Based on a story by infamous Belgian novelist Herman Brusselmans, Ex Drummer is a dismal, nihilistic trip into the world of three handicapped gentlemen who want to start a rock band.
The local battle of the bands is coming up and Koen, Jan & Ivan want to participate, the only problem is they don’t have a drummer. They soon decide to ask local author Dries to join their band, thinking his celebrity status may give them a better chance at winning. Seeing as all the members have their own particular handicaps, they ask Dries what his is – it seems he can’t play the drums.
The band is a motley crew indeed; vocalist / guitarist Koen is a horny, skinhead rapist with a horrible lisp, bassist Jan is gay with a paralysed right arm and an obsessive mother complex, and rhythm guitarist Ivan is a deaf junkie who treats his wife and child like shit. Dries accepts the invitation to join their band purely for his own amusement and in the hope that he’ll get a story idea from it. They name their band The Feminists.
Ex Drummer overflows with glorious politically incorrect offensiveness: rape, pedophilia, rampant misogyny, racism, homophobia, infant death, incest – there’s really something for everyone. Although with the misanthropic attitude and overall bleak atmosphere coexists a sense of the surreal and an undertone of pitch black comedy. For instance the scene where Big Dick, a member of a rival band with a horse-sized appendage, forces his wife to show her wrecked vagina to Dries, the two men literally walk around in her womb as Big Dick points out the tunnel he’s carved out with his mammoth member. The film doesn’t shy away from graphic violence either, particularly in the last quarter – there’s some rather gruesome death scenes and an extremely bloody rape / castration.
Ex Drummer is quite technically accomplished and visually stunning at times too, bizarre sequences such as the one mentioned above don’t really seem out of the ordinary when Koen the skinhead rapist lives upside down in his blood-splattered house, and some scenes are shot completely backwards. The camera-work and editing are utterly frenzied – especially during the final concert – with certain sequences being superimposed one on top of the another. The fantastic soundtrack deserves a mention here too, the film opens with the awesome Lighting Bolt track 2 Morro Morro Land and continues on with songs that complement the often harsh imagery on display. The bands in the film are actually quite decent also, they all have a similar lo-fi gutter-punk sound, and The Feminists do a wicked cover of DEVO’s Mongoloid.
A highly impressive feature film debut from Koen Mortier and a must see for fans of transgressive cinema.
- Making of Ex Drummer documentary
- Music videos from The Feminists, Overdo Hykers and Flip Kowlier
- Theatrical Trailer
Available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.