It’s difficult to get mad at a movie for failing to live up to your expectations when you didn’t have any in the first place. Following up his moderate success with the Debbie Rochon-starring BLEED, Devin Hamilton turns to the old scream queen-standby: the cannibal sorority girl movie (hey, there are more of them than you’d think). The girls of the popular, sexy sorority, Delta Delta Pi, lead by their statuesque housemother (Strain), defy political correctness with their award-winning meat pies, revered by the entire campus. But their activities have attracted the attention of a nosy student who suspects that the girls are murderers. He’s right, of course, and when he enlists the help of a former sister (Stevens), he realizes that his worst fears aren’t even close – the girls are using their victims as supplies in their pies. Gasp!
So, what we have here, obviously, is a T&A-cum-gore film send-up of “Sweeny Todd”, with bad jokes (one woman is named “Hannah Bull”, another is named “Clarice”, the group hangs out at “Sweeny’s Pub”), naked girls, naked guys, and enough blood to satisfy those with a low-entertainment threshold.
Most folks are renting this to see Strain and Shepis in various stages of undress, and the movie delivers on that count. Hamilton manages a kinda clumsy homage to Fred Olen Ray and Dave DeCoteau films of old (er, yay?), and proves that he’s not a bad director as he manages to keep Shepis from getting too obnoxious (as she is in the “Troma Edge TV” episodes) and conjures an almost natural performance out of Strain – who has proven in the past to have two modes of acting: ‘wood’ and ‘banshee’ – though when she is allowed to go all out, her face contorts into that patented “Julie Strain snarl” that makes her look like she’s channeling “Mr. Ed” (was that too harsh?). She has a legion of fans, though, so who am I to judge?
The only genuine Scream Queen here (indeed, one of the original ‘80s three), Stevens, is given woefully too little screen-time, but she’s allowed a few terrific moments near the end, leaping into the air as she attacks the girls. Brinke is obviously having a blast – particularly during an over-long catfight with Strain during the film’s climax.
So what do I say here? That the movie isn’t any good? It isn’t. Of course it isn’t. I don’t think it was meant to be. Is it fun? Depends on your tolerance for Julie Strain. If you wanted to kill yourself midway through “Heavy Metal: 2000”, which only featured a cartoon Julie, then you might want to rent something else. If you dig her, if you’re a fan of Shepis, and the budding sister Strain Lizzy, if you want to dig Brinke Stevens in another tour de force performance, then check this out by all means. (Okay, wishy-washy review, but what am I supposed to say?)
The DVD boasts out-takes, extended scenes and bloopers – most of these will try the patience of non-fans, as the bulk of it features Strain mugging for the camera, flashing the camera, upstaging the other girls – all Julie, all the time. There are hidden camera-test Easter Eggs as well. Fun for the whole family.