Previously Published on Yell!
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Those who know me, know I am a huge fan of campy, culty B-horror movies. It is for this reason that I’ve loved Charles Band and Full Moon for as long as I can remember. They’ve cornered the market on the sub-genre of horror that I have personally dubbed Horlarity (not to be confused with funny porn, or “Whorlarity”). Though, as with many Full Moon/ flicks, The Dead Want Women does fall into both categories.
The movie opens in 1927 Hollywood, at the mansion of huge silent-movie star Rose Pettigrew (Jean Louise O’Sullivan), who’s about to find out that “talkies” are on the rise, and due to her absolutely terrible voice, her contract has been cancelled by the studio. Before this happens, there is the requisite lesbian sex scene, and then the almost-feels-like-porn-without-the-money-shot boy-on-girl sex scene, both of which Rose watches while being (very poorly, unless O’Sullivan has an erogenous zone in her thigh) finger-banged by the grotesquely scarred Erik Burke played by Robert Zachar (learn the difference between a thigh and a hoo-ha, please, Mr. Zachar!). Once Rose’s soft-spoken and timid manager (played by Circus-Szalewski, who is so fun he even remains totally in character during his behind-the-scenes interview) tells Rose that her contract has been canceled, she loses it, and kills everyone. She then slits her own throat.
Fast forward to the present day. The Pettigrew Mansion has stood abandoned for decades, until two blond real estate agents and pseudo-lesbos (you know the ones I mean; they get hammered at college frat parties, make out with each other, and then claim they’re “bi”) manage to sell it to a mystery buyer. After cleaning the house for the buyer, Reese and Danni (Jessica Morris and Ariana Madix) soon find out that the mansion is not vacant at all, but is, instead, inhabited by Rose’s dead friends, Erik Burke, Sonny Barnes (Eric Roberts) and Tubby Fitzgerald (J. Scott). I won’t go into it, because I don’t want to spoil the fun, but let’s just say that horlarity ensues and it involves a porn-star in a merkin (if you don’t know what it is, look it up, you won’t be disappointed), more nudity than an all-girl’s college on “experiment night,” and a fist-clenching, edge-of-your-seat knife fight.
Wit-filled one-liners abound in this schlock-sational flick, and though Eric Roberts (playing Cowboy Sonny Barnes) is supposed to be the big-name star of the film, every scene is stolen by J. Scott (who goes by the name of Nihilist Gelo in the credits) with his Fatty Arbuckle-esque portrayal of Tubby Fitzgerald. Scott manages more laughs with his facial expressions and wordless actions than the rest of the cast combined.
Porn star Jeannie Marie Sullivan’s acting, as Flapper Girl #1, leaves something to be desired, which I guess is par for the course with cum queens turned “serious” actors, and her behind-the-scenes interview left me feeling like she had either smoked too many joints prior to filming, or not enough.
Jean Louise O’Sullivan was, overall, not bad as Rose Pettigrew, but her choice of “terrible voice” could have been better thought out. To me, it just sounded like she lowered her own voice one octave and thought that that was a bold and brilliant improv move.
Robert Zachar as Erik Burke was perfectly creeptastic, and his twitchy, undead mannerisms and makeup were very reminiscent of Phantom of the Opera. I’d definitely run the other way if I saw him coming at me on a dark street, makeup or not.
Overall, though there weren’t any of the puppets or toys that we’ve come to love from Charles Band and Full Moon, The Dead Want Women is a perfect mix of camp and cult. It was devilishly (w)horlarious, and, like I always say, you can never have enough gratuitous nudity in a horror flick. Boobies equal fun, after all. The wicked people at Full Moon find the fun in Horror and that’s the reason I’ve been a fan all these years. Sure, getting scared to the point that you take a running leap onto your bed to deke out the monsters hiding there is always awesome, but a movie that can make you laugh at it, and at yourself for watching it is always top notch in my book.
I’ll leave you with this punderful quote, my fabulous fiends:
“We’re the stars. We always survive the final reel, but it’s curtains for you…”
Be sure to check out all the schlocky, campy goodness your geeky, little hearts can handle, over at fullmoondirect.com