Bad Boy Bubby (Blu-ray) (1993)

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Released 12-Oct-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Rolf de Heer (Director) and Nicholas Hope (Actor)
Alternate Audio-Binaural Audio Recording for Headphones
Interviews-Crew-Rolf de Heer
Interviews-Cast-Nicholas Hope
Short Film-Confessor Caressor
Featurette-Q&A with Nicholas Hope
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Umbrella Trailers
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 113:51 (Case: 111)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rolf de Heer

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Nicholas Hope
Claire Benito
Ralph Cotterill
Syd Brisbane
Nikki Price
Ullie Birve
Audine Leith
Natalie Carr
Lucia Mastrantone
Carmel Johnson
Jip De Heer
James Ammitzboll
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $34.95 Music Graham Tardif

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     After a very long wait, the Aussie cult classic, and 1993 film festival darling, Bad Boy Bubby has arrived in High Definition on Blu-ray. Bad Boy Bubby manages to touch on just about every taboo in society, from incest to anal rape, and also manages to explore wider issues in our society, such as parenting, sex, religion, and death. While many have described the film as vulgar and offensive, Bad Boy Bubby is arguably one of the most intelligent, confronting, challenging, and thought provoking Australian films ever made.

    Written and Directed by Rolf de Heer, Bad Boy Bubby is definitely one of those 'love it or hate it' films. Loved by most critics, (Bad Boy Bubby won Best Film at the Venice Film Festival), the film polarised the viewing audiences who flocked to see it at the art house cinemas. I personally loved it when I originally saw it theatrically, but I'm not sure if it's a film one enjoys watching. Part black comedy, and part social observation, Bad Boy Bubby is an intelligent, confronting, challenging, and thought provoking film. It certainly is an experience. On the other hand, when I had finished reviewing the original DVD, I offered to lend my review copy to a friend to watch. Their reply: "Oh my God, I couldn't sit through that again!"

     As for the story: Bubby (Nicholas Hope) has spent the first 35 years of his life imprisoned in a squalid, claustrophobic basement, by his sexually and violently abusive, and controlling mother (Claire Benito). Here, the audience is first tested, when exposed to almost graphic sexual encounters between Bubby and his obese, wrinkled mother.

     Having been taught since childhood that the outside air is poisonous and that leaving home is sinful, Bubby remains cut off from the outside world. Bubby only discovers the truth when his long-absent father, Pop (Ralph Cotterill) returns to disrupt the very unhealthy and twisted bond between mother and son.

     Following a violent confrontation, Bubby is forced out into the real world. With no understanding of life or society, and obviously suffering mentally from his life of abuse, Bubby wanders about the city, stumbling into various people's lives. His conversation is limited to largely repeating overheard phrases, but as time passes he begins to make more sense.

     However, this is no simple 'fish out of water' plot. Through Bubby's journey to self-awareness, and healing, Rolf de Heer provides us with a mirror to modern society. What makes that possible, is Nicholas Hope’s engrossing and thoroughly convincing performance as Bubby. Hope manages to breathe life into a character that is both sympathetic yet, at other times, very frightening.

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Transfer Quality


     Overall, the transfer is good and an improvement from the DVD, but certainly lacking compared with recent, big-budget HD releases. This is certainly no Blu-ray demo-disc, and more resembles an up-scaled DVD. As with the DVD, the quality does vary at times, but this is largely due to the source material. Interestingly, Director Rolf de Heer opted to use a different DOP and camera crew for each of the sections of the film (to highlight Bubby's changing perception of his world). There seem to be a number of different film stocks used, with varying results. According to de Heer the DOPs ranged from "experienced to experimental".

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. On Blu-ray the film is presented in 1080p via the AVC codec. As with the DVD, the sharpness of the image is reasonable throughout, but often appears soft compared with other HD titles of films of the same era. I assume this fault lies in the source material, as does some of the lens distortion apparent in some shots. The black level is limited but reasonable. Some strange lighting effects have been employed, and the shadow detail is often limited.

