Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #159
Number of Views: One
Release Date: March 28, 2012
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 104 minutes
Directors: Michael Hoffman Jr., Aaron T. Wells
Producer: Ryan Dee, Michael Hoffman Jr
Screenplay: Ryan Dee, Michael Hoffman Jr, Meghan Jones
Special Effects: Shelby McIntyre, Marcus Koch: Oddtopsy FX (uncredited)
Cinematography: Shaw Hawkins Burrows, Richard Dine
Score: Ryan Copt
Editing: Michael Hoffman Jr
Studio: Spy Global Media, Spring Break Massacre
Distributor: Spy Media Group, E1 Entertainment
Stars: Katie Peterson, Shea Stewart, Brandy Whitford, Caley Hayes, Ryan Keely, Krystyna Ahlers, Bruster Phoenix Sampson, David Ausem, Julie Kendall, Vincent Chimato, Jerry Lawler Jerry Lawler, Al Sapienza, John McGlothlin, Jason Kesser, Gregg Goldsbury, Maxwell Terlecki, Linnea Quigley, Shawn C. Phillips, Lester ‘Beetlejuice’ Green, Sal Governale and Ron Jeremy as himself
Suggested Audio Candy
Cyndi Lauper “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”
Okay Grueheads, time to read between the lines. If y’all grew up on movies such as Sorority House Massacre, Student Bodies and Slumber Party Massacre then read and enjoy. If your preference is for something a little more high-brow then there’s nothing, and I mean nothing, to see here. It really is as simple as that, the title Girls Gone Dead pretty much says it all here… with a bloody megaphone. This is an unashamedly old school T&A stalkfest and love letter to the eighties slasher apex, making absolutely no bones about it.
Keeper sits on the fence ordinarily with these late night horror affairs. While not adverse to a dash of campy slasher, it needs to veer the right side of downright parody or else I find it all a little puerile. Now let’s not get it twisted, I have a soft spot for eighties spoofs Pandemonium, National Lampoon’s Class Reunion and the like, but we are thirty years down the road and those days are way behind us now. Michael Hoffman Jr. and Aaron T. Wells’ film walks the line like an inebriated bum with club foot, but manages to put one foot before the other reasonably well for the most part.
It seems unprofitable supplying any kind of synopsis. Instead let’s just say that we are treated to a spread of buxom barbies for the picking and just about all of them get their tops off. Already I see a particular demographic whose appetites will be whetted. There is nothing gratuitous here, just a plethora of pinging bikini tops and enough nipples to breast feed a thousand screaming infants and still follow it up with a shot glass of creamy lactose. Par for the course for a film of its ilk.
Hoffman Jr and Wells aren’t ever looking to recreate the wheel and do absolutely nothing with the formula which hasn’t been done to death countless times already. They are realistic about Girls Gone Dead’s selling points and come up trumps when it comes to grue. Using almost entirely practical make-up effects, they get their rocks off with a number of gory kills and some savage injury detail. This flick delivers the goods with an elevated body count and plentiful gushing crimson. Titties… check… Body count… check.
They procure a number of familiar faces for the festivities and these include Queen of The B-Movie Linnea Quigley who gives a wonderfully kooky turn as Aussie bartender Willie and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler as the archetypal ‘two steps behind’ sheriff. In addition we have Howard Stern’s sidekicks Sal and Beetlejuice, Shawn C. Phillips and king of the ding-a-ling Ron Jeremy as king of the ding-a-ling Ron Jeremy. He even pops up after the credits with his hands on an entirely different organ.
It is hard to knock any of the other fodder for their performances as this clearly isn’t A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They do exactly what it is they are requested and that comprises of drinking copious amounts of alcohol, being utterly obnoxious, making bad choices, flashing their flesh satchels and ultimately screaming like banshees. It helps that they all have that Playboy Bunny quality to them and, whilst not fine thespians, they genuinely appear to have some chemistry going on between them. I would wager Girls Gone Dead had a rather rambunctious shoot with these kittens roaming around scantily clad and Beetlejuice and Sal sniffing around their trailers. Not to mention the Ron the Dong of course.
I do have one most unlikely bugbear and that is in the running time. 80-85 minutes ordinarily sees us wrapped up and on to the next but this baby stretches its 104 minutes taut like a diaphragm. It’s expected for low budget productions to struggle padding out their screen time but it’s far less regular for a piece like this to overstay its welcome. Trimming those twenty minutes would’ve tightened this up considerably and that is a definite opportunity passed up by the directors.
Meanwhile the whodunnit element doesn’t fare well and, by the time ‘the big reveal’ is upon us, we just want to watch that blade carve through some more bronzed cadavers. Thankfully the lemmings just keep on marching like moths to the flame. The blaze in question comes courtesy of a medieval battle axe and is wielded by a curious cherub/monk-hybrid who flits about with mild intent but isn’t aided by the non-presence of on-screen tension.
There’s a bottom-line with pieces like Girls Gone Dead and, it adheres through copious T&A and grue. There’s nothing to live on in the memory but, by the same token, nothing excruciating about the prospect of sitting down with it a second time and, should that be considered something of a seal of approval by me, then so be it.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 5/10
Grue Factor: 4/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: No wonder Beetlejuice’s peepers bulge so. A deluge of bouncing bettys adorn our screen and, on that count, we have pay-dirt. As for grue, well there are beheading, flesh gorges, dismemberment, removed organs and lashings of spilt giblets so both bases are more than covered.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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