated. A shame, really, because it’s a bracingly demented film bursting with the same black humor and feverish glee that marks the early works of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson.
On an isolated British farm drunken farmer Old MacDonald lives with his comedically filthy, ignorant (and possibly inbred) family. After a whiskey-enabled dalliance with a goat–an act mercifully depicted off-camera–Old MacDonald finds himself a father once again, when the goat gives birth to a freakshly cute goat-boy. Billy, as he’s dubbed, doesn’t get along well with much of his new clan–good for us, as this sets up a grisly killing spree once he grows up into a towering hulk of horned vengeance.
REVENGE OF BILLY THE KID’s humor is crude and broad but effective, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. The creature effects by Neill Gorton and Steve Painter (who’d go on to handle the gore for the Omaha Beach sequence in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) are raw and unpolished but still compliment the scruffy nature of the film, and Billy’s a sight to behold. The cast, featuring no one I’ve seen before or since, take their roles lauably over-the-top–even when one of the actors is replaced near the film’s midsection with little notice.
Like a lot of deliriously inspired films BILLY flounders a bit in its second act, padding out the running time to feature length, but it’s bracketed by such gleeful depravity that it’s more than worth checking out. Fans of both Britcoms and splatter flicks should check it out.