Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Delta Delta Die! (2003)

Directed by:
Devin Hamilton

Dumb, trashy, profane, exploitative... yet so much fun! I have been waiting a long time for just a silly, funny, trashy, entertaining direct-to-video movie with just the right B-movie attitude... and here it finally is! I must say that this intentionally hokey little piece of trash had me in stitches from beginning to end. It reminded me of those glory days in the 80s when Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens were headlining fun minor B flicks like HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS and SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA. Of course, I grew up on those films watching USA Network's Up All Night, so I may be partial to this particular subgenre, but their tone, their campiness and their outrageousness is the current equivalent of the much missed drive-in movie experience of the 1970s. Just turn off your brain, sit back with some junk food, watch the movie and have a good time. Delta Delta Die! is one of the very few B movie revivals I've seen from the 2000s to actually capture the essence and spirit of the 80s schlock / exploitation movie favorites that haunted the back corners of video stores.

Things open at the Delta Delta Pi sorority house. House mother Marilyn Fitch (Julie Strain) and her current stock of four buxom sorority girls decide on the fate of Hannah, who has betrayed the stringent rules of their house. Her crime is so severe that the ladies decide the only appropriate punishment is to lock Hannah in the cellar for an entire month. What act could be so bad to require such cruel treatment? Why eating a penis, of course! Yes, these gals are actually (gasp!) flesheating cannibals. To keep their house thriving, they also sell meat pies and other gourmet treats on the side which, you guessed it, contain human flesh. Meanwhile, a male student named Tobias (Joseph Dain) catches on and enlists the aid of former sorority girl and ex-cannibal Rhonda Cooper (Brinke Stevens) to stop them.

The plot is somewhat similar to the seldom-seen horror comedy AUNTIE LEE'S MEAT PIES (starring Karen Black, Michael Berryman, Pat Morita and a gaggle of Playboy Playmates), but this much cheaper videotaped effort (the picture quality is a little dark but tolerable and the sound is alright) goes off in its own enjoyable direction. I don't want to give away too many of the silly gags or the cheesy one-liners, but I would like to talk about the two main reasons this extremely hokey little time-waster is extremely enjoyable when you're in the mood for this type of flick.

First off, I've never been a big fan of Julie Strain, but she really delivers the goods in this film, proving that some things just get better with age (and I am not talking about her looks). Though she has aged well (she's 40 now and looks pretty much the same as she did 15 years ago), she finally seems to have a handle on how to deliver an enjoyably campy performance. She's just so enthusiastic here and seems to have had a blast making this film and that sort of energy rubs off directly onto the viewer.

Tiffany Shepis, who plays Patrice, also has a leg up on her competition, both in this film and in the currently overloaded parade of up-and-coming Scream Queens. She's easily the best actress in this film (with a very sexy snarl and a confident, somewhat conceited way of delivering her lines) and she nails every laugh. She also proves her acting chops by getting in a bar fight with a couple of trashy hos and seducing two guys in the basement after a game of strip poker, performing a sexy strip to a hilariously bad techno song that repeats "make your body move" ad nauseum. I saw Tiffany in brief parts in some Troma movies and also in TED BUNDY (she's the one who escapes), but I must say, she won me over here and I can't wait to see more of her.

In short, those looking for a conventionally "good" horror film should probably steer clear of Delta Delta Die! Those looking for some sex (with both male and female skin scenes to please just about everyone), cheap gore and just a fun little B-movie should definitely give this one a thumbs up.


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