Bleading Lady aka Star Vehicle (2011)
Directed by Ryan Nicholson
Let's just be real.
If you know of Ryan Nicholson's previous Plotdigger films, the last 2 being Gutterballs and Hanger, you've come to either be on the side of "his films are fuckin awesome" or "what a piece of shit these films are".
Ironically I'm still on the fence. I praised Gutterballs for being a brilliant exploitation masterpiece while destroying Hanger for being to gross and boring. I figure Star Vehicle (renamed Bleading Lady) would be my tiebreaker in the Nicholson filmography.
Well it turned out it didn't break the tie.
Bleading Lady has elements of the good shit I expected. Over the top gore, gratuitous nudity and self aware cleverisms. It also has the elements of what I hated. It's got serious pacing issues, horrible dialogue and minutes of nothingness.
Bleading Lady ends up being a the equievelant of seeing an ugly naked girl getting her armed disemembered. Your like "ewwwwwwwwww" and then "fuckin A!!! That was awesome!". So how did we all end up here?
"Star Vehicle" follows the downward spiral of movie driver Donald Cardini, a self-professed movie buff with a penchant for explosive violence when provoked. Driving the stars of low-budget movies, along with their fragile egos, to and from locations in the middle of nowhere, pushes Don's buttons in all of the wrong directions.
When Luke, the young and self-absorbed writer/director challenges Don's authority, murder and mayhem ensues. The movie's Scream Queen' starlet, Riversa