Quasi parents guide

Quasi Parent Guide

Crude and imbecilic, this tasteless film is gleefully violent, sinking so low as to use torture for laughs.

Overall D-

Hulu: In this riff on the traditional story of the hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasi is caught between the plots spun by the King of France and the Pope. (Disney+ in Canada.)

Release date April 20, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is Quasi rated R? The MPAA rated Quasi R for language, some crude/sexual content and violence

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

The hunchback Quasi (Steve Lemme) may have spent his childhood living in a bell tower, but he now makes a meagre living as a torturer working in King Guy’s (Jay Chandrasekhar) dungeons. He gained a small measure of fame by inventing the rack, but otherwise leads a lonely life punctuated by drinking sessions in the tavern with his fellow torturer and hut-mate, Duchamp (Kevin Heffernan).

A papal visit is in the offing and Duchamp buys numerous lottery tickets which offer the chance of a private confessional visit with His Holiness, Pope Cornelius (Paul Soter). Duchamp insists on giving one of the tickets to Quasi, who unexpectedly wins. Now he finds himself inadvertently embroiled in the plots of two powerful, murderous men and on the radar of the clever and beautiful Queen Catherine (Adrianne Palicki), who faces dangers of her own. As Quasi navigates the intrigue around him, he uncovers startling facts that will change his life and forever alter the kingdom of France. If Quasi’s to survive and thrive, he will need courage, intelligence, and loyalty – and more than his fair share of luck.

I’m not going to pull any punches here: it’s possible that Quasi is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s crude, juvenile, and burdened with terrible jokes and sight gags. The sets look cheap and the script feels recycled. There is nothing to get excited about in this medieval muckfest.

There is, however, plenty for parents and teachers to be concerned with in Quasi. The movie uses torture as a plot element, treating it as comic material. I don’t know about you, but I find torture horrifying and watching people have their feet burned with hot pokers or get stretched on a rack doesn’t make me laugh – not even when it’s accompanied by “witty” banter. There is also a scene where a man’s scrotum is nailed to a stump and his testicles are front and center on screen.

If the production’s violence isn’t appalling enough, there’s a cartload of crude sexual content in this flick. Aside from verbal innuendo, there are several manuscript pages that illustrate graphic sexual activities, some of which include violence. In one picture, a manacled man is hung upside down while a cat is inserted into his rectum (yes, you read that correctly). Other scenes show a man having sex with a woman and with an animal. (The script manages to add racism here by pointing out that the man is having sex with a Saracen woman – a Muslim – which is supposed to be an aggravating factor.) These bits of medieval porn clearly show both breasts and genitals. And, because this script can’t ever stray too far from violence, the movie also features a scene of adulterous sex taking place upon the rack – which is supposed to be titillating.

This imbecilic and nauseating film is so awful I can’t imagine who would be willing to watch it. It feels like it was written and produced by a group of drunk frat boys and maybe that’s the intended audience – intoxicated teens. Obviously, they don’t need the toxic messages that spew forth from the screen and neither does anyone else.

Directed by Kevin Heffernan. Starring Steve Lemme, Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release April 20, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Quasi

This trailer contains language that is not suitable for a family website.

Rating & Content Info

Why is Quasi rated R? Quasi is rated R by the MPAA for language, some crude/sexual content and violence

Violence: An illustrated manuscript features a rear view of a manacled man hanging upside down while a cat is inserted into his rectum. Another picture shows a woman being thrown off a bridge with a weight on her leg to ensure she drowns. People toss food and feces at a disabled man. People are heard screaming in a torture chamber. A torturer burns a prisoner’s feet with a hot poker. A man mocks torture victims. A man is introduced as a guinea pig for devising new forms of torture. Blood splatters on a character from an unseen act of violence. A king commands that someone be boiled in oil; he is later seen with burns and bandages on his face. In another scene he is ordered to be tarred and feathered and is seen after the deed is done.  A man is stretched on a rack. A king orders the death of a man’s children, which he countermands. Men hit and shove each other and wind up grappling on the floor. Several people are killed with bladed weapons and with bows and arrows. There are bloody injuries and wounds that spurt blood. A man plots to kill his wife. A man’s scrotum is nailed to a stump: his testicles are shown on screen and are stretched out to an impossible extent.
Sexual Content: There are several moments of crude sexual innuendo. There is a reference to a woman’s “rack”. There are several references to bestiality. There are graphic paintings of a man having sex in a variety of positions, and there are visible genitals and breasts. A woman wants her breast autographed. A cleric hopes for prostitutes. A couple embrace: adulterous sex is implied. A sexual interlude involves torture equipment. There is reference to a past gay relationship. A man’s testicles are clearly visible during a torture scene.
Profanity:  The film contains frequent use of profanity, including at least 17 sexual expletives, 16 scatological curses, 16 terms of deity, five minor profanities, and over 17 crude anatomical expressions. There are frequent moments of crude sexual innuendo.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol in social settings. A main character gets drunk.

Page last updated

Quasi Parents' Guide

What changes Quasi’s fate? What elements of that transformation are in his control and which are not? What turning points in the film could have led to a different outcome? How did Quasi’s character direct his choices in these moments?

Why do you think that torture is used as a comic element in the film? Is it ever acceptable to mine horrific historical events or practices for comedy? Do you think the filmmakers’ intentions make a difference? How do you determine intent?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

You can read the novel on which this film is based for free at Project Gutenberg. There it’s listed by its other name, Notre-Dame de Paris.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

For an animated take on Quasimodo’s story, you can watch Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s more family friendly but does contain content that could disturb some children.

Victor Hugo, who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, also wrote another classic novel which has been translated to the big screen – Les Miserables.

Another period classic that receives a comical twist is Rosaline, a farcical retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

For more medieval lunacy, you can watch Catherine, Called Birdy.

Fictional tales set in this era include Ladyhawke (which features an evil cleric) and The Princess Bride.