“I want inside your little world,” Dan (Vincent Stalba) tells Sandy (Maddie Nichols), turning up on her doorstep – with a bunch of red roses and romantic intentions – at the beginning of Sam Fox’s Fck’n Nuts. Dan loves Sandy so much that he wants to see her at home and finally to ‘meet the parents’, and is completely unfazed by her stress-vomiting at the mere sight of him on her stoop. Obviously alarmed, this sweet blonde girl in her bright pink dress tries to warn him, even adopting a politically incorrect slur to punctuate the strength of her feelings about her own family. “They’re nuts,” she declares, adding, “Look it up in the dictionary, it is completely 100% by the definition of the term… N-U-T-S – nuts.” Yet like the lovesick hero of a paraklausithyron, Dan is imperturbable and will not take no for an answer, insisting on being let in.
“Sit down and act normal,” Mommy (Michele Rossi) tells Daddy (William E. Harris) as she tips cigarette ash into the stew cooking on the stove, “We don’t want to scare another one off.” Dan is about to discover just what it is about this couple that makes them such nuts, and how, for all his claims to be ’charming’ and ‘sophisticated’, there are limits even to his tolerance, so that soon he too will be exclaiming: “They’re fck’n nuts!”
Written and directed by Fox (Bad Acid, 2021; Unagi, 2020), the short Fck’n Nuts has many of the cast and crew who work on Joe Badon’s films – including Badon himself – and also shares with those a look and tone of cartoonish psychedelia, where everything is archetypal and exaggerated to grotesque effect. Combining romance and horror, it is essentially a careful set-up followed by a hilariously absurd punchline, as the true, toxic nature of Mommy and Daddy is finally revealed, and Dan learns the hard way why his relationship with Sandy can never work.
It is also of course a nightmarish expression of all the anxieties (and conflicted loyalties) experienced by anyone who has ever had to introduce a partner to the parents and watch with horror how both sides react. Lit like a candy box – but also like a giallo – by DP Daniel Waghorne, and scored with a synth-heavy soundtrack by Scratch Massive (Sébastien Chenut and Maud Geffray) that conjures the purulent, gory excesses of the Eighties, this off-kilter fairytale comes with the decidedly un-fairytale-like conclusion that you cannot always accept and love a person for who they are and where they come from. After all, if the parents really are fck’n nuts, what might that say about their child?
strap: Sam Fox’s super-stylised short wrings grotesque horror and abject absurdity from its ‘meet the parents’ scenario
© Anton Bitel