Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Man, I really wanted to like this one. A micro-budget production based in Charleston WV (and I'm a sucker for anything involving the Mountain State), CATHOLIC GHOULGIRLS sounded like a can't-miss: take zombies and pit them against Goth chicks in Catholic schoolgirl uniforms. What could possibly go wrong? Well, when a movie's as lazy, stupid, and derivative as this one, a hell of a lot, it seems.

A 2005 sequel to ESCAPE FROM THE DEAD (a film I've never heard of, nor have any intention of seeking out), it's no different from the typical lunkheaded DIY efforts currently plaguing video shelves, and in many cases is worse. Take for example the opening scene, in which a pair of newscasters set up the story; while I realize amateur directors must make concessions, especially involving sets, but are we really supposed to believe that two actors on stools in front of a bed sheet is really a news room? (There's also some really forced, unfunny humor involving Jews in this scene that, were it not for an equally moronic "payoff," I'd be tempted to call anti-Semitic.) It's a sequence that does little to inspire confidence in the filmmakers' competence--and, as the movie grinds on, it seems to go out of its way to confirm your worst suspicions.

The rest of GHOULGIRLS fares about as well, depicting a city-wide zombie epidemic that affects roughly a dozen people. Director Eamon Hardiman apparently considers himself a student of Tarantino, since his idea of characterization is to have his actors--astonishingly godawful, the lot of them--discuss G.I. JOE in an F-bomb-littered discourse. (I grew up during the '80s too, dude, that doesn't mean I want you to stop the movie so your leads can sing the fucking theme song to THE LITTLES.) Fortunately, the execrable sound quality renders most of the inane dialogue inaudible, a blessing I was most grateful for.

A 54-minute zombie film shouldn't be hard to sit through, yet CATHOLIC GHOULGIRLS lumbers at a bogglingly slow pace, expecting to keep us enthralled with random tit-shots (instead of, y'know, ideas and plot developments and that junk). The "action" on display here is worth mentioning, if only because it's so inept and clumsy that I feel almost guilty making fun of it, especially when Hardiman tries to invoke KILL BILL with a schoolgirl and a samurai-sword; remember those Steven Seagal films where the bad guys patiently wait their turn in group fight scenes? Well, imagine if the zombies did it reeeeealllllyyy slowly, and the heroine swung her sword with a force that wouldn't nick a stick of butter--I'd be ashamed to include a scene like this in a gag reel, much less the actual goddamn picture. The "climactic" zombie swarm is just as bad.

Hardiman released a follow-up entitled VAMPIRE WHORES FROM OUTER SPACE, a film I intend to give a wide frigging berth. Even by the paltry standards of shot-on-video films, CATHOLIC GHOULGIRLS fails to deliver an iota of anything resembling entertainment--even the gore and nudity was negligible at best. Don't waste your time.

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