The last time I watched a movie by horror movie website-cum-production company Dread Central, it was pseudo-shocker schlocker let down Terrifier. Will mentally chaining my bias against that wannabe snuff film around its neck work against Slay Belles, or will it put my expectations so far below the limbo stick that it can’t help but holly my jolly and jingle my bells?
“Santa Claus is comin’ to town, bitches!”
Dahlia and Sade are the self-proclaimed YouTube stars behind the “Adventure Girls” channel. Their gimmick? “Urban exploration”. And that is…? It’s what the kids call breaking and entering, criminal trespassing, vandalism and theft. In less legal terminology, these anime gothic (like American Gothic, but nothing at all like American Gothic) scene-girls get dressed up in eye-catching (i.e. sexified) costumes, break into vacated and/or condemned properties, then record themselves running around like sugar plum faeries spazzing on novelty size Pixie Stix. For their new Christmas special “adventure”, they shanghai their “only mildly Hot Topic because she has a professional job during the day” amiga Alexia and take their guest accomplice to plunder an abandoned, middle-of-nowhere, season appropriately themed amusement park called Santa Land. To make matters further obvious fodder for an R rated Scooby-Doo mystery, a serial child murderer (that may or may not be a bear) has recently set up shop in the county too. Jinkies!
During their edge lady frolics, the gals are unaware that the head of the North Pole chapter of the Hell’s Angels is observing their antics over the park’s still functional security cameras. Before you even get the chance to consider this hairy red herring to be a threat, the broads are broadsided (*rimshot*) by what the Weekly World News would’ve described as the gestational by-product of a werewolf and a wildebeest getting drunk at their office Christmas party, sneaking away to the supply closet and letting nature’s disturbing sense of humor take its course.
Before the wayward wendigo can turn the females into foie gras (well, they are color-coded like Huey, Dewey and Louie), Grandpa Never-Outgrew-His-Midlife-Crisis intervenes (with his magic wizard walking stick?), ushers them to safety and exposes himself to them! …to be “the real fuckin’ Santa”. Yep, it’s a yuletide smack down in the Santa Land Memorial Ampitheater this Sunday Sunday Sunday when Kris “the Mangler” Kringle matches his magic against the frothing fangs of the one and only Killer Krampus Kadoogan! Don’t get too excited though, because unlike the Legendary Pictures incarnation, this version of Krampy doesn’t have a 20 million dollar budget and top-notch creature feature creative crew backing him up. It does have Barry Bostwick (and an all too brief Richard Moll cameo) though, so…if you’re old enough to remember who they are then…hooray?
While Slay Belles‘ production values are barely acceptable, let alone great, with its budget being what it is, you may well forgive the final product. Or you won’t. It actually works with the movie’s overall goofy tone. Though much of the main gals’ dialogue feels poorly scripted and their acting not up-to-snuff, Barry fucking Bostwick is great as grumpy old Harley-Davidson calendar Santa. Beyond its budgetary constraints and mostly novice cast (and moments of generic dubstep that felt like unnecessary splinters of rosemary wood hammered into my fucking eardrums), I also am not a fan of the crew’s camera person(s) having seizures while shooting. The proliferation of steady cam technology should make it affordable even to a minute money movie like this, leading me to believe it’s a style choice for a style my equilibrium isn’t having any of. And if it’s for tactical purposes in an effort to cover up not-so-special effects work, just don’t. We all know that gold around your wrist says “Bolex” and we can see the green ring it’s leaving on your skin. Stop.
Three Santa Right Hooks out-of-Five
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