The Janitor (2005)
By: Devon B. on May 19, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Elite (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.78:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 2.0. 92 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Andy Signore and TJ Nordaker
Starring: Andy Signore, Bruce Cronander, Crystal Lebard, Larry Butler, Rachael Bennett, John Carreon
Screenplay: Andy Signore
Music: Adrian Burka
Tagline: An epic of custodial proportions
Country: USA
I used to work as a janitor at a shopping centre. We weren't called janitors, we were called maintenance. I think that's because we did maintenance as well. Actually, most of the stuff I did was maintenance. Regardless, I was dressed like a janitor, and the one thing that happened universally was people visiting the centre were unable to see me, UNLESS they were looking for a store or noticed a mess. The Janitor doesn't really play up to this aspect of the job, which I think could've lead to some very funny scenes, but it goes for some others.

The Janitor begins with our, well, not hero, I guess he's just our lead, Lionel, getting literally pissed on by another employee. Lionel gets mad, abducts the offensive person and sets him on fire. It turns out, over the last two months, thirteen'mysterious' disappearances have happened at the office where Lionel works, because anytime someone abuses him, he snaps.

The FBI send in an agent to investigate the goings on, but the agency has no clues because either the killings are happening off site or the murderer is a 'damn good cleaner.' But when Lionel gets stood up by his office crush, he takes out his anger on a hooker, unfortunately leaving some DNA evidence, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. With the help of his janitoring mentor, Lionel sets out to prevent the evidence from coming (no pun intended) to light. The plot goes off on a very different tangent shortly after that, but that takes us up to about 30 minutes in, so I'll stop there.

While it's still a relatively fresh topic, I'm going to say that the semen sequences have some of the nastiest cum jokes ever, making American Pie seem tame. The acting is mostly silly, with the quality of performances varying greatly. Writer, editor, producer and co-director Andy Signore plays Lionel, speaking with a very forced gruff tone, which I found annoying. Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger, makes a hammy as fuck cameo as a bum who sleeps under a Citizen Toxie poster next to a bin with a Troma flyer on it. There were a few performances I really enjoyed, particularly that of Skip Pipo playing the FBI agent.

The gore, despite the blurb on the DVD sleeve and having a character named after the lead in Braindead, is more for fans of The Toxic Avenger than those of Peter Jackson, as The Janitor has more Toxic Avenger style surrealism than Jackson's completely realistic films about stupid aliens, morbid Muppets, and zombies. The gore was done very cheaply, and it shows in most places, but I certainly hold nothing against the makers for trying to make a splatstick movie, and most of the gore works well enough that you get the idea. The janitor does like to rip off arms, which gets old, but eventually leads to a gag that never fails: The beating of someone with his own severed arm!

The Janitor is an inconsistent film. Some of the humour fails, but other stuff, like the 'damn good cleaner' line, is spot on. The film suffers because the viewer is often way ahead of the plot, so it really would've benefited from some tightening. The film is based on a short, and it does feel like the plot is that of two shorts put together. While I enjoyed the second plot, involving a sorority house by the name of TNA, I think as a storyline the initial plot is more interesting. In fairness, that may just be because I wanted Pipo's FBI guy to get more screen time.
Video
The Janitor is presented in a matted 1.85:1 ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced. Given that the film was shot on video, I'm not sure why they cropped it and then didn't give it 16x9 enhancement. I would've been fine with a 1.33:1 transfer, but I hate the trend of cropping full frame movies to sell as 'widescreen,' especially when they're not even presented 16x9! This single oversight brings the whole DVD package down from what would've been a perfect score. The print is a bit murky, despite being shot on high-end equipment, with some haze and slight video grain. The DP also had occasional trouble with lighting in broad daylight. Aside from the lack of a 16x9 enhancement, I'd guess the film is looking as good as it's going to, though.
Audio
The audio is presented in two-channel stereo. The volume levels fluctuate a bit, and dialog can be hard to hear at times. Particularly hard to decipher is Signore, because of the forced gruffness. These audio flaws are presumably down to the source material.
Extra Features
This is what makes the disc an absolute stand out. First up is a nearly hour long making of, which is actually entertaining. The DVD sleeve claims the making of is 'feature length,' so decide for yourself whether nearly an hour qualifies for that term. The making of explains a lot of stuff that makes flaws in the film more forgivable, like that the climactic bloodbath suffers because as scripted it was too complicated, so the filmmakers had to come up with easy deaths they could do on set. We also get more nudity, and the casting of actresses ready to expose themselves is discussed (which also explains some of the varied performances). I know if I have a choice between someone who can act and someone who will take her shirt off, there's not much choice at all. Unless it's like Edie Massey or something. When she took her shirt off, I nearly went blind. What I really liked about this making of were the audition clips, which was sort of like (Insert Country of Choice) Idol goes horror film. There's also a brief glimpse of Quentin Tarantino, who's Kill Bill 2 opened literally across the street during The Janitor's big screen debut.

