Archive for the 'Vamps' Category

17
Oct
15

Embrace of the Vampire (1995)

Alyssa Milano smolders coyly

Alyssa Milano smolders coyly

Have you ever been curious about Alyssa Milano’s breasts? If you answered ‘yes’ then boy, oh boy have I got the movie for you! Embrace of the Vampire is a one-stop shop for Alyssa Milano boobery that will have you tittering at its super lame plot that really only has one end-game in mind: exposing more of Alyssa Milano’s breasts.

Charlotte (Milano) is a college freshman still adjusting to life outside of the convent (yeah, really, she used to live in a convent, ok?). Her boyfriend Chris patiently (or sometimes not so patiently) awaits her 18th birthday, because he thinks that is when she’ll decide to give up her virginity. You know she’s a virgin because she’s always wearing white, she talks

Virgins wear white, right? And they love those knee-high thingies.

Virgins wear white, right? And they love those knee-high thingies.

about being a virgin all the time, and campus trollops make fun of her for being a virgin.

Her virginity makes her a target for more than just sorority sluts, though: you see, right around the corner from campus is a giant castle where a vampire (Martin Kemp) lives and he needs virgin blood, like, stat. So he infiltrates her dreams in hopes of planting seeds of doubt about her boyfriend and making her super horny so he can take advantage of her and they can live deadily ever after or something. For some reason, he only has three days to sink his fangs into some virgin blood or he dies forever, so let’s hope Charlotte’s a quick convert.

I mean, I don't know, I don't think this guy could turn me to the dark side. Not even with that sword tattoo thing.

I mean, I don’t know, I don’t think this guy could turn me to the dark side. Not even with that sword tattoo thing.

Usually when I write up a flick like this, I have to include a paragraph about how bad the acting is. But that’s just not the case here; everyone actually seems to pull their weight. Sure, they aren’t given much to work with, but no one is cringeworthy. Martin Kemp is kind of gross as the vampire, but he’s not a bad actor. And Milano is pretty solid, too, which makes me wonder why she had to resort to taking her clothes off to make cash in Hollywood. She’s a decent actress and probably deserves better. But hey, the mid-90’s were probably a great time to score wads of cash off the direct-to-video-not-quite-softcore market. Everyone likes easy money, I guess.

So, you know, Embrace of the Vampire is really good for three things: Alyssa Milano’s right breast, Alyssa Milano’s left breast, and solid, mindless, smutty entertainment. The

HOT CAMPUS GOTH ORGY SEX SEX ORGY! BAD DANCERS!

HOT CAMPUS GOTH ORGY SEX SEX ORGY! BAD DANCERS!

great thing about this movie is it has absolutely no illusions about what it is. It was made to show boobs, and it’s not afraid to embrace that fact. If you don’t know what you’re getting into when you start watching this, you’re clearly not paying attention. It’s not like one could accidentally happen upon a copy of this and think: “Oh, this looks like an interesting, innovative vampire movie.” No. No, you know exactly what you’re in for, and it delivers perfectly. I guess it is almost a teeny-weeny little bit arty because it’s kinda sorta an homage to Paul Morrissey’s Blood for Dracula, what with the whole Udo-Kier-lookalike-needs-virgin-blood thing. But yeah, no it’s not. It’s not arty. It’s just garbage. But it’s glorious garbage! Bonus: ultra-90’s goth vampire sex romp campus party! They didn’t have those at my college.

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01
Oct
15

Lifeforce (1985)

Probably five or ten years ago, I watched Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce for the first time. I only remembered two things about it: 1) I didn’t like it and 2) space vampires. Q had two copies of the film, one on videocassette, which supposedly had the superior cut, and the other on DVD; the inferior cut that I must have seen previously. So, in a move to free some space on our shelves, I agreed to buy the blu-ray which had both cuts, knowing I was also agreeing to give the film another go. But all that crap is boring, can we just get to the naked vampires already?

