Thursday, May 15, 2008


While not the first zombie/gore movie from France--despite the claims made on the Retromedia DVD box--REVENGE OF THE LIVING DEAD GIRLS can at least be considered among the sleaziest. An unofficial, in-name-only follow-up to Jean Rollin's THE LIVING DEAD GIRL, the film was made in 1986 by Pierre B. Reinhard (hiding under the Americanized pseudonym Peter B. Harsone).

The convoluted plot involves three young girls who die when they drink milk poisoned by a recently-dumped toxic chemical. They return as decayed, skull-faced zombies when the company responsible for the tainted milk dumps their chemical in the very same cemetery where the girls were buried. (Talk about your crappy luck.) The girls immediately set about killing off innocent locals while the milk company tries to cover their involvement in the scandal (I never realized what a cut-throat business the dairy industry was) in two almost separate storylines.

It should go without saying that the film lacks the same poetic beauty of Rollin's work, though it does possess a singular skeevy feel all its own. REVENGE does manage to pack in plenty of female nudity--partially thanks to a prostitute with the best work ethic I've ever seen--and several moments of allegedly shocking violence: crotch-stabbings, dicks bitten off, a spontaneous shower-induced miscarriage, though these scenes are filmed so bluntly, without finesse, that they come off as merely distasteful (Reinhard's background was primarily hardcore porn, which is evident in his workman-like style).

The DVD also contains an alternate ending, which clears up many of the film's glaring inconsistencies while simultaneously remaining thoroughly implausible. I won't give it away here--I don't think I could, anyway--but I will say it turns the movie into one of the most impractical schemes ever hatched.

There is a certain low-rent charm to REVENGE OF THE LIVING DEAD GIRLS that fans will no doubt enjoy (the poorly-dubbed dialogue is good for a couple of laughs), but the film crawls along too slowly, with not enough to offer, to be little more than a prurient curiosity.

No comments: