One of my favorite films is an 80s horror flick called “Nightmare Sisters.” It’s about three introverted college girls that summon a demon and become empowered by their own sexuality (and blood thirst). There were a few films like it in the 80s. Movies that turned the horror tropes of the “final girl” and gratuitous nudity on its head by making the usual victims/eye candies into the ones doing the slaughtering. These films often used silliness to juxtapose the horror and gore, as is often the case with films now labeled as “cult films.” Many have tried to recreate that intrinsic over-the-top silliness over the years in horror, but sadly, 90s post-modern irony killed the cult-movie star.
There are a few filmmakers that have the magic touch, though. Directors who can recreate this feeling in an earnest way that doesn’t give off the “desperate to make a cult film” vibes I despise. One of them is Richard Elfman. It shouldn’t be a surprise, really. Elfman debut film as a director was “Forbidden Zone,” and if there is a film that screams earnest silliness, it’s “Forbidden Zone.” He managed to recreate that vibe I love in “Aliens, Clowns & Geeks” two years ago, and again now with “Bloody Bridget.”
Like “Nightmare Sisters,” “Bloody Bridget” starts off by introducing us to a reserved but beautiful protagonist that is being mistreated and doesn’t realize her full potential. Here it is Bridget. A fiery redhead that gets to express herself on stage for a few minutes at a time as a burlesque dancer, but otherwise lives a miserable existence with her sexist, racist scumbag of a boss and her abusive and cheating boyfriend. That is until she gets summoned by Baron Samedi (he is a lwa of Haitian Vodou; it’s kind of like archangels in Christianity). Samedi thinks Bridget is his wife reincarnated and gives her demonic powers that turn the reserved Bridget into a femme fatale that oozes sexuality and has an appetite for breaking hearts (with her teeth).
Bridget is portrayed by Anastasia Elfman who is great. She managed to show both sides of the character, both the reserved introvert and the sexual extrovert, without going overboard, which isn’t an easy task. She is a born Scream Queen and I look forward to seeing her more in future films. She is also surrounded by fun actors and has a good script to work with. The music is also great, which shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s done by Ego Plum and Danny Elfman, with a song selection by Richard Elfman that is an eclectic selection (like one would expect from the man that made “Forbidden Zone”) ranging from Oingo Boingo to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7
The film is great fun and the fact that it is a bare budget and self-financed production is what makes it work. We see in every scene that it was made with care, passion and love without studio-notes. That makes it have that 80s impassioned vibe that so few have been able to recreate.