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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

The Nostril Picker (1993)

"He chose his weapons… He selected his victims… He picked his nose…"


Joe Bukowski is a loner who has bad luck with girls - in fact no luck because none of them are attracted to him. So an old tramp teaches him a chant which turns him into a girl whenever he wants to. However the more he uses this power, the crazier he gets and soon he begins to kill.


If the title and the poster doesn't make you the slightest bit curious about this film, then you must live a really sheltered cinematic life. It would have you think this was some controversial banned film which has just been re-released. You know which films I'm referring to - the Video Nasties from the 80s which caused such uproar in the UK. Look at the cover - the guy looks sleazy and sinister, the title is written in blood and he's also got a huge knife - oh and it's ‘the uncut version.’ Surely this is a depraved, ghastly and sordid slasher flick which has been banned because of its shocking content? Forget Cannibal Holocaust. Never mind SS Experiment Camp. The Nostril Picker is clearly the most detestable film of all time. Yes? Not a chance. I honestly have no idea where this film came from. The Nostril Picker is the most amateurish, shockingly made 'modern' film I've ever seen. It's hasn't even got one redeeming factor and I can't think of anything remotely positive to say about it at all.

The Nostril Picker is a zero-budgeter like never before. It's like a home movie gone wrong. The picture quality is horrendous. There's scratches and grain on every shot and it looks like it was bleached of any colour. I honestly refuse to believe that this was made in 1993 - it looks straight from the 70s grindhouse scene, and not intentionally so. Did someone leave the film print out in the sun all day or drop it down the toilet? The sound crackles and muffles throughout the film, almost as if the sound guy simply recorded everything on an old school tape recorder or Dictaphone.

If your film technically looks and sounds horrendous, then what hope do you have for the rest of the content? The plot is highly disturbing - that of a recently released mental patient with a taste for cannibalism obtaining the power to turn himself into a teenage girl so that he can get closer to his victims - and yet the execution is a bizarre mix of Troma-style trash, 70s grimy exploitation and 80s body swapping comedy. There is an element of bad taste throughout, despite the silliness on show, and one can only imagine how a more competent crew could have used the idea. Alas, I can only review what's an offer here and it's atrocious.

Why call it The Nostril Picker too? He only picks his nose a couple of times during the film yet he does other things a lot more like drinking. The Beer Drinker or The Cigarette Smoker would have been more appropriate titles. The people in this aren't actors. They're not even the director's mates. Let's face it, if we were all cast in our best friend's film, we'd sure as hell make the best job we could do to help out a friend. Did they film this in a mental institute where the people didn't know what was going on? This isn't acting. It's not even close. This was director Mark Nowicki's only credit in the main seat, writer Steven Hodge's only credit and Carl Zschering's only acting role - no surprise to anyone who has seen this!

More effort in the film and less in the title and cover box was what was needed here - the gore effects look really bad and I'm sure the local supermarket was raided just before Halloween to get some cheap blood. Despite the sleazy nature of proceedings, there's no nudity here, just some ill-placed singing scenes. I'm at a loss to understand how and why some of these scenes were included.


Final Verdict

The Nostril Picker is proof that you should never judge a film by its cover. I’m sure someone is playing a massive joke on me somewhere for watching this. Please let me know if you’ve seen this so that I’m not just imagining things. If you've come here looking for hardcore nostril-picking action, you'll be sorely disappointed.


The Nostril Picker

Director(s): Mark Nowicki

Writer(s): Steven Hodge

Actor(s): Carl Zschering, Edward Tanner, Laura Cummings, Ann Flood, Gail Didia, Heidi M. Gregg, Aimee Molinaro, Clyde Surrell

Duration: 88 mins


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