By Admin | February 7, 2005

A cinemaphile should never completely discount the homemade film, that sub-underground backyard phenom born of boredom, obsession and pure intentions. There are some truly weird, reckless ideas being birthed as we speak behind second-hand Super 8 lenses and graduation gift video cameras, unbeholden to investors, target audiences or career considerations. This doesn’t mean that the ratio of good-to-garbage is any better than Hollywood’s batting average, however. There are enough hacks to go around for any artistic community, and the no-budget, low-brow “Catholic Ghoulgirls” is as bankrupt conceptually as it is crude in execution.

Three delinquent Catholic school vixens smoke cigarettes, drink Boones’ Farm and wear their uniforms too tight. Their boyfriends are in a gang of sorts, and these white boys ain’t no sissies. They might spend most of their time babbling about cartoons, G.I. Joe and assorted pop culture ephemera, but they’ll beat a man to death with a tire iron without thinking twice. Suddenly, inexplicably, their turf is infested with zombies, and it’s obviously time to get out of town. First the guys have to track down the girls, use the word “f**k” as often as possible, and spit out action movie clichés every time they lay a zombie down.

Shooting non-actors on cheap shaky-cam videotape can be forgiven, an edit job apparently achieved with a pair of ancient VHS decks can be endured, but rewarding the viewer’s patience with tired stereotypes in lieu of humor is no good for anybody. Nuns are lesbians! Rednecks drink beer and beat their wives with belts! Catholic girls are sluts! Plus one more gaggle of sluggish, blue-faced zombies shuffling through the streets, gazing into department store windows and dribbling fake blood; call it tribute or call it plagiarism, it’s just a bore. There’s always a market for films about pretty girls in knee socks waving bloody swords around, but the raw technical quality of “Catholic Ghoulgirls,” rife with excruciating soundtrack hiss and mismatched shots, might even disappoint the die-hards.

To director Eamon Hardiman’s credit, he’s not trying to do anything other than host a big party for his fellow gorehounds, and he’s following the Troma template of cheap laughs, loud music and excess splatter. Still, this is another backyard production that was undoubtedly more fun to make than it is to watch. Much like the Grateful Dead requires hallucinogens to be fully appreciated, “Catholic Ghoulgirls” should only be approached after heavy alcohol abuse, when the senses are dulled, reaction time is slowed and anti-Semitic cracks about Jews drinking Christian baby blood are funny rather than disturbing. Most people will puke before such a level of intoxication can be achieved; the rest of you boozers out there have been warned.

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