Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bloody Nightmares #7: Catholic Ghoulgirls (2005)

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It's fully possible that i've never seen a film that is so much less than the sum of its parts. Catholic Ghoulgirls squanders whatever goodwill it may have built through absolutely pitiful direction and editing, leaving very little worthy of praise. Director Eamon Hardiman proves to be an incompetent filmmaker, even compared to some of the meager talents featured in this collection. From lighting, to sound, to make-up, to acting, to writing and nearly everything in between, this is simply a poor effort.

Now I certainly didn't go into this film looking to beat up on it, so let's start with the good. I was impressed by the soundtrack throughout, composed almost entirely of local licensed punk music. In particular the opening credits song and a fun cover of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" make welcome appearances. Also, one character kills a hipster zombie for wearing a Thundercats t-shirt despite not growing up in the 80s, which I took as a fun comment on the Hot Topic crowd. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the film straining for pop culture credibility by making superfluous references to G.I. Joe, The Littles, Turbo Teen and Stephen King's The Dark Tower which come off as sad attempts at geek legitimacy and have no relevance on the plot.

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And speaking of the plot? Kasey, Becky and Maria are three Catholic.. umm.. Ghoulgirls who wear the requisite garb and hang around in alleys while their male friends sit around debating pop culture until they are attacked by zombies. Kacey's boyfriend Jake escapes and picks her up in his car suggesting that the two leave town because of the unexpected living dead problem. She's hesitant at first, but he gives her until sundown to prepare before dropping her off at her house. She gets a samurai sword somehow, and they all eventually end up at a bar (with a visible advertisement looking for zombies for this very movie in the background) until the boys get eaten and the girls end up in a basement. Please God make it stop.

Now I know what you may be thinking. Catholic schoolgirls with swords killing zombies? Sounds great! But let me assure you that incompetence reigns over even the cheapest thrills in this film. Dialogue is a garbled mess, often being drowned out by the soundtrack music or even ambient noise. The editing is so bad that there are visible black frames between cuts that appear throughout the entire duration. The action scenes are totally inept, the gore is non-existent besides some terrible fake blood, and the photography looks like someone's last known photo. It rings completely of a filmmaker relying on a concept and a title to do his work for him, and there's simply no excuse for this level of laziness.

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And I haven't even mentioned the tasteless "satirical" Jew-bashing opening to the film (featuring the worst looking newscast since A Candle In The Dark) which makes no sense in the context of the film, as is never mentioned again. I suppose it may be some connection to Escape From The Dead, apparently the precursor to this film, though i'm not exactly chomping at the bit to check it out. Hardiman may have been aiming for the unabashed bad-taste of a Troma film, but comes off instead as simply hateful and ignorant.

Also, I just noticed that the title card at the end of the credits has the film's title spelled incorrectly. What a piece of garbage.

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Catholic Ghou(l)girls is presented in a terrible looking full-screen transfer, but I can't imagine it's Mill Creek's fault. This thing just looks and sounds awful.

There are chapter stops included. I recommend skipping through them as quickly as possible.

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Catholic Ghoulgirls is the worst sort of trash, preying on fans of genre cinema looking for some fun and putting in as little effort as possible to provide it. The cast are obviously game, but the production work is so poor that it ends up being nearly unwatchable. Stay far away from this one.

3 comments:

Burgundy LaRue said...

I commend your fortitude to sit through some of these movies. I would be bashing my head against a wall. Not spelling the title of your movie correctly is beyond amateur. But you seem up to the task of dealing with such dreck. Well done.

You are an inspiration to us movie watchers, and I salute you.

Doug Tilley said...

I actually really like ultra low budget movies, because you can sometimes see flashes of inspiration and development of actual talent. And I can at least respect the "lets just DO it" attitude of those making these films, but while resources are expensive, effort is not. And it's when the makers obviously don't put the effort in that annoys me most of all.

I think when this is all done i'm going to review my OWN bad shot-on-DV movie.

J.T. said...

5ive Girls and The Halfway House are far more watchable representations of the weird Catholic schoolgirl / horror sub-genre.

Both are equally exploitative and trashy (in a good way), but 5ive Girls actually generate a legit scare or two while The Halfway House gleefully revels in its own camp.

And naturally, an exploitation movie featuring Catholic schoolgirls would not be complete without boobs.