The DVD also has the inspiring short for the feature length film, The Office Is Closed…But Her Legs Are Open. The short runs roughly five minutes, and features new ADRed dialogue and a new score due to clearance issues (take that Sam Raimi, you Within the Woods withholding BASTARD!). The short is basically just one scene from the movie, ADRed to the point of being funny. The unlucky couple from the short are named Janet and Brad, a nod to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Janitor's trailer is here, full frame, as is a video for the theme song, which features vocals by Signore, but DP/co-star John Carreon does the miming in the video. The deleted scenes offer a little bit of extra bloodshed; more silliness; more of the entertaining Bouillibaisse character; more of Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger; and the original ending. A photo gallery has a series of related stills and some artwork, and the most horrifying thing on the disc…Patrick Swayze.

Last and certainly not least is the commentary, featuring Signore, Carreon, and the other director, TJ Nordaker. Inspired by the commentary on Cannibal: The Musical, these guys decided to play a drinking game with The Janitor. The commentary starts out pretty dull, but the drinking game is quickly shown to be a bad idea, as Signore can't hold his liquor. Within minutes he's completely drunk and starts saying stuff that got self-censored afterwards. When he starts shouting a lot, belittling the cast, and discussing things he'd told the others not to, the fun begins. The others try to restrain him and get a word in edgewise, but to little avail. The track is not particularly informative, but I found it funny. If you don't like listening to drunk people make asses of themselves, it is skippable.

There are also a few eggs.

In the deleted scenes, press right on 'More of Bouillibaisse' to highlight some gummy bears. Press enter to see an extended take of the gummy bear sex scene.

On the last slide in the photo gallery, press up to highlight the poster. Press enter to see an outtake of the porno novel reading.

Now, there is one other egg, but I could not find it through traditional means. I have no clue where it's hidden, 'cause I even went through the scene select menus. I also looked online, and couldn't find any other way to get to it. So, do what I did, which was tell my player to go to title 10 of 10 and you'll get to see…NUDE OUTTAKES!!! Yes, this does include an extended shower scene, the greatest special feature of all time (see my review of Luther the Geek for more information). This isn't just like a few shots, it's a few minutes of additional male and female nudity set to the 'You Make Me Wanna Cum' song from the film. This is the best Easter egg of all time! This egg earns the DVD an extra little Australia!! Which, unfortunately, as you might recall from like 8 pages ago, the video transfer then lost…

While doing the research on the discs eggs, I did find out about an additional egg, an unlisted commentary for The Office Is Closed. The track is a continuation of the drunken feature commentary, but Signore is much more restrained here, and the only thing I really got was confirmation that the couple were named after the couple in Rocky Horror.
The Verdict
The Janitor would benefit from some tightening, but it is a pleasing effort, and for a first film, very well done. Even with the gore being a bit remedial at times, the filmmakers have made an entertaining movie, which is more than a lot of people can say. If you're a fan of Troma, this is a must have, and if it weren't for the 4:3 video transfer, this DVD would be getting a five out of five.
Movie Score
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