Film Review: It Took Guts (short film) (1979)

It Took Guts (1979)


A teenage boy, troubled and alone wanders the grassy hills looking for something. He settles on a slope and searches for some activity to amuse him. He begins to pick pieces of his body off and taste them. This seems like a good thing to do. So he removes his eye, his face and finally his own guts and eats them all in an orgy or extasy and gore.


Considered an early gross-out cult classic, this 4:50 minute short features the talents of director Eric Forsberg and young Charles Schneider. In Eric Forsberg’s debut we follow a young teen as he heads for a quite grassy hill to relax. While enjoying the summer day, he begins to dig into his ear with a q-tip. Enjoying the experience, he continues until he pulls it out covered in blood. upon tasting the blood covered tip he begins a self inflicted sadomasochism voyage into self mutilation. At first he bits into his hand until pulling back a chunk. then enjoying the experience he takes things further by stabbing his leg and then gouging out his own eye. the short is surreal in the sense that the boy seems to be enjoying every bit of his defilement taking things as far as he can. The piece ends as he finally cuts his stomach open to reveal his intestines and then begins eating them.

“It Took Guts” which one might associate these days with the visceral nature of a zombie film ends up being more disturbing in its execution and dark humor. The short film which was shot using film stock feels visceral enough in its almost home spun movie presentation to really stand out as shocking. What stands out beyond the explicit gore is the “pleased expressionism” that actor Charles Schneider alludes during the whole ordeal. The short was known for being popular in the punk clubs of New York and Boston and continued to be played every weekend to the chants of attendees. Upon watch, I make slight comparison to the pacing of a violent NIN music video.

As of this review, the short was not available (as it was) but was available in this converted music video version.

It Took Guts (1979)

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