Space is the place

Space is the place

Like any good science fiction horror flick, Lifeforce starts off on a spaceship. This particular ship, the Churchill, is out exploring Halley’s comet. When they get close to the comet, they discover a giant alien spaceship and do what no one should ever do, but what they always do in movies like this: explore it. Inside, they find some desiccated alien life forms resembling bats, and three ‘sleeping’ humanoid forms suspended in some kind of enclosure. What else to do but bring the specimens back to the spaceship? After all, this is a mission of discovery.

NAKED VAMPIRE SPACE PODS

NAKED VAMPIRE SPACE PODS

Well, the next thing you know, no one has heard anything from the Churchill for some alarming amount of time. A rescue shuttle shoots on into space to see what the hell’s going on, only to find a burned out ship and the three alien pods. Not knowing what the hell happened, they take the pods back to Earth, and that’s when shit gets totally fuckin’ naked and weird. And naked. Did I mention naked?

Steve Railsback gets a tough break.

Steve Railsback gets a tough break.

Rewatching Lifeforce a second time, it is amazing to me I didn’t remember that nearly a third of the film consists of a Mathilda May walking around completely naked sucking the life out of people. Okay, to be fair, some of that time she is lying down naked. The other thing I found perplexing was why my initial reaction was so negative; turns out the film is actually pretty good – and no, it wasn’t because of the different cuts, because we accidentally watched the longer cut and I didn’t find myself squirming in my seat or anything remotely along those lines. No, the film actually moved at a pretty decent clip, and it kept me interested.

It's never a good thing when desiccated corpses walk the earth.

It’s never a good thing when desiccated corpses walk the earth.

So, yes, there is more to Lifeforce than Mathilda May’s tits. Steve Railsback plays a perfect shell-shocked victim; frantic eyes, desperate pleas, the whole bit. Bonus getting to see a bespectacled pre-TNG Patrick Stewart play a role that doesn’t come close at all to resembling the in-control Captain Picard. But probably what impressed me most were the special effects. There’s a few Pink Floyd light-show moments, and those are cool, but the really great stuff is watching May suck the life out of her victims, and in consequence watching their desiccated corpses search for lifeforce amongst the living. Ok yeah and it’s pretty cool when they explode, too.

05
Feb
15

Innocent Blood (1992)

innocentbloodposterThere is a lot of danger out in the world for poor old saps like Q and myself who still prefer to own physical media over its digital counterpart. The sloughing off of someone else’s excess assures the bloat of our own, from used media stores who dare to charge $7 for discarded DVDs to thrift stores who offer up videocassettes at 25 cents a pop, the world of garbage is our delicious oyster. I guess it goes both ways, though: there is some measure of relief knowing that, after watching a particularly underwhelming feature, we can take it somewhere and turn it into new-to-us gold! After dumping 20-or-so shitty flicks and getting a pretty penny in store credit, my ability and desire to discern a worthy purchase from a shitty gamble goes out the window, and the stack we take home often times ends up larger than the one we ditched! First-world hoarder problems, I suppose, but this is all the long way ’round to explaining why we ended up with a copy of John Landis’ Innocent Blood. The cover looked promising, and while Landis has his ups and downs, I thought for sure a vampire flick set in my former home of Pittsburgh was a shoe-in for a keeper.

Watch out boy, she'll chew you up.

Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up.

The film follows a charming French vampire named Marie (Anne Parillaud, also known as that chick from La Femme Nikita), who skulks around the seedier parts of Pittsburgh hoping to feed on the flesh of the evil mobsters who’ve made it their playground. See, Marie doesn’t believe in killing innocent humans, it’s the devils she’s after. When she happens upon local gangster Tony (Chazz Palminteri) she’s relieved to have found herself a meal for the night, and we get a glimpse into her rules: never leave evidence, and never make the mistake of allowing them to come back as vampires. After a long awaited feast, she cleanly takes care of Tony by blowing his head off by a shotgun.

