Gun Club

There’s no rooting for Anita (Drew Barrymore) or Howard (James Le Gros) in Guncrazy, the deranged protagonists on a killing spree out west. Occasionally, America finds heroes in killers, battling against the system. In Guncrazy though, the problems exist because of themselves.

Sent to theaters in 1992, Guncrazy did find itself ahead on social issues, notably teen sex and bubbling counter culture. Anita acts out, stuck living in a trashy trailer with her stock, torn wife beater-wearing dad. She’s abused though, sexually. No wonder she rebels and finds company with a soon-to-be released prisoner.

Guncrazy did find itself ahead on social issues

Howard is interesting, at least for a time. He resists; he generally wants to make right. Where Guncrazy is so often built on American western mythos or prohibition-era outlaws, Howard’s reluctance to handle weapons at least opens Guncrazy with empathy. Together, Howard and Anita’s world defies them. A local preacher doesn’t provide sane sanctuary, high school boys mock Anita’s sexuality, and in a small role, Michael Ironside serves as an oppressive cop distrustful of everyone.

Guncrazy’s issues lie in how these characters can’t stop pulling the trigger. The first few seem almost – almost, keyword – reasonable. After that, there’s a white trash us-against-them quality, leading to near exploitation-tier bloodshed as the rampage continues.

Were they only villains, Guncrazy might stand as a statement against the urge to commit violence in a violent culture, but no, the script tries earnestly to humanize this pair. First Anita can’t bring herself to rob working class guys at a local diner, and then she finds solace in a stranded Great Dane. Howard, refuses to even hold a gun, turns away Anita’s advances, and is remorseful after an accidental discharge goes wrong.

The design is such that it’s a love story between two broken people, drawn together by their vicious defiance of norms. Yet, they never share the screen as a legitimate couple, their chemistry flailing and noting Anita’s only 16 (Barrymore was in her early 20s) while exploiting nudity feels especially gross. All leads to an eventual, predictable final showdown where Howard goes full camp, waving two guns like six shooters, mowing down faceless cops in a final act of romance. It’s absurd, and demolishes whatever point Guncrazy intended to make.

Video

Guncrazy suffers from a multitude of mastering issues. In a bright spot, resolution looks fair, handling passable detail. The source film stock shows dirt and damage. Not severe, but enough to notice. Another clean-up pass is in order. Grain meets an average encode, noisy in spots, and choking on smoke/fog. Banding is a usual player too.

Black levels routinely crush, causing images to look murky. Shadows take a hard stance, blotting out the darkest areas of the screen. And contrast, while rarely clipped, still looks heated, sapping color.

The latter isn’t an inherent negative. Saturation creates glowing hues, especially flesh tones. Too often, they look neon, skewed orange. There’s plenty of variety, just too beefy and intense.

Audio

PCM stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital, each with issues. PCM puffs up the low-end, too boomy and aggressive to ever feel natural. This causes dialog to sound heavy, albeit clear.

In comparison, the lower volume typical of compressed tracks oddly helps, softening the LFE’s punch. Like everything else on this disc though, surrounds make their presence known with aggression. Gunshots echo into rear channels, school ambiance runs loud, unusually potent open air breezes – those surrounds try too hard to be heard.

Extras

Tamra Davis and Drew Barrymore offer a commentary together. After this, MVD goes all out, producing a nearly 90-minute making-of/retrospective, using interviews with Davis and other key behind-the-scenes players. Davis is then given the chance to discuss her career for nearly 40-minutes in a detailed feature. An EPK featurette from 1992 runs 20-minutes, and a few clips taken directly from the set follow.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Guncrazy
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Guncrazy loses itself in violence, ruining attempt to humanize two murderers on a rampage out west.

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