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28 October 2014
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Spring 2005
A bloody mess of a film!
scene from The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace
It ain't exactly City Hall is it? Our heroes do get around a bit in their Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace...

Mary Whitehouse would be spinning in her grave at a rate sufficient to drill to the molten core of the earth if she'd caught even a millisecond's glimpse of one of the highlights of May 2005's Fantastic Films Festival at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford.

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It's safe to say that Whitehouse, big-spectacled Dame Edna Everage lookalike and self-appointed guardian of the nation's morals and TV and film viewing during the 1970s and 1980s, would be a tad unhappy to know that The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace had hit the silver screen in Bradford - or anywhere, frankly. After all, it's pretty disgusting...graphic, lewd, rude, distasteful, revolting, repellent, sick-making and gross.

A true classic in the making, in other words.

To be frank the film is a bloody mess. Really bloody. Bloody and messy. Messy and bloody. From the first scene, there are literally bucketloads of the stuff emanating forth from the screen - along with what I'm hoping is merely an awful lot of offal in lieu of the special 'FX' we've come to know and yawn at in the average Hollywood blockbuster at yer average thirty-screens-but-nothing-on Film-O-Rama.

In other words, the brains behind this slapstick celebration of ultraviolence - Bradford's Julian Butler, Gus Bousfield and Bob Priestley - have created a film sufficient to make anyone, and I guarantee that I do mean ANYONE, turn away from the screen at some point during proceedings. In fact it'd give you a crick in the neck for a fortnight after 'enjoying' its filmic treats.

gary and dougie
Close to the bone (literally): Gary and Dougie

The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace tests to destruction filmgoers' taste for the distasteful , but - and bear with me on this one - that's the point. It was one of the highpoints of Bradford's Fantastic Films Weekend. In a VERY strange sort of way. You'd be watching it thinking, 'Ugh, I could BE anywhere else but this! The local abattoir for instance!' or,"I could be DOING anything else but this! Wearing a hair shirt for instance." But you STILL watch it from start to bitter, beaten and bloody end.

The film, obviously made on a budget of less-than-next-to-nothing, follows the adventures of foul-mouthed comedians Gary Rivers and Dougie Rhodes (co-directors Priestley and Butler) as they hunt for their son, a lad afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome who's been kidnapped and held to ransom. Featuring death, grotesqueness, 'wheelchair stunts', more grotesqueness, reptilocide and a script so blue it's almost aquamarine, The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace was claimed by the Fantastic Films Weekend's bumph to be 'low-grade British cinema at its very worst, unapologetically offensive...This one has to be seen to be believed.' And it really did live down to these claims.

I cannot emphasise enough that if you are of a nervous disposition, offended by 'bad' language (and I mean any or all of the four-letter words you might hear bandied gaily about by the happy-go-lucky chaps and chapesses down any West Yorkshire city centre of a Friday or Saturday night), if you're likely to faint at the sight of blood or internal organs made external, or if you're just likely to be distressed at what is undoubtedly the worst taste film of all time, please do never go and see this film. I repeat, if you fit into any of the above categories DO NOT EVER WATCH THIS FILM. (Unless you are one of the above AND a masochist. In which case, enjoy!)

scene from The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace
The Sweeney have nowt on Gary and Dougie's powers of detection...

For the rest of the adult population (seriously, this REALLY ain't for the kids), you WILL be shocked. But remember that The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace is supposed to be funny! Think back to the the last - and darkest - series of The League Of Gentlemen and then multiply that by a very large number. Then you might be somewhere in the vicinity of understanding just how darkly dark this blackest of black comedies is. I'd call it tongue-in-cheek, but I'm afraid these filmmakers might take that as the basis for their next 'feature'.

Even those hosting the film at the National Museum Of Photography, Film and Television (NMPFT) put their hands up and admitted this was one big screen treat that wouldn't be for everybody. Tony Earnshaw, the Museum's Head Film Programmer, said: "The NMPFT has a tradition of championing low-budget filmmaking and many of the people whose films have played here in the past have gone on to big things. Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace is not to everyone's taste but this is exactly the kind of no-holds barred combination of over the top bad taste and low-grade horror that made people like David Cronenberg a legend in the 1970s. It is undeniably targeted towards a specialist audience - horror buffs who appreciate black humour and visceral gore. It is not for the fainthearted, but fainthearted folk rarely form the audience of the Weekend! People have a clear choice - if they're easily offended, 2001: A Space Odyssey is on in Pictureville."

scene from The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace
Approach this film with caution...

But, if you're STILL not convinced that this was a film worth seeing, it also features the 'tragic' demise of West Yorkshire's very own yellow peril, the eternally catatonic and terminally annoying Sooty. That'll be the last time HE gets Sweep and his weirdo furry pals into trouble. A nation rejoices.


In summary: Brrr. Feel that shiver down the spine as more blood spurts and squirts on screen. Feel that frisson as yet another series of flat-vowelled profanity is uttered without consideration for the tattered morals of a nation. The Hunt For The Yorkshire Grimace is British film at its best, but treasure it while you can before PC Political Correctness and his do-gooding chums come crashing in to make this world a 'better', cleaner, more boring place.

But, if you do ever see it, remember...in Bradford no-one can hear you scream.

MARTIN COLDRICK

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