Having acquired a taste for this particular type of wise guy, Marie sets her sights on the top of the food chain: the number one mob boss in all of Pittsburgh, Salvatore “The Shark” Macelli (Robert Loggia). Unfortunately, his taste for garlicky mussels throws her off her game and she doesn’t quite get the chance to finish him up. Leaving him for ‘dead,’ Marie flees the scene, and its aftermath sure confuses the shit out of undercover cop Joe (Anthony LaPaglia). It seems a blessing in disguise that all the mobsters he’s trying to nail are getting picked off, but he can’t shake the feeling that something supernatural is going on here; I mean, why are there bodies nearly completely drained of blood?

Frank Oz is greeted by quite a surprising corpse.

Frank Oz is greeted by quite a surprising corpse.

Marie’s carelessness with Macelli’s body of course turns into a boon for the mob: his re-animated corpse is seemingly indestructible! Being the opportunist most mob bosses are, he realizes the cops will be no match for him and his crew if they’re all turned into bloodsucking monsters. Now it’s up to Joe and Marie (oh yeah, somewhere along the way they met, fought, made-up and banged) to save the ‘Burgh from the undead.

Somehow, all of Innocent Blood‘s potential just never adds up to a very good movie. Sure, there are some moments that are slightly amusing, but for a film that wants much more to be comedy than horror, it’s never quite funny enough. The jokes just fall a little (or a lot) flat, and I can’t put the blame on the actors; I really think it is due to lackluster writing. Ultimately it’s rather a shame; I wanted very much to like this movie, but it was just… so… anemic.

Sam Raimi and a chicken bone.

Sam Raimi and a chicken bone.

There were times during (and even after) watching Innocent Blood that I thought it might be worth keeping in our collection. After all, genre cameos abound: Frank Oz, Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, Tom Savini and even Forry Ackerman all make appearances. Though they’re delightful, they’re not enough to make the film worthwhile. It seems that lame jokes, a star-studded cast and unimpressive computer-generated special effects don’t make a very good movie. I did find myself thinking this might actually be a good candidate for a reboot: a nice make-over by the right people could bring this plot line to its full potential. As it is, I can’t say I recommend it.

13
Nov
14

Fascination (1979)

Okay friends, this is it, the last post for this year’s 31 Days of Horror! Hey, it’s only a few weeks late, could’ve been worse, right? Our 31st horror pick for this year’s set is Jean Rollin’s Fascination. It should surprise no one acquainted with Rollin’s filmography it’s an erotic lesbian vampire thriller thing, with a whole lot of really good-looking scenes (and women) and a lot of shrugged shoulders as far as plot is concerned.

The movie starts off in an abattoir. Two genteel ladies are told consuming fresh ox blood will be good for their health. Though hesitant at first, the ladies eventually come to appreciate the refreshing tonic. But we’ll get back to that in a bit: first, let’s meet Marc.

Marc: bewildered, intrigued... fascinated?

Marc: bewildered, intrigued… fascinated?

Marc is a petty thief. He made a deal with a band of other petty thieves to do some petty thieving, but ended up stealing all the loot for himself. After unsuccessfully taking one of the other thieves hostage, Marc ducks into a seemingly empty château in hopes of hiding from them until sunset, when he can escape under the cover of night. Marc quickly learns the château isn’t empty at all: two ladies-in-waiting, Eva and Elizabeth, are preparing the place for the owners to return. And by preparing the place, I mean playing with knives and running around naked and stuff.

Eva and Elizabeth... so pretty!

Eva and Elizabeth… so pretty!

Marc tries to scare the ladies into submission, but it seems they’re more turned on than scared. So like any red-blooded French thief, Marc goes with the flow. Elizabeth is more than happy to submit to his whims, but Eva seems genuinely taken with the man. The two keep warning him that at midnight, death herself will arrive. Marc is nothing but amused by this, and he decides to hang around and see what all the fuss is about.

Definitely the most striking image from the Fascination.

