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What's Deadpool talking about? A Boltneck explainer

Contributed by
May 10, 2018

The marketing for Deadpool 2 has been full of off-the-wall references, from a parody of the Superman changing in a phone booth schtick to a loving nod to The Joy of Painting host Bob Ross, to the spectacular inclusion of Canadian diva Celine Dion—and now, a gleeful recall of some of Ryan Reynolds' failed film projects. 

World-famous soccer star David Beckham plays himself in this latest ad—and while Reynolds thinks this muscle-bound man is miffed over a joke at his expense in Deadpool, Mr. Posh Spice delivers a scorching burn by saying he thought the Canadian A-lister was apologizing for a series of his less-than-auspicious movies, including the superhero bomb Green Lantern, the gonzo ghost romp RIPD, the painfully bland sci-fi flick Self/Less, and the sorry excuse for a sequel that was Blade Trinity. In full Deadpool regalia, Reynolds gamely accepts the knocks with nods and clucks of agreement. That is until Beckham says, "Boltneck."

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While Becks slams the door in his masked face, many of us were saying, "What the hell was Boltneck?"

Well, we've done some digging.

Originally known as Big Monster On Campus, Boltneck is a teen-horror-comedy in which Reynolds played a kooky version of Frankenstein's monster. Variety reports the movie wrapped production in 1998, mere months after Reynold's sitcom Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place made its TV debut. So, Reynolds was by no means a star yet, and it might not surprise you to learn he wasn't this freaky film's leading man.

Instead, Matthew Lawrence (the second oldest, but first cutest sibling on Brotherly Love) starred as Frank Stein (get it?), a nerdy outcast who pines for a pretty and popular girl (Christine Lakin) but is essentially invisible to her and her cool friends. Still, it's the nail-biting Goth kid named Karl (Reynolds) who has it worse. Sporting the wiry black hair and smudged guyliner of The Cure's Robert Smith, Karl is relentlessly picked on by the popular kids who favor tracksuits and toxic masculinity. When an arrogant jock (Justin Walker of Clueless) takes his bullying to extreme, Karl is pitched into an empty swimming pool and dies. Jumping at the chance to impress this killer clique, Frank offers to resurrect the dead dude through mad science. The only hitch is that Karl's brain is smashed to bits. So Frank uses a sinister spare part: the brain of an executed serial killer.

Presumably, hijinks ensue, but it's hard to say as Boltneck isn't legally available on streaming in the US—and little information on it can be found online, to the point where even its debut is hard to peg down. So, yeah, even for longtime Reynolds fans, this flop is a deep cut. (Well played, Deadpool.) 

But those who've bought it on DVD have given it rave reviews on Amazon. Josh L. writes, "I bought this movie without seeing it because I love straight-to-DVD campy horror, and I love Ryan Reynolds. It's fun, cheesy, and kept me entertained. It's not rated, but would be an easy PG-13 for mild violence and brief language. Not as good as Idle Hands (one of my faves), but in the same vein. Think Hocus Pocus with more adult humor."

Between that review and the promise of appearances by adored '80s character actors like Judge Reinhold and Shelley Duvall, we don't blame you if Boltneck has mysteriously made it to your online shopping cart. Just don't besmirch its name in front of Reynolds.

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