Friday, December 18, 2020

Girls Just Wanna Have Blood – review

Director: Anthony Catanese

Release date: 2019

Contains spoilers

If I told you that the original title of this was Teenage Bloodsuckin' Bimbos then it might offer you a measure of the film by title alone. However sometimes the film is greater than the measure predicts. One might look to films such as Mother May I Sleep with Danger and Bit for a lineage, but this would be the low budget trailer-trash cousin, and yet…

And yet I couldn’t help but enjoy the watch, despite some truly awful effect moments (and some pretty good ones considering the budget), despite the humour (and this is a comedy of course) aiming squarely into sleaze, despite pedestrian photography and despite some pacing issues.


The film starts with some sexually tinged pleading from female voices to a black screen. Then we see we are in a liquor store and the three young women are pleading with a guy to buy them beer. The girls are Trish (Destyne Marshai), April (Penny Praline) and Stacy (Gigi Gustin). He buys the beer and we see them all partying, pouring beer into his mouth as they dance round him in underwear. Trish seems bored – is he ready, she asks and he starts breaking out of the mood. They push him back in, declare him ready and attack. Yes, they are vampires.

Quentin Carpenter as Stink

Jessica (Amanda Renee) is woken by a baby crying. She tries to cover her ears but has to get up and sort her baby brother out. As she does (we never really see the baby, just swaddling) her mother, Lucy (Bettina Skye), stumbles drunkenly through the door, home from work (as she puts it). Her work is hanging around a biker’s chapterhouse and drinking until she can entice a biker and prostitute herself. Jessica, who has to get her mother to bed and gets a chest full of vomit for the effort, is left to look after her brother and (we discover later) is picked on at school. She steps outside to put out the trash and is insulted by neighbour Stink (Quentin Carpenter), in his (bad wig) mullet it is clear he fancies Jessica.

Jessica and the pram

That evening, her mother is back out to work and tells Jessica that dinner is in the (microwave) oven. She hopes to bring someone home so Jessica and her brother need to be scarce. She takes her brother out in his pram and is soon being tormented by the three vampire girls who seem to be calling her name. The distraction causes her to step in front of a car, the car slamming the breaks and the pram rolling off downhill. The driver, Val (Chrissy Cavallo) gets out and recognises Jessica from school – where she is the popular one and Jessica is picked on. Trish intervenes with Val, and April and Stacy retrieve the runaway pram.

Craig Kelly as Von Yelsing

So, we then meet the vampire hunter come to town - Boris Von Yelsing (Craig Kelly). With his faux-Eastern European accent he claims lineage to Van Helsing. The story then sees the girls helping Jessica get revenge on Val but the harmless prank is ruined by rain and it suddenly descends into a vampiric bloodbath at a sleepover. Jessica, drunk, agrees to turn. Regrets it sober but falls into a life where the four vampires live in her room and feed on bikers that her mom brings hone. The bodies are disposed of by Quan (Kirk Ponton) – a self-styled 'ghoul' who expects to be changed. However the vampire hunter is in town, Jessica get’s buyer’s regret and soon the missing bikers come to the attention of chapterhouse leader Blanks (Sam Meola).

The Girls

So, lore wise – turning owes a tad to the Lost Boys in that there is a (plastic) bottle of blood involved. Jessica has killed and fed but can still become human if the head vampire is killed (a piece of lore taken, in this, from a vampire blue movie that also featured holy sperm after testes are blessed). The ritual (nonsense done for fun, they admit) mentions the “myth” of Selene and Ambrogio – this, to me, was fascinating. For those that don’t know, this is a vampire origin story that I have heard people cite as authentically ancient but is actually a piece of creative writing. The fact that it 1) was subsumed by some on social media as a truly ancient myth (it really isn’t, coming in at around a decade old) and 2) now is creeping into films, shows a living and organic manipulation of the vampire genre.


Other bits of lore we get are the need to be invited in, a lack of reflection in mirrors/not captured on photographs, sunlight burns (and the results appear permanent), a stake through the heart causes the vampire to melt in a really bad animation and enough holy water causes them to explode (again not a great effect). Looking at that animation, yes, it is bad but it fits into the film’s aesthetic. That said some of the biting/blood effects work remarkably well. The photography is amateurish but does what it needs to do, the vampire girls all seem to be having fun but there is a pacing issue in the middle section where everything just seemed to drag all of a sudden. That said, the climax makes up for that, turning up a gear as bikers, nuns, vampire hunters and vampires have a showdown.

Kirk Ponton as Quan

I expected, as this started, to hate this. The sleaze comedy should have put me off, but the comedy hit around the right mark. Yes, sleazy but not descending so far. The sound was patchy in places and the direction shot by shot might have been nothing special, but Anthony Catanese managed to build a whole low budget aesthetic where the failings due to budget worked in context. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

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