Definitely the most striking image from the Fascination.

Right on cue, a bevy of sexy ladies show up! Marc doesn’t know exactly what kind of club he’s found himself surrounded by, but it seems like he’s hit the jackpot! You and I of course might suspect this meeting might have something to do with the abattoir from the beginning of the film. Sure enough, turns out these ladies are thirsty for human blood, and Marc is the right prey at the right time for them to feast upon. But things are complicated by Eva’s genuine feelings for him: will she betray her coven of witches to save his life?

Things didn't end well for this pretty little lady thief.

Things didn’t end well for this pretty little lady thief.

Fascination is one pretty picture after another; I took so many stills from it and wish I could use them all. It just looks absolutely beautiful. The plot is sort of interesting, I suppose, but I didn’t really care whether or not Marc survives, or what becomes of his relationship with either lady, or what these mysterious women actually plan on doing to him or each-other. I cared more about what they were wearing (or not wearing, I guess). This movie, like other Rollin movies I’ve seen, is all about style. If Fascination has something to say, I’m not sure at all what it is.

Sexy ladies in see-through nighties meet up for an annual blood-sucking party? Who wouldn't want to see this?

Sexy ladies in see-through nighties meet up for an annual blood-sucking party? Who wouldn’t want to see this?

I will admit to having fallen asleep to Rollin’s Rape of the Vampire, so I can’t make a legitimate comparison between the two films except to say Fascination kept the plot moving along enough to keep me awake! Aside from those two, the only other Rollin I’d seen was Living Dead Girl, which I remember digging a whole hell of a lot but it’s been too long now to make a real call about it. Suffice it to say Fascination was good enough to get me pumped for watching the other Rollin we have in our collection, and I think it’s probably a safe starting point for anyone who’s down with sexy French lesbian vampires with very flimsy excuses for being nude.

10
Nov
14

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Guess what? We are well into November and I’m still writing up horror posts from last month’s 31 Days of Horror! If only they paid me to write up this crap, perhaps I wouldn’t be so behind. Unfortunately, they (whoever they might be) don’t, so forgive me for my passé posts. Anyway, back to the matter at hand: horror movies. For day 30 we watched Scream and Scream Again, one of only two films to star the powerful horror trifecta of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing!

Vincent Price as some mysterious "doctor."

Vincent Price as some mysterious “doctor.”

With such a beefy cast, you’d think the movie would be excellent. I’m not saying Scream and Scream Again sucks, but it isn’t amazing. And just because all three of these horror bigwigs are in this movie doesn’t actually mean they’re in it a lot. I think Cushing gets maybe five minutes of screen time (and why is it I feel he always gets the short end of the stick?). Lee gets a tad more, but not much. Price is in it the most of the three, but even still, his role is only one third of a batshit, tangled plot that finally converges within the last 10 minutes or so of the film.

Interrogation

Interrogation

I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to synopsize, because the shit doesn’t make much sense anyway. There are three separate plot lines. In the first, a runner finds himself mysteriously in a hospital, and every time he wakes his missing another limb. Somehow this is related to a sexy vampire-type who is prowling London’s mod clubs, sucking the life out of his pretty prey. Then there is a madman bigwig from some weird totalitarian country obviously up to no good who keeps Vulcan-nerve-pinching everyone to get what he wants. Actually, I guess there’s a fourth plot line: Vincent Price’s acid bath. Most of the movie happens before we have any idea how the plots intertwine, which is okay, I guess, but there’s no slow reveal: it all seems kind of thrown together at the last minute, almost as if it should have been an anthology but they changed their mind too late in the game.

A nurse so pretty she'll take your limbs away!

A nurse so pretty she’ll take your limbs away!

