One is no The Craft, one is no Drop Dead Fred, and one is no—well, I can’t say or it would spoil the third movie a bit. But are any of these flix worth a watch despite the fact that they don’t live up to the films they’re kind of derivative of?
SISTERHOOD OF DEATH (2012)
I’m always up for 3 bitchy witchy babes working their magic on unsuspecting dudes. Ivey Bronwen of Run, Hide, Die is perfect as the head witch of a trio that lures men to a warehouse with the promise of a burlesque show. But they’re actually bringing them there to feed them to demons in exchange for more powers. I was really expecting some trashy fun.
Thing is, this movie is all talk and no action for a majority of its running time! For the first 45 minutes, the first victim tries on different outfits in front of his mirror while the witches are busy doing some magic warm ups (which include a lesbian kiss). When the victim arrives at the warehouse, there’s a lot of boring ritual foreplay before a demon finally comes to chow on him.
At least the pace picks up after that and gets a bit darker. The next victim is disposed of quicker and more intensely, the first victim’s crazy religious fanatic mother visits a psychic medium to try to contact him from the beyond, and the three witches begin to turn on each other. But overall, it’s a very underwhelming movie that doesn’t standout in any particular aspect—it’s not sexy, not campy, not gory, not scary.
However, whether intentional or not, there’s an interesting, underlying queer element to the witches luring men in, strapping them to a chair, and feeding them to shirtless male demons. Particularly the first victim, who takes almost an hour to pretty up, sees visions of a beefy demon when he looks in the mirror, and lives with a religious mother that still spanks him regularly when he sins or thinks about sex.
MY BLOODY BANJO (2015)
I was expecting this one to be a quirky, crass, over-the-top piece of trashy cinema, and the opening scene set my expectations high…a guy’s bitchy girlfriend whips off the condom after sex and pours the contents all over his face (and in his mouth).
But the film segues into a rather long segment that’s essentially a warped Office Space, focusing mostly on how our protagonist is bullied to the extreme by everyone at work, including his girlfriend and his boss. It’s strictly exaggerated cruelty, and there’s nothing particularly funny, even from a dark humor perspective. And then, the protagonist apparently breaks his dick when being raped by his bitchy girlfriend. There’s blood-gushing crotch galore as the film progresses, and it becomes a chronic problem for him.
Humiliated that everyone at work finds out he broke his dick, the protagonist gets out a Ouija board and summons his childhood imaginary friend. You have to wonder why his imaginary friend looks like an even more demented version of Jim Carrey in The Mask.
Anyway, after that, this sloppy film turns into a brutal version of Drop Dead Fred. Really, that’s it. This movie is a more obscene, less cohesive rip-off of Drop Dead Fred. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see Lloyd Kaufman pop up in a cameo and for the movie to end with a shooting massacre in the office.
Just watch Drop Dead Fred instead.
FEAR, INC. (2016)
We’ve come to the point at which meta horror is referencing meta horror. Fear, Inc. offers plenty of nods to Scream while pretty much referencing all the 80s slashers Scream referenced. Although there are a few more contemporary mentions, like Saw, this is essentially a horror film that will probably speak more to Gen-Xers than younger horror fans.
For me personally, after opening with newly anointed scream queen Abigail Breslin in the intro kill, the beginning of the film was a bit slow. Lucas Neff of Raising Hope fame plays a horror junkie. While hanging out with his girlfriend (Caitlin Stasey of All Cheerleaders Die) and their friends (Stephanie Drake of Mad Men and Chris Marquette of Freddy vs. Jason, Infestation, The Rite, and Night of the Living Deb), he calls a company that puts you in a horror movie.
Before long, a hooded, masked killer shows up at their door. This is where the film becomes fun and funny, with our main man getting a kick out of all the horror clichés, dropping horror references left and right, and playing along with the killer, while his friends are freaking out as they’re chased around the house. Of course, the audience is on to the fact that all of this might very well not be part of an elaborate game, but the work of an actual killer.
And naturally, that’s when all the twists begin to hit. There are enough to keep things interesting—not to mention, enough to send the film off the rails. But at least they’re the rails of an okay roller coaster ride. The real flaw, if you can call it that, is in the fact that since all the horror in-jokes are aimed at fans who have been dedicated to the genre for at least four decades, it’s pretty much guaranteed that said audience is versed enough in all the tricks of the genre to guess every single plot twist that is thrown at us. Which is why the film feels the need to just keep piling them on.
Like I said in the opener of this blog, there’s a particular film (hint: it’s an 80s holiday horror film) that gave us the kind of twist we get here…and so this film tries to repeatedly outdo that very same twist, which we continually keep guessing will happen because we’ve seen that movie, and we can’t imagine the filmmaker would want to simply steal the same ending.