“Zombie Women of the S.S.”
It’s nice to see a horror movie which has women on both sides: not just the “final girl” trope, but as the entirely deranged pair of antagonists. This is equality at work, folks! In this case, the villains are sisters Sadie (Grendle) and Katie (Derryberry), who were apparently left orphaned by the unexpected death of their father who was… Well, if I’d to guess, I’d say he was trying to continue the work of Nazi scientists, with the aim of creating an army of undead slaves through the use of a resurrection serum, who can then be used to bring about the Fourth Reich. I’m kinda assuming this, from the use of copious public-domain Nazi footage during the opening credits, and the swastikas hanging around their desert bunker. Meanwhile, peppy student Piper (Wilder) is starting at college, and before long is exploring her sexuality with fellow student, Ashley (Corona). The pair head out into the desert, but a roadside encounter with our psycho sisters kicks off the horror part of proceedings, with Piper in particular being stalked, captured and dragged into the Naziettes lair where even worse things await.
There are two main problems here: one stylistic, and the other an issue of pacing. The former is the decision to switch into high-contrast black and white, when it first becomes clear to Piper, the trouble she’s in. While it certainly adds impact to the that moment, the film-makers apparently forgot to flip the switch back on their camcorder, and any impact is lost. You give your film a title like Blood Soaked, and we expect to see… well, blood. Here, however, it might as well be chocolate sauce, as used by Alfred Hitchcock in Psycho. That’s when you can see it at all, as the high-contrast mentioned tends to wash everything into the two ends of the spectrum: all or nothing.
Equally problematic, is the film taking too long to get to a point where it is even attempting to justify the title. It barely runs an hour between opening and the end credits rolling, which should be an incentive to get cracking and have things moving on at a fast pace. We do not need to see Piper showing up to college with her mom. We do not need to see Piper and Ashley meeting and building their relationship. We do not care. I’d have been a lot more interested to see what Sadie and Katie were up to over the decade after their father died, though quite how such a pair of certifiable loony tunes were able, not just to survive but flourish, escapes me. In the end, it commits the single, unforgivable sin of both original grindhouse cinema and modern films which attempt to reproduce its philosophy: it’s mostly dull. By the time the mayhem eventually showed, I was already trying to figure out if I could do household chores, while leaving this on in the background. Never a good sign…
Dir: Peter Grendle
Star: Heather Wilder, Rachel Corona, Hayley Derryberry, Laina Grendle