Scream and Scream Again is just kind of baffling, and frankly it should have (and could have easily) been better. That being said, it offers some great imagery and as always, Vincent Price is fun to watch; I just wish he was in it more. Yes, Lee and Cushing are usually pretty great also, but they’re just not even given a chance to do a damn thing here, it’s almost as if they’re not in this movie at all. And, you know, I wish the thing made a little bit of sense. Just even like a tiny bit. In the end, this movie is really just a pretty piece of mystifying film, which isn’t bad, but… meh?

23
Oct
14

Near Dark (1987)

As many of my horror-movie-hound compatriots likely do, I tend to haunt used media shops. I can spend a good hour or two scouring any used DVD section looking for stuff I’ve never heard of or stuff I’ve always wanted to see, but never had the chance to. I think I ran into Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, our selection for day 21 of 31 Days of Horror, two or three times before I finally decided we should own it. I’d seen it once before, and my first reaction to it was overwhelmingly positive; somehow as time passed it wasn’t positive enough to convince me the DVD was worth $11. But after seeing it so many times, hovering around that $11 mark, I decided to pick it up. I’m glad I did, but maybe not for the reasons you think.

Mae's mysterious eyes are hiding something...

Mae’s mysterious eyes are hiding something…

Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is a small-town farm boy. He spends his night carousing around in his truck with his cowboy friends, but his tendency towards romance seems to separate him from the rest of the roughnecks. That’s at least how it seems to Mae (Jenny Wright), a vision under fluorescent lights suckin’ on a soft-serve, lookin’ all come-hither. It’s not long before Caleb woos her into his truck and the two spend the whole night together, Mae pointing out the dark sky in deep admiration. But the fun stops short when the sun starts to rise; Mae gets tense and demands Caleb take her home. He promises he will, but not until she gives him a kiss. She does, and of course it’s a kiss he won’t soon forget: a passionate nip on the neck that draws blood. After the tender love bite, Mae runs off, and Caleb seems mystified by her strange action. Things get worse when he tries to run home in the sunlight, smoking through the farm and alerting his father Loy (Tim Thomserson) and sister Sarah. “Caleb looks sick” she says curiously, right as a roughed-up Winnebago comes tearing through the farm, lifting Caleb into its cab.

Meet your new family!

Meet your new family!

What started off as a budding romance has now turned into a living nightmare; Caleb is now one of “them,” this rag-tag group of dirty, desperate thieves and murderers who hide from the sun. They consider themselves a “family.” Mom and Dad roles are played by Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein) and Jesse (Lance Henriksen). Their two “sons” are both psychotic; Severen (Bill Paxton) a full-grown sociopath ready to toss Caleb out into the sun right then and there, and Homer, an ancient creature trapped in a young boy’s body with all the bitterness to prove it. Then there’s Mae, the newest addition to the family; someone Homer thought would be a good companion for himself. Homer is most disturbed by Mae’s wish to create her own companion, seeing it as a slight. In short, no one in this group is on Caleb’s side but Mae, and he has an awful lot to prove if he wants to survive with his new family. The only way to do that, surely, is to go out and kill. Will Caleb pass muster?

One of my favorite shots from Near Dark; our nighttime family from afar.

One of my favorite shots from Near Dark; our nighttime family from afar.

I have to say, there’s a lot about Near Dark I like. There are a lot of beautiful shots to feast your eyes upon; the American West provides an interesting setting for the creatures of the night. But probably my favorite aspect of the film is how Bigelow demystifies these animals. I spend a lot of time watching vampire movies wondering how they manage to afford “living;” surely the aristocratic vampire’s bank account would eventually run out after centuries of living; I mean, hello, inflation and everything, right?! But here it’s no secret where these monsters’ money comes from: their victims. Their existence is much more tenuous than Count Dracula’s; they don’t have the luxury of retreating into their castle’s cold, earthen basement for their daytime slumber, instead they have to book hotels before dawn and line the windows with aluminum foil to avoid going up in smoke. I really like this view of the vampire.

A bloody Bill Paxton beckons!

A bloody Bill Paxton beckons!

