Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Bloody Indulgent

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2015
Images from the Internet

Bloody Indulgent (aka The Bloody Indulgent)
Written and directed by Ken Roht
Tree of Shade / Orphean Circus
Chemical Burn /World Wide Multi Media
90 minutes, 2014 / 2015

Let me just put this out there for the moment for you to sink your teeth into: a vampire musical with sex and gore and zombies galore.

This certainly isn’t the first horror musical. First one I can think of is Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies (1964), but there’s also the likes of Phantom of the Paradise (1974) and if you want to go that far, The Phantom of the Opera (2004). There’s probably more, and feel free to add them in the comment section below, but at this time of night that’s all I got. However, is it a coincidence that all of them were made in a year ending in “4”? I think not!!!

Kevin Richardson
So getting back to the review: Todd (Brandon Heitcamp), the “hero” of the story, has just been turned into a vampire against his will by his supposed friend (aka doucebag) Burt (Kevin Richardson, the tall goateed soprano guy from the Backstreet Boys, or as I like to call them, zzzzz). Needless to say, does he dump the vamp? No, they both go to their favorite low-end strip club where Todd’s girlfriend, Connie (Diva Muffin Zappa…yep, Frank’s baby girl) is a very bad stripper (and singer). She gets pissed that Todd is now a dark walker and in a fit of anger turns the crowd against Burt with a “Kill the Vampire” song. When it ends, Burt sings in that Ted Neely high-pitched rock way that brings everyone back to his side, just in time for Todd to bite Connie, who likes being a neck sucker. The comic, emcee and club owner, Sid (star of a multitude of A-grade daytime soaps, Brian Gaskill), get bit by Burt and dies, and that raises an army of strippers to seek revenge, let by Sid’s girlfriend/stripper, Dori (the very cute Laura Martin in a huge, awful ‘80s rock wig).

To hide out, Burt and Todd hightail it to a photo shoot at Candyland where the photographer Clare (joy to watch, scene stealing Sharon Ferguson) is also a drug dealer. Apparently, Burt not only indulges in blood, but he’s a bit of a connoisseur of addictive powders (reminds me of the British character from the fun 2003-04 cable show Dead Like Me).

Todd, in the back
This comedy musical is enjoyable, but completely insane. It definitely has that “some people will find this a camp classic” written all over it. So, let’s look at different aspects of it.

First of all, the music by Paul Goldowitz ranges from really good angry rock songs, to very, very lame Broadway incidental songs. The singing also ranges from decent, such as Richardson’s upper register high-pitched rock notes to, well, you might want to hold your ears when Diva is – er – singing.

Surprising to me, Richardson holds his own. If you haven’t guessed, boy bands are not my thing (though I did come up with the perfect 1990s boy group cover band name: 98o ‘N the Backstreet Boys Sync; it makes more sense if you read it aloud), but he definitely was in control of the action as a force, which both not expected by me, and I was grateful because he really center the action. On the other hand, it should be noted that for me the big flaw in the film is that Burt really isn’t that likeable. For the antagonist, you either want him completely heinous or an anti-hero. Here, Burt is just a big asshole.

Connie (Zappa) and her zombie pals
Every single character here is just plain nuts, from the vampire zombie Connie to the vampire hunter and his wife, to the strippers and their very gay backup dancers. Even the somewhat normal characters, such as the two other zombies, Todd, the photo shoot lackey, and Sid’s vengeful girlfriend, really are certifiable.
I mentioned the word camp before, and it really does apply to this, and not just to the extreme sissyboys and the brother and sister played by the same actor, but the whole stripper vs. vampire in a musical milieu is right up there as a retahded (as they say in Boston) cousin of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1976); and I get the feeling, in part, that is not lost on the makers of the project.

Taking place essentially in a 24 hour period, the pacing is brisk and never slows down. This is largely thanks to the off-beat, drug-addled, gory humor. And as bad as she is a vocalist, Zappa really is a lynch-pin to the comedy of the film, with good timing and acting. This leads to another comedic turn by two cognizant, flesh-eating zombies, who are a very nice touch, and have some great dialog readings.

Angry strippers and backup dancers
The camp sort of nullifies the stereotypical gay aspects and even the “Damn, now that I’m a vampire, that means I’m bisexual” whine that crops up occasionally. The four gay characters (said male dancers and two models at the photo shoot) are over-the-top girlymen. However, there is a strong misogyny running through this. Once you get past the strong “kill the vampire” strippers/hookers, they tend to be either bitches (the office manager for Clare), or sex objects (Clare’s assistant) and models who are stoned and dressed in 18 Century Paris couture and powdered wigs. Not counting Bert, there are some women who are over the top batshit crazy, such as Clare, Connie, and one of the strippers, Coco (Tracey A. Leigh), who loses her mind when she gets a hold of a pistol. Some might say they are strong characters, but others may raise an eyebrow.
So yes, this is a silly musical that I actually watched three times because it’s also funny in its sheer audacity and ridiculousness. There is also decently looking blood galore throughout. Take that as you wish.

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