Girls Gone Dead

| July 19, 2012

There’s a fine line between satirizing the exploitation of something like Girls Gone Wild and becoming that which is supposedly being satirized. In other words, when your film has nearly as many scenes of topless debauchery and lipstick lesbianism as an actual Girls Gone Wild video, it may be time to reconsider your approach. This process does not seem to have occurred to the filmmakers behind Girls Gone Dead, a direct-to-disc slasher that delivers tons of T&A and very little else. In fact, the best thing that can be said for Girls Gone Dead is that it’s not another zombie movie, although the title sort of hints that it might be.

Rebecca (Katie Peterson) has just returned home from her freshman year at college and is prepping for a weekend reunion with her best friends from high school. Her mother Rosemarie (Julie Kendall) is worried that Rebecca will fall into sin and debauchery and attempts to set Rebecca up with her grade-school boyfriend Todd (Vincent Chimato). Despite Todd’s tempting offer of tickets to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (starring Willy Aames), Rebecca takes off for her friend’s beach house for the weekend. A beach house that just happens to be a short drive away from where the latest “Crazy Girls Unlimited” video is being shot with special guest Beetlejuice (playing himself).

Unfortunately for the girls, the stretch of beach on which the house is located is not exactly party central. They go to a nearly-deserted bar and luckily run into some guys driving through town on their way to the “Crazy Girls Unlimited” shoot, and they plan a house party for the next day. Early in the day, a killer strikes the “Crazy Girls Unlimited” party before moving on to the beach house. Can Sheriff Jackson Cole (Jerry “The King” Lawler) stop the killer in time, or are Rebecca and her friends all going to end up on the wrong end of a very large, very sharp instrument of death? Anyone who’s ever seen a horror film will be able to guess the answer to that question, and probably also figure out who the killer is well in advance of any of the characters in the film.

The bad luck keeps coming, though, as it takes Girls Gone Dead a full 106 minutes to stagger across the finish line; in low-budget horror film terms, this might as well be Magnolia. The film takes what seems like a full twenty minutes establishing the fact that Rebecca’s mom is a crazy Christian prude, and the action– regardless of what it might be at any given time– grinds to a halt every 8-10 minutes to show another presumably hilarious “Crazy Girls Unlimited” commercial. Girls Gone Dead doesn’t skimp on the nudity, and by the time the killing actually starts there are some decently gruesome practical makeup effects, but it’s far too little and way too late. There are hints that the film was perhaps originally envisioned as a satire of “Girls Gone Wild,” but the grating misogyny of the “Crazy Girls Unlimited” bits and the huge chunk of run time they take up indicates a more mercenary intent. Cut down by about 30 minutes, there may be a decent by-the-numbers slasher hiding in Girls Gone Dead, but as it is, it’s just a mean-spirited slog.

Girls Gone Dead was released by Entertainment One on DVD 17 July 2012. Special features include 6 behind-the-scenes featurettes, five music videos, 3 “Crazy Girls Unlimited” commercials, deleted and extended scenes, blooper reel, interviews with Jerry “The King” Lawler and Nicko McBrain, and a commentary track with the director and crew.

About the Author:

Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He is author of "The Unrepentant Cinephile," and a regular contributor to Daily Grindhouse and Film Monthly as well as a member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. He is co-director of the Chicago Cinema Society and proud owner of 35mm prints of Andy Milligan's "Guru, the Mad Monk." Follow his long-form film writing on Medium:

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