Additionally, there are some really great performances to behold here. Henriksen is, unsurprisingly, really fantastic at playing a veteran vampire. His expressions are usually cool and collected, but when he gets pissed, hot damn, he is pissed! This role was practically made for him. And now, as much as it might pain me to say it, I have to admit that Bill Paxton is so perfectly Bill Paxton that I think I actually shouted “I don’t hate Bill Paxton… I LOVE Bill Paxton” while watching this movie (this is the aforementioned reason I’m glad to have picked up this flick to add to my collection, lord help me). Seriously, this is a real revelation for someone who has refused to watch Frailty for the longest time because of his involvement in the film. Severen is a heartless, bloodthirsty killer way off his rocker. I can’t tell you how many bulgy-eyed stills I got of Paxton from this flick. He is so deliciously over-the-top I couldn’t help but laugh, and admit that the man’s got a certain charm. Unfortunately, our main characters are played by the weakest links. Either that, or the material they’re forced to work with doesn’t give them a lot of room to be interesting or have any fun.

A nighttime tryst like no other, Mae feeds Caleb under the oil derricks...

A nighttime tryst like no other, Mae feeds Caleb under the oil derricks…

And that sort of brings me to what I did not like about Near Dark: the treacly romance. Oh god, it is eyeroll-inducing. Mae and Caleb’s romance is sweet, sure, but Jiminy Crickets, Bigelow lays it on way too thick. I don’t think Wright and Pasdar’s chemistry was nearly enough to convince me that Caleb’s character would willingly give up his human family (the one he obviously loves) for these judgemental assholes Mae runs around with. And Mae’s constant reveries involving the moon and the stars make me want to barf. When we first started watching it I was ready to apologize to Q for suggesting we put the damn thing on. Luckily the movie more than makes up for these mawkish missteps, but be forewarned: it’s a little gushy.

What is so interesting, or maybe confusing, about Near Dark is its extremes. Those lovey-dovey scenes between Mae and Caleb are so tender and sweet, and ten minutes later we are violently jolted out of our romantic stupor as we witness Mae’s crew partake in one of the bloodiest bar brawls I’ve ever seen on film. I’m not exactly sure what Bigelow’s trying to say there, if

Lance Henriksen as Jesse, papa vamp.

Lance Henriksen as Jesse, papa vamp.

anything at all. Perhaps it is meant to highlight precisely why Mae sought out a new, tender-hearted companion: she can’t live off the violence alone, as the rest of her family seems to be able to do without issue. Either way, it is easy to see how Bigelow started with a film like Near Dark and ended up making Point Break: both are very serious about their content. Sure there are a few jokes here and there in both films, but neither are campy in the least. I think that works very well, somehow, for Point Break. After all these years of loving the shit out of that movie, I still haven’t exactly figured out why it works so well. But I think Near Dark loses a little something in all its seriousness. That being said, it is still a very good vampire flick. It is certainly one not to be missed by anyone who is a fan of the genre.

17
Oct
14

All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

allcheerleadersdieposterFor day 16 of 31 Days of Horror, we picked Lucky McKee’s All Cheerleaders Die. This one somehow managed to totally skirt my radar; I hadn’t even heard of it until Q suggested we mine the Netflix instant queue to make up for the fact that the movie we really wanted to see that night, The Babadook, had sold out (though I was pissed, at least people are still going to the movies). I haven’t seen a lot of McKee’s stuff, but I loved Maylot, and his offering for Masters of Horror, Sick Girl was a bright shining light in a series that was more often dull than not. So, I was excited to give this one a shot.

When the film started, I thought we were going to be in for a rough, unpleasant ride. Our main girl Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) is filming her best friend Lexi to find out what it’s like to be the captain of the cheerleading team, evidently for some school project. As stereotypes might predict, Lexi is an over-confident, air-headed bitch. Why Maddy, an apparently thoughtful, dorkish girl is her best friend I still don’t quite understand. Anyway, during filming one practice while Lexi is trying to show us her best stuff, the team drops her straight on her head, and she snaps her neck and dies. I worried the whole movie was going to be seen through Maddy’s lens, but thankfully after Lexi’s accident (or was it?) the movie carries on (mostly) without Maddy’s camera.

