Tag Archives: Gary Huggins


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DIRECTED BY: Gary Huggins

FEATURING: Santiago Vasquez, Ramone Armstrong, Matthew Stathas

PLOT: A guidance counselor has a rough evening in Kansas City, KS when he agrees to attend a karate session with a troublesome student.

Still from KICK ME (2022)

COMMENTS: The pedigree of the “dream quest” is probably as old as the art of story-telling. The logic of dreams is peculiar: situation A leads to situation B leads to situation C, and so on; each link in the chain has a logical connection, but when you take a step back and look at it as a whole, the events make little sense. Much to this guidance counselor’s dismay, his evening is no dream. Its manic and unsettling events are jarringly remote from his plans, and when viewed in its totality, one can’t but wonder how this nightmare hangs together.

Santiago Vasquez (Santiago Vasquez) is a guidance counselor residing in Kansas City, MO. He begins his day with an amiable professionalism as resolute as his grin is toothy. He is having difficulty with an intelligent but wayward student, Luther (Ramone Armstrong), who is in trouble with both the school authorities and a local thug named “Blitz” (Matthew Stathas). Despite a prior engagement at a talent show in a local church, Santiago agrees to attend a karate class with Luther. But after the lesson is interrupted by Blitz’s goons, bloody mayhem ensues.

Huggins probably likes his hero, but seems to have a lot of anger. Kick Me overflows with oddball violence foisted upon its oddball cast. Santiago endures countless humiliations (violent ones) as he travels near-naked through the wild nighttime of down-at-the-heels Kansas City (KS) : a squicky encounter with some clients of “RVlove.com”, a furtive pitter-patter through a derelict mall where a gored man is unable to die, a run-in with a wizened hobo by his huff-bag tree, all culminating with a boss-fight on the church balcony with Blitz. Blood, blood, blood is everywhere; at least in Kansas City, KS.

Hit Me isn’t quite my kind of movie, but I know who its audience is, and also know there are plenty out there who will get a kick from this Odyssian journey through mayhem. Huggins is often unkind to his creations, but somehow avoids coming across as cruel. His sense of humor helps a great deal (my favorite example being the closing credits referring to a character as the “Malled Man”), as does his filmmaking prowess. Tension builds masterfully in the would-be disaster sequence after Santiago buys a bunny, and the loping cinematography slips lackadaisical giddiness into the fore when Santiago and a co-worker toke up in back of a gliding pick up truck. Santiago shouts and squeals and fights and kills—and though there are an impressive number of three-legged dogs wandering these mean streets, the counselor’s nightmare spares them further injury.

Kick Me next plays at the Panic Film Festival in Kansas City on April 19 (already sold out). For more, see our webcast discussion with writer/director Gary Huggins.


“…[a] dark, daffy, horror-adjacent comedy — the horror of which ranges from the threat of death to existential dread to simply having to deal with the Sartrean hell of other people, and beyond.” -Joseph Perry, Scariest Things (festival screening)


366 Weird Movies may earn commissions from purchases made through product links.

Audio only link (Soundcloud download)

Quick links/Discussed in this episode:

Our Kick Me Interview and discussion with Garry Huggins

Kick Me Facebook page

Kick Me interview with Filmmaker Magazine

Kick Me Trailer (mildly NSFW)

The Doom Generation director’s cut (1995): Discussion. Read Gregory J. Smalley’s review of the original. Director has remastered his nihilistic teen flick and restored a number of scenes that were cut (probably for being too offensive), but will it make a difference? Briefly screening in a few theaters (mostly Alamo Drafthouses), with a Blu-ray almost certain to follow. Indiewire article on the restoration.

Keane (2004): Discussion. Read Pamela de Graff’s List Candidate review. Keane is a gritty NYC-set return for t to the exploration of mentally illness that he mastered so well in Clean, Shaven (1993). Grasshopper restores and reissues it on Blu-ray. Buy Keane.

“Wings of Disaster: The Birdemic Trilogy”: Discussion. Read Alex Kittle’s Birdemic: Shock and Terror review. All three of ‘s Birdemic disasterpieces—full of animated gifs portraying deadly attack birds—are now available in one handy box from Severin (including 4.5 hours of exclusive bonus content). The latest, Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle, is also sold separately for Nguyen stans who already own the other two. Buy “Wings of Disaster: The Birdemic Trilogy.”


“100 Years of Warner Brothers: 25-film Blu-ray sets”:  Discussion. To celebrate a century of filmmaking, Warner Brothers is releasing four volumes of 25 Blu-rays each, themed as “Vol. 1: Awards Winners,” “Vol. 2: Comedies, Dramas and Musicals,” “Vol. 3: Fantasy, Action and Adventure,” and “Vol. 4: Thrillers, Sci-fi and Horror.” Of particular interest to us are Vol. 3 (which includes Pan’s Labyrinth) and especially Vol. 4 (which contains 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and Natural Born Killers). The links above will allow you to both buy the set and, almost as importantly, see what films are contained within.


Please join us tomorrow night for the  near-midnight, unofficial-but-authorized US Internet premiere of Plan 9 from Aliexpress (2022), an experimental “trash” feature from Russia boasting the tagline, “You Won’t Understand a Single Thing.” We begin at 10:15 PM ET on our Discord channel. You can always see our screening schedule in the sidebar, but as a reminder the next offering after that is Reality (2014) on Friday, Apr. 14 (‘s birthday!) at 8:30 PM ET.

Next week’s Pod 366 guest will be (of the FP series, and a new upcoming project he’ll be talking about). In written reviews, Amy Vaughn describes Q. Dupieux’s Power Rangers-ish lark, Smoking Causes Coughing (2022); Shane Wilson takes on another that Came from the Reader-Suggested Queue with The Mysterians (1957) (a vintage tokusatsu that would make a decent double feature with Coughing); Giles Edwards goes ahead with today’s pod subject, Kick Me, ahead of its Panic Fest date next week; and desperately pleads that you will read his Give Me Pity! (2022) review. Onward and weirdward!