Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pimp Dolly

Some movies try awfully hard to just be awful. It's not enough, they say, to have a dwarf henchman; they go one step further by putting an eyepatch on said dwarf henchman and making him the keeper of an awful, occasionally nude girl band musicalized by electricity.
Yup. Blood Dolls is that kind of movie. 
And thus I spent 90 minutes with a film that clearly wanted nothing more than to make its audience say "That was weirrrrrrd." 
Granted, I've done this about as many times as I've brushed my teeth and sometimes, it works. In addition to hard rock and zombies, Hard Rock Zombies incorporates Nazis, self-cannibalistic dwarfs (apparently that's the go-to for ambitiously bizarre film), glorified statutory rape, and big heads, but it works due to its let's-have-fun spirit. Blood Dolls, a 1999 schlockfest from Full Moon, feels more as though writer/director/Full Moon granddaddy Charles Band patrolled a horror convention, took notes on merchandising and fashion, mixed it in a used blender still soiled with leftovers from past films, and made a movie out of it.
Quick Plot: Eccentric billionaire Virgil Travis has just lost a fortune to crooked former partners and thus his revenge scheme is about to take its bloody birth. Using a few racially stereotyped dolls shrunken down from a few former acquaintances that led to his downfall (black judge as pimp, Asian lawyer as dragon lady) and his deadpan juggalo-esque butler, the Southahn gentleman Virgil orders death by hand weight, gunshot, and tiny knife while the real instigator behind the money laundering reveals herself as the seemingly meek and good-hearted Moira, wife of Virgil's former business partner. The biggest twist comes when we first see Moira in the comfort of her home, where the dark-haired beauty proves to be a brilliant minded dominatrix feeding off the physical pain and sexual submission of daft, usually leashed hubby Harrison. 

Did I mention Virgil is eccentric? It's an important plot detail, but thankfully, you probably won't miss it due to the caged leather-clad girl rock group he keeps in his living room and stone head mask he wears over his itty Beelteguice head. Subtlety is not a selling point when it comes to Full Moon.
Blood Dolls is an exercise in forced wackiness, a sort of Leprechaun in Louisiana seasoned with the oddities of Bloodsucking Freaks (dwarf, caged women, torture, etc.). I found it tiresome and forced, but occasionally, slightly cute. Debra Mayer's role as the kinky mastermind was actually enjoyable, although it left me rooting for her simply because I couldn't respect any character who was amused by such obnoxious and bland music.

High Points
While the idea of his presence begins rather ridiculously, William Paul Burns's solemn performance as a very spiritual painted face right-hand man actually becomes funnier as the film progresses

Low Points
Even with warp speed kills, a single flimsy plot, and a dual ending, Blood Dolls stretches out its should-be-short running time to 90 minutes by adding dull rock song after dull rock song. I suppose a film has to fill out space for Sunday afternoon airings on SyFy, but Blood Dolls pads itself more obviously than a 14 year old girl at a school dance
Lessons Learned
Behind every mentally retarded man is a very kinky woman with a high IQ

There are worse things in life than being kidnapped, locked in a cage, and forced to perform bad rock music for a sadistic billionaire; you could be the sadistic billionaire who has to listen
Dwarfs carry singles
Blood Dolls will please many fans of the let's-be-as-goofy-as-we-can subgenre of horror comedy. Personally, I tend to have a rotating membership to that club, enjoying some of those films (ThanksKilling ) and hating others that just try too hard (Snakes On a Plane). I will concede that I began enjoying Blood Dolls much later in the story, when the whole "How crazy can we be?" attitude had settled and Band let his characters have their story. By the time I got to the Clue-like alternate ending, I was invested enough to smile, but perfectly pleased when it was over. That’s that. Now pass the gouda.

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