On an island “somewhere” off the English coast (but obviously Cornwall), farmer Gyles MacDonald opts for a spot of drunken bestiality with his goat, the end result being Billy- half man, half beast. Shunned as a freak by his own father, the goat-child turns feral, only to return much later to wreak his revenge on the family that turned against him.
Doing nothing for the image of Westcountry folk as dim-witted inbred’s, Revenge of Billy the Kid similarly upholds the British cinematic tradition of bawdy humour and self-deprecating mockery. With the British heritage of the gothic and anthology horror genres made famous by such institutions as Hammer and Amicus long gone, the 80’s and early 90’s dipped into the international move toward gross-out, in this instance heavily tinged with our own special brand of saucy mirth.
As a general rule of thumb you can pretty much rely on Medusa Pictures to bring you something gloriously terrible, and they certainly haven’t bucked their own trend here. “The dirtiest film in the history of British cinema” says Fear, and I don’t doubt that as this film proves itself to be utterly filthy in every respect. With a tone very reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s early work, Revenge of Billy the Kid is minimal budget ridiculousness. With its vile tale of one freaks revenge against its maker, this highly original comedy-horror bears witness to one of the most repulsive families to ever grace the screen. Playing like a more revoltingly incestuous version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre family, they are proof that the family that lays together stays together. Nauseating, abhorrent and absolutely loathsome in every single way possible, the MacDonald’s are shunned by the mainlanders, and they’re not quite right either. The link to the mainland is mostly seen through the love story between MacDonald daughter Ronnie (Samantha Perkins) and shop keeper's son Lance Allot (Dean Williamson), a love forbidden on both sides and in a horribly comic Jackson-esque fashion, is repulsive in its own way. Though Lance must prove to be Ronnie’s knight in shining armour in the style of a hero in a heavy nod to another horror great.
Yes, this is horror for the fans by the fans territory and that is always heart-warming to me. There’s nothing that gives you that Readybrek glow like knowing that all the bloody unpleasantness is by someone who’s as passionate about it as you are. Though Billy is more comedy than horror. Despite the majority of the comedy being derived from the unbelievably foul MacDonald clan, it manages to maintain a constant level rather than burn itself out with over the top caricatures and childish humour, helped in part by Michael Balfour’s spot-on performance as questionable parent Gyles MacDonald. Most of the horror comes towards the end of the film as Billy, a silly and grotesque creation, wreaks his revenge. This is mostly done to some comic amounts of fog and dramatic lighting and, whilst it is enjoyably silly, would have been better suited to a more Braindead level of outrageous bloodshed. That said you can’t really deconstruct this film into negative’s and positives. It’s wholly disgusting and offensive on every level and you’ll either love it or hate it, and I absolutely loved it. A brave and unusual film that does a certain justice to the British contribution of contemporary horror, albeit in our own questionable way.
A tasteless but oh so enjoyable slice of British comedy-horror. Evil Dead it certainly isn’t, but more the rare thing of a super low budget delight.