     The colour is good throughout (albeit often intentionally muted), and the skin tones are mostly natural considering the lighting used.

     While the picture often appears grainy, there are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts. Film artefacts appear throughout, but they are mostly small and not disruptive.

     As with the DVD, no subtitles are present on the Blu-ray. The feature is divided into 18 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Originally released theatrically in Dolby Stereo, the disc features a new DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. The sound design on this film is very peculiar, as it was designed to be the world's first "headphone film". Instead of recording the sound with boom microphones, Director, Rolf de Heer used body microphones and other aural devices, so that the audience would hear everything from Bubby's perspective.

     The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine on the default audio track, but the alternative track can sound a little muffled or flat at times. As mentioned above, instead of recording the sound with boom microphones, Nicholas Hope as Bubby had a microphone taped over each ear to let the audience hear exactly as he would. This does affect the recording of the dialogue, but I understood everything said.

     The musical score is credited to Graham Tardif, and the film's score features a variety of styles, including bagpipes, choral, organ, as well as a few alternative rock tunes.

     Considering the film's Dolby Stereo origins, the surround presence and activity is quite good. As with the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD, while the surround sound mix is quite front-heavy, the rear speakers are used effectively to help provide ambience, such as the general hubbub in the pub. This maintains a nice sound-field while keeping the viewer firmly focused on the screen. In keeping with Director Rolf de Heer’s original vision, with the new surround mix occasionally voices and sounds appear out of the rears and envelop us, which is very effective and unsettling.

     Understandably, this is not a LFE-heavy film, and the subwoofer snoozed throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     For such an old, low-budget film, there are plenty of decent and genuine extras, albeit all ported from the previous DVD release, except for the new trailers.


     Animated with audio.

Audio Commentary

Rolf de Heer (Director) and Nicholas Hope (Actor), provide an interesting commentary which focuses on the budgetary constraints, and the subsequence problems with the production. The commentary is screen specific, and they also discuss some of the issues raised in the film and the use of imagery and Port Adelaide locations. There are also a few funny anecdotes, some relating to the film's many sex and nude scenes.

Alternate Audio

     Described as "Binaural Audio Recording For Headphones", if you have a decent set of headphones and you're watching this film by yourself, this option is highly recommended a an alternate experience.

Interviews - Christ Kid, You're A Weirdo (23:57)

     Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio; this is an interview with Rolf de Heer in which he discusses the ideas behind the story and script, and how the film was shot with a draft script and a lot of improvised dialogue and scenes.

Interviews - Being Bubby (14:18)

     Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio; this is an interview with Nicholas Hope. Hope describes how he came to be involved with the film and how he met de Heer. Hope also explains how he got involved in acting. Hope also talks about how he prepared for the part and the effect it had on his career. There are also a few clips from the film.

Short Film - Confessor Caressor (19:37)

     Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this is a short South Australian Student film that brought Hope to the attention of de Heer. In this mockumentary, Hope plays a childish serial killer who insists on being called the "Confessor Caressor", and shows off his collection of knives, while he talks excitedly about the murders he has committed.

Featurette-Popcorn Taxi Q & A 2004 (25:27)

     Nicholas Hope, on stage, discusses the film before a live audience, and answers their questions.


     A series of photographic stills

Theatrical Trailer (1:51)

     Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Trailers - Umbrella Trailers

     There are three trailers, for:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Bad Boy Bubby Blu-ray is zoned for all regions.


     Like Brazil, Being There, or Eraserhead, this is no mindless Friday night pick-me-up. Indeed, Bad Boy Bubby is a challenging and sometimes intense film, and it is certainly not for the squeamish! If you already own the DVD, I would rent this first before deciding to 'upgarde'. You already have the extras and the improvement in sound and picture quality might not warrant the cost of the disc.

     The video quality is good overall, considering its age and low-budget source. The audio quality is true to its source. The extras are genuine, but a rehash from the DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSamsung 3D Blu-ray (HDMI 1.4), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung 3D HD (58 inches). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSamsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)

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