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10 June, 2012

"They Just Didn't Care!" Bobbie Looks at truly Bad Filmmaking


Year of Release—Film:  2009

Four friends, Junkie (Rikki Gagne), Geek (Jen Soska), her twin sister Badass (Sylvia Soska) and the Bible-thumping Jesus-loving Goody Two Shoes (C.J. Wallis), set out for a typical day only to find the body of a dead hooker in their truck.  Not knowing if the partying duo of Badass and Junkie had anything to do with the hooker’s death, they decide to dispose of the body themselves.  In their efforts to rid themselves of this problem they encounter a sleazy motel manager, two rogue cops, a chainsaw wielding Asian gang, drug addicts and a mysterious Cowboy pimp who wants to claim the body for himself.  And God as the cab driver.  Insanity ensues.

For the first five minutes of the movie, there is no spoken dialogue.  Then, when the twins begin to speak, I immediately wanted them to shut up!  Because every other word out of their mouths is “F*CK”!  And not for shock value but like a duo of 8th graders who just learned a dirty word and delight in it’s over-use.  Filmed in shaky-cam, it looks more like the camera was held by a Parkinson sufferer.  The Soska twins, while certainly energetic in style and form, give us characters about whom we do not really care much.  Four foul-mouths who seem to have two choices and always, without fail, make the wrong ones.  First case in point:
1. Any normal citizen who, on finding a dead body in their trunk, would call the police.  Their first thought would not be to run away and hide the body.  Any right-thinking person would certainly not take it to a motel room for the night!
Second case:
2. How do they know the victim was a hooker?  She looked like any other poorly dressed, drug carrying party girl to me!  And as the story does not indicate they knew this dead girl while she was still alive, how would they know her profession?
And most confusing:
3. Why does the script give the viewers a back-story about two young girls that seemingly has nothing to do with the plot!?!

Now for the positive points in the movie.  The special effects bloodshed and blood spatter were very professionally done.  When Junkie has her arm ripped off by a truck, the prosthetic was very realistic.  As was Geek’s torn-out eyeball.  But, that brings us back to the head-scratchers.  Wouldn’t these two grievously wounded women die of their wounds if they did not go to the emergency room?  Apparently not in Soska-land!  Junkie just has Good Two Shoes sew her arm back on with sewing thread and then smokes some weed while Geek places black electricians tape in a cartoonish X over her empty eye socket!  The acting, while not professional, was adequate.  And getting Carlos ‘EL MARIACHI’ Gallardo to do a cameo as God was a very nice touch!

However energetic this movie is, it suffers mostly from too many plot developments that are simply lazy and unconvincing.  The ironic absurdity the Soskas are attempting comes off as forced and unnatural and leaves the audience counting the minutes until this overly long movie ends.  The Soska twins in their debut movie needed to be more disciplined and that may have given DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK more of a chance to be a truly unique exploitation film and less of a one-joke micro-budget flick.  I’m hoping the Soskas learn from this mistake and we’ll be seeing more of them in the future so long as they learn from their mistakes.


Year of Release—Film:  2010

Three best friends, each a transsexual entertainer at Pinky La’Trimm’s (Kelexis Davenport) dance club, decide to go out together after work where two of them, Rachael Slurr (William Belli) and Emma Grashun (Erica Andrews) pick up Nacho (Kenny Ochoa) and Chuey (Gerardo Davila).  When the men tell them they have a friend, Emma and Rachael talk their reluctant friend, Bubbles Cliquot (Krystal Summers) into joining the party.  When they arrive at the party, there is a third man waiting for them.  He’s Boner (Tom Zembrod) who, the night before, had raped and beaten Bubbles after he discovers during sex that “she’s” a “he.”  And tonight, Boner’s gonna make all the “girls” pay—the ultimate price!  The transsexuals are severely beaten with a baseball bat and Bubbles escapes long enough to call friends Pinky and Tipper Sommore (Jenna Skyy) who rush over to help.  Instead, they are all over-powered and Bubbles is again cornered by Boner and brutally attacked.

Some weeks later, Bubbles awakens from a coma to hear the news that Emma and Tipper are dead.  After Bubbles is released from the hospital, all the remaining transsexuals go on a Zen trip with gay friend Fergus (Richard D. Curtin), where they all learn martial arts.  And plot their revenge against Bonner, Nacho and Chuey.  Setting a trap, Bubbles allows Boner, Nacho and Chuey to break into her apartment where Boner once again tries to “even the score.”  But, the violated vixens turn the tables and TICKED-OFF TRANNIES goes from exploitation camp to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE in less time than you can say “You go, girl!”

TICKED-OFF TRANNIES WITH KNIVES promises to be Tarantino-like action-exploitation flick but instead is a joyless romp.  It’s as if writer-director Israel Luna came up with a kick-ass title but then foundered about trying to match it’s minor promise.  The acting ability was there with it’s butt-kicking uber-women but the film never finds it’s mojo.  The transgendered lead characters are portrayed as cartoonish and unbridled and with material like that, Bubbles, Emma, Tipper and Pinky cannot do much with the junky script.  Tom Zembrod as Boner is quite convincing as the truly frightening transphobe but Nacho and Chuey are given no character development and are, therefore, only ciphers.  Luna’s attempts at lampooning the “grindhouse experience” fills the screen with blips, scratch marks and old “missing reel” breaks that only further confuses the audience and slows down the patchwork storytelling. 

Admittedly, I was suckered in by it’s clever title and grindhouse style poster as I’m sure most fans of Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez works will be.  But, in the end, I was disappointed.  That, said I’d still like to give a big shout-out to it’s leading actors Krystal Summers, William Belli, Erica Andrews, Jenna Skyy and ask that director John Waters please contact Kelexis Davenport’s agent.  He’s found a replacement Divine!  Here’s hoping we’ll see more of them and fine actor Tom Zembrod.  Only in much better movies with better scripts!


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