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February 8, 2011

Movie Review: Goth Kill (2009)

It's been a long time since I've seen a sleazy movie that stuck with me. You know the kind of movie I mean? A roll in the muck that also entertains, amuses and leaves you wanting more? As movies get routinely more and more extreme, for me anyway, they have also often gotten more and more routine and forgettable. Every once in a while there is something pretty extreme that wins because the gruesomeness is in service of quality material; films like DAWN OF THE DEAD for instance. Those movies certainly are always welcome, but I am talking about films which fail in so many ways, and yet rise above all that and are memorable anyway by virtue of sheer entertainment value. Movies like BLOOD SUCKING FREAKS, MOTHER'S DAY and THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS. Where have you gone, you beautiful ugly messes you?

Buy Goth Kill on DVD

Well, just when I thought those days were gone, in walks just what the doctor ordered: J. J. Connelly's GOTH KILL. With it's non-stop pageantry of color, costumes, over-the-top performances and wall-to-wall sleaze. I was entertained for the entire 75 minutes running time. If Andy Milligan had ever set out to make a Fellini movie, it might have looked something like this.

The story is pretty simple. In the dark ages, Catholic Priest Nicholas Dread (Flambeaux) rebels against the inhumane methods the church uses to acquire power and property. In so doing he condemns himself and is burned at the stake with the so-called "witches" he stands up for. As he is burning, Nick curses God and makes a pact with the devil. Satan makes a bargain with him and promises him his own evil kingdom if he can deliver 100,000 souls. This takes Nick hundreds of lifetimes to accomplish, and then Satan (you just can't trust the guy!) double-crosses him and steals all those souls for his own amusement, leaving Nick in an eternally empty kingdom. But you can't keep a good heretic down, so Nick inhabits the body of a naive girl on her first trip to New York when she visits a Goth club and ends up drugged and targeted for rape by the clubs evil inner circle. The interesting thing about Nick, tough, is that he still has a conscience and a reverence for innocence. He proceeds to slaughter the corrupt denizens of this club to populate his own little piece of hell.

It's a structural mess, and I didn't care a bit - the true mark of good sleaze. Likewise for the cheapjack gore effects with watery, too-red blood. Didn't bother me at all. All part of the fun.

The acting in this movie has been pretty soundly trashed by most critics, but I've seen a lot worse. By taking advantage of performance artists and true Goth aficionados, Connelly has amassed a group that looks right in every shot, and are deliriously enthusiastic to be part of the whole parade. The community theatre English accents, the histrionic reactions, the occasional flat deliveries - all part of the good, dirty fun. Especially good is performance artist Flambeaux as Nick Dread. His Irish brogue at least is genuine, and he savors every moment of his performance.

And beyond the glorious badness of this film, there are great locations (genuine clubs), as well as fabulous costumery and make-up (the cast of genuine Goth-types putting their finery on display). Most of all though there is a genuine air of enthusiasm from all involved that is infectious. And that is something I often find missing from the big budgeted, slick and empty productions which we see all the time on the big screen.

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