I go into every movie looking for the joy of it. The parts of it that let you know the people involved really had fun with their work...
...No one makes something because they hate it. There’s always something, somewhere, that someone was passionate about that drove them to create. Even—and sometimes especially—when an end product is utterly ridiculous, the fun of the act of creation is on display.
Girls Just Wanna Have Blood, written and directed by Anthony Catanese, is a whole lot of things. A vampire movie about a group of teenage girls wandering town and getting their meals through seduction. A messy patchwork. An incredibly DIY-feeling experience. Jessica (Amanda Renee) is an outcast saddled with the responsibility of taking care of both her infant brother and her catastrophic mess of a mother. Fed up with her circumstances and seeking revenge on a bully who almost ran her over in the street, she agrees to be turned by the local trio of teenage vampires. They show her the ropes of survival and the perks of eternal life, but it isn’t what she thought. After a tragedy results in the group’s falling out, Jessica goes seeking revenge on the girls that turned her. And she’s not the only one on the hunt.
The best thing I can say about this movie is it seems like the cast and crew had a great time making it. It feels like something a group of friends decided to get together and make for the hell of it. A sprinkle of accepted vampire tropes from invitation to holy water, a dash of queer vampires, and a scale-breaking amount of ridiculous sexualization are the central ingredients of Catanese’s teenage vampire flick. The saving grace of this movie is that it was never meant to be taken seriously. The original title, Teenage Bloodsucking Bimbos, feels a more apt description of the tone this movie was shooting for, although it’s obvious why it was changed.
There are some elements that seem like they could have been supplanted into a different, though likely still ridiculous, movie and explored deeper. I’m almost always down for a good origin story exploration and Trish (Destyne Marshai)’s vampiric origin seems the only one developed enough to warrant digging deeper. She’s clearly the most powerful and most successful of the trio when it comes to turning people—everyone in the movie that’s been turned is turned by her!—but she’s also the only one to keep her personal story closest to the chest. If you ask me, it’s because she’s vampiress Batman. Not to spoil anything, but if you think on Batman’s origin story, you’ve basically got Trish’s, except instead of wealthy vigilante who uses his fists, you have a teenage hot chick using her…assets to lure men to their doom. Now, ordinarily there’s nothing more up my alley than the siren-led demise of men. I can forgive almost anything for a well-executed revenge tale. The opening scenes of this movie even almost had me. Predatory man lured in by predator women, losing his, erm, manhood in the process. I’m down for that. The thing that doesn’t work (for me, but might for someone) is that Girls Just Wanna Have Blood always kind of feels about two shots away from a porno. Not unusual for some of the more ridiculous horror fare, granted, but not always the most comfortable to watch.
It doesn’t stop there, however. This one goes so far as to create at least one in-film actual porn, which gets used as an explanatory tool for how to end the vampiric reign of terror on the town. Two, really, if you count the one discussed off screen by Jessica’s neighbor and the vampire hunter Yan Helsing (Craig Kelly). Never let it be said that anyone involved with Girls Just Wanna Have Blood is shy about anything.
The production company credits for this movie are steeped in DIY/grungy punk aesthetic, so it makes a lot of sense where the feel of it came from. It’s kind of the movie version of that punk zine tucked into the corner of a dirty bus and filled with things you’re not completely sure make a lot of sense but definitely look…original.
Girls Just Wanna Have Blood arrives on VOD and DVD May 26th from Wild Eye Releasing.
By Katelyn Nelson
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