Over the years, advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to film, produce, and distribute absolute shit. This is as true in America as it is in the United Kingdom, where a recent rash of low-budget gangster/football hooligan movies have been hitting the shelves. A new article on Little Atoms
takes a deep dive into this burgeoning sub-genre of “hard-man” movies that pack the emotional punch of a stocky pub owner muttering something like “Oy bruv, we family, innit?” yet are inexplicably making money hand over fist.
From the article’s description, these “straight-to-DVD gangster movies, sold in provincial supermarkets to bored dads and grounded teenagers,” take the worst aspects of films like Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels or Green Street Hooligans and then just make that the whole film. Add to that some shady marketing tactics, a willingness to cast inexperienced glamor models, and a toxically masculine ethos and you’ve got yourself a lucrative little business.
Jonathan Sothcott, the producer behind many of these films, including Vendetta, We Still Kill The Old Way, and The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan, has no delusions about what kind of movies he’s making. “If your average Tom Hardy film is a decent steak dinner, my films are McDonald’s take-away,” he tells Little Atoms. “Sometimes a McDonald’s hits the spot better than a proper restaurant.” Appealing to the anti-snob crowd seems to have worked for Sothcott as distributors continue to fund film after film, which then fly off the shelves at the local Tesco, a British supermarket. Still, some in the industry are less convinced the money is pouring in. The films’ writers and directors often complain about lack of payment while the producers continue to avoid their calls and simply move on to their next football-bloke-punching movie.
Sothcott’s apparent success has inspired other up-start producers to follow in his footsteps. Chris Bell, a part-time fireman and amateur filmmaker, shot his first film Three Stops Down From Plaistow on handycam in 2013 and uploaded the entire thing to YouTube. The film is truly awful and yet, two years later, Bell was tapped to helm a “hooligan/military crossover” called Hooligans At War: North Vs South because producers knew he could do it for next to nothing.
That seems to sum up the hard-man film industry strategy. Make it cheap, cut every corner, and fill it with all that shit teens and sad dads love. Say what you will about the ethics of such a strategy, but it works. Sothcott’s most recent film Bonded By Blood 2 made the Tesco top 20 list, meaning the store is obligated to keep stocking it. Feel free to pick it up next time you pop ‘round the shop.
See Little Atoms’ full, bloody story here.