If Looks Could Kill, Then Death Would Be My Name
A Retrospective of Bruiser
Between the years 1993 and 2000, Romero was not forgotten, though he was on a unwanted hiatus at that time. In spite of a few box office flops, he didn’t stop trying to get back into the horror scene.
During that hiatus, projects he was attached to, such as Resident Evil, The Mummy, and The Stand, were stuck in development hell. Unfortunately, for Romero, none of these projects came to fruition; instead they went to other directors who had great success with them at the box office. After a few failed attempts he made a film, but to this day it hasn’t received the recognition it deserves.
Bruiser is a horror story about dignity and pride. Henry Creedlow is a man that doesn’t want to fall short of his expectations. He tries his hardest for his wife, boss, and friends on a consistent basis. Henry is a good guy and people know tha. However, they always take advantage of him . One day, Henry wakes up and realizes that his face is gone and replaced with a white canvas. No texture, no structure, it’s just white. Nothing. It’s more than his face that’s gone, it’s his identity, too. Henry soon realizes that the only way to regain everything back is to make the wrong things right and finally stand up for himself. Once he does that, he regains his pride, well-being, and his identity back. It will just take a few deaths to achieve this status.
In 2000, Bruiser was released but it suffered horribly due to the fact that it lacked promotion and was only released in Canada at the time. By the time it got to the states, it was pirated and being sold illegally at conventions throughout the world. Sadly, by the time it had a wide release, it was a too late and this marked another failure for Romero. Even when torrenting wasn’t around, bootlegging VHS and DVD’s were the main source of trading among horror enthusiasts and this is a prime example on how these types of things can harm a film.
In 2002, Bruiser was widely released on VHS and DVD and could be found at most retailers and rental stores. After it’s release in the US, the film still suffered with the majority of the people looking at the cover and thinking it was another ripoff of Halloween because of the white mask on the front. Early 2000’s weren’t the best times for DTV (Direct-To-Video) flicks anyway and most big rental stores only received one or two copies on DVD and maybe one copy of a VHS tape.
Long story short, Bruiser was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
A lot of little films like this suffered during this time and didn’t really get noticed until later in life and some even achieved cult status later down the line. We didn’t have Redbox or Netflix, so a ton of little indies just collected dust on shelves.
Bruiser was a surprise because most directors that have a “rebirth” after their career has died down, their films aren’t that great or don’t even generate any positive buzz. Romero never changed as a filmmaker though. Even with Bruiser it points back to Romero and his social commentary that he weaves into his films. Just like Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead and even continued in Land Of The Dead; Romero has something to say about the world and the people in it through his films. Bruiser tackles more of a society aspect as a whole and what it can do to a person. It’s not a supernatural aspect when the white face appears on our lead character. There is something to be said about what happens to him and I think a lot of people missed that point and still do.
Most of Romero’s films are outstanding and he knows how to blend real life into horror which I’ve always found interesting. Deep down, that’s the real horror. Not the zombies, the monkey, the white face, or the wannabe vampire; it’s the people surrounding those that’s in the film that the real horror lies.
Romero creates one of the most memorable and likable “villains” in the horror genre. When is the last time you truly cared for the killer? Someone that you want to see win when they are murdering their friends and family? Bruiser is one of those films that won’t leave you because it’s so unique. People may look at the film and see it as a revenge slasher but it’s a lot more than that once you scrape off the surface.
Not only does the film have an interesting plot, but also have original music by The Misfits and a special appearance by them as well. Jason Flemyng is another treat in the film. Jason has been in the industry for a while playing bit parts here and there but never getting that lead role and he lets it shine with this character and shows that he can carry a film by himself. The surrounding cast is great as well but more importantly the detective is played by horror veteran, Tom Atkins.
George made an amazing film that is undervalued even to the most hardcore horror fans and it’s time that Henry Creedlow gets the attention he deserved.