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The Janitor DVD Review

Written by Peter West

DVD released by Elite Entertainment

Directed by TJ Nordaker and Andy Signore
Written by TJ Nordaker (story) and Andy Signore (screenplay)
2003, Region 1 (NTSC), 93 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on September 6th, 2005

Starring:
Andy Signore as Lionel
Bruce Cronander as Mr. Growbo
Crystal LeBard as Mary
Larry Butler as Mr. Bouillabaisse
Skip Pipo as Agent Page
John Carreon as Willis
Rachael Ann Bennett as Stacy
Kelly King as Bree
Stephanie Christine Medina as Glory
Chris Hall as Robert

Movie:

They're always around us, we usually never see them. They empty our trash, clean our bathrooms and generally do what we won't do for ourselves. We may ignore them or pretend they don't exist, what we should never do is disrespect them.

Lionel and Mr Growbo are custodians at the Generico Corporation and they're best friends as well. While Growbo accepts his place in life, Lionel want's more. That more is an office clerk named Hillary, whose husband recently passed away. While Lionel may get all tongue tied when in Hillary's presence, he sure doesn't hold back when someone pisses him off. The office has suffered a rash of murders of its employees and the FBI has been called in to investigate. While office employees are suspects, who would think it's one of the cleaners?

When his dream job of working in a girl's sorority house is dashed by betrayal, Lionel breaks a new guy into the business as he plans his revenge. Fighting his way through a maze of tits and ass, will the janitor get his revenge and his girl? Will he achieve his dream job of cleaning the sorority? You'll have to see The Janitor to find out!

Review:

Troma was the first to shock us with a homicidal janitor with The Toxic Avenger. Unlike good old Toxie, Lionel is far from the good guy! He's a homicidal maniac that kills anybody that gets in his way or upsets him. The Janitor is the first full length movie by the filmmaking pair of TJ Nordaker and Andy Signore. I got to speak today to Andy for a bit about the film. With TJ as being the horror guy Andy describes himself as the "comedy guy" of the two. It's that combination of horror and comedy which makes The Janitor work.

For an indie film The Janitor has an excellent cast. Andy feels both "proud and lucky" for the quality of the casting. You'll see in the making of documentary, that they worked pretty hard before production and for a "zero dollar" film their efforts were rewarded with actors who had actually worked before. Larry Butler, Crystal LeBard and Bruce Cronander to mention a few, really played their roles well! As Mr. Growbo, Cronander has a mild manner to him that would make you think of Don Knotts, except that he's a ex-marine that that is as cut-up as a man his age can get. Butler as the out of touch Mr. Bouillabaisse, the office manager at Generico Corporation, is fixed on studying up about STDs. Crystal Lebard as the dark eyed, brunette office vixen Mary just radiates raunchy sexuality. Combine them with Andy Signore's homicidal Lionel, it's a cast that gives one of the better performances in an indie film that I've seen in a long time.

If you're looking for blood and guts, The Janitor delivers. Not relying on CGI for special effects (which Andy hates as much as I do), they use the equivalent of a river in red gue! The last time I saw so much gore was in Nikos the Impaler, a legendary indie gorefest by Andreas Schnaas of Violent Shit fame. Speaking of Nikos they also have Lloyd Kaufman of Troma in for a cameo scene, good old Lloyd suffers a violent end as usual. Kaufman's "Make Your Own Damn Movie!" was used by Andy and TJ as a guide in making this film.

So for over the top gore, some damn good comedy (intentional and unintentional), some pretty steamy sex scenes (enough that I now have a thing for Crystal LeBard) and lots of bouncing boobies, you can't go wrong with The Janitor. I'm only giving you a taste of the gore with the snapshots, you'll have to watch the movie to see more. The total package of movie will make you overlook it's warts and blemishes, so enjoy a good old gory horror film loaded with laughs!

Video and Audio:

Filmed on DV, The Janitor is presented in an 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen presentation. Overall the picture is pretty good, there's a few issues with lighting being off, but considering this is the filmmaker's first film, it's forgivable. The colors are pretty vivid and with as much gore as The Janitor has, it's a sea of red! Elite has done a good job of transferring the movie to DVD.

The Janitor has a Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack. The film has original music by Adrian Burka that compliments the film well. There's some fun original songs including the main theme "You're gonna die!". Pretty decent first effort for the composer.

Special Features:

This is where Elite and the filmmakers have put together a great package. There's an approximately 60 minute documentary on the movie's production. It's an informative behind the scenes work on what it takes to make an indie film. The best pearl of wisdom is something they learned from Lloyd Kaufman, shoot all the sex scenes first. That way you're not too far into the film if they back out! Even if you're working on a zero dollar budget film like The Janitor, they're a lot that goes into it. I really enjoyed it.

There's also a full length running commentary where TJ Nordaker and Andy Signore perhaps have one too many... It's not a defect when you here some parts bleeped out. A little self censoring was done! Combine all of this with the original short The Office is Closed (which inspired the film) and a music video of "You're Gonna Die" with Willis (Lionel's new assistant). An alternate ending and deleted scenes round out the special features (look for Easter eggs though) in this jam packed DVD. I wish the major studios would give us what more and more indie producers are doing now with the extras!

Grades:

 
Movie: 4 Stars
Video: 3.5 Stars
Audio: 3.5 Stars
Features: 5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.

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