Maddy doesn’t believe Lexi’s death was accidental, so she aims to spend her senior year destroying the lives of those she holds responsible. The two who will feel her wrath most are Terry, Lexi’s ex-boyfriend and captain of the football team, and Tracy, the new captain of the cheerleading team and Terry’s new squeeze. A smart and resourceful girl, Maddy knows the best way to wreak havoc is from within, so she tries out for the cheerleading team. After all, everyone knows there’s an open spot…

For the first half or so, All Cheerleaders Die is a seemingly normal movie. We know from the title alone that something is going to go horribly, terribly wrong with Maddy’s plot, but I’ll be damned if I could’ve guessed the direction McKee would take this flick. Turns out Maddy’s obsessive, Wiccan ex-girlfriend Leena is not willing to let her go, despite the potential consequences. After an altercation between the football team and the cheerleaders causes a terrible car accident in which all the girls die, Leena whips out her Wicca and brings the girls back to life with magic stones. But resurrection comes at a terrible price, and the girls turn into blood-sucking zombie vampire things.

Boy oh boy, people seem to hate this movie! I read a few reviews after watching it and I’ve got to say, I don’t understand where all the vitriol and disappointment comes from. Since when did we start taking horror-comedies so damn seriously? I thought it was pleasantly surprising, original and funny. Looks like only 40% of viewers agree with me. A lot of folks seem turned off by the juxtaposition of the film’s apparent feminist plot with its objectification of the female characters. Sure, there’s an awful lot of scenes with women wearing revealing cheerleading uniforms, but my guess is that’s because they’re cheerleaders. Anyway, I feel like the baring of female flesh implicates the audience far more than it does the director; it’s almost teasing us, daring us to admit we’re a little turned on when we know we shouldn’t be. When Tracy walks into a stranger’s home in her underwear begging for something to eat, both the man and the audience are horrified by her newfound hunger and her unabashed urge to sate it, while also having our own base animal urges tickled. Nothing is neither more frightening nor hot than an empowered young woman, no?

I also don’t think the naysayers give enough credit to McKee’s treatment of stereotypes. At first the cheerleaders do seem pretty damn vapid, but I ended up sympathizing with all of them by the end of the movie. Just like everyone else they each have their own unique set of fears, hopes, dreams and idiosyncrasies. They’re just fucked-up high-school kids like everyone else at their school, it’s just easier for them to hide behind the assumptions the rest of society’s already made about how they should behave. I think it is fair to say that Maddy comes to the same realization as the rest of us do; these bitches aren’t so bad after all. My one beef is how unceremoniously most of them are dispatched by the end of the film. I suppose the purpose of that is to show us how our society is structured in such a way that the strongest man will always beat out the strongest of women, even if they are blood-sucking monsters. The men are treated far less kindly, I’d say; Terry’s captain is one cruel mother fucker, and his “boys” are pretty much trapped under his yoke. The one sympathetic boy tries to leave the team, but is forced to relent as Terry beats the shit out of him. There’s pretty much no redemption for the men in All Cheerleaders Die.

This is, of course, one of those movies that only a small group of people will appreciate. It is irreverent, offensive, gory and exploitative. It certainly isn’t meant for mass-consumption; a run-of-the-mill cheerleader slasher this is not, and thank the Wiccan gods for that. Fair warning that some of the special effects are quite cheesy (those glowing stones aren’t fooling anyone), but I’m willing to forgive that small piece of the puzzle. I found this so surprisingly delightful, and it gives me hope that all those bad reviews I read of The Woman are written by the same people who wrote bad reviews of this flick. At the very least, if this sounds appealing to you in any way, shape or form it is worth giving it a chance; you’ll at least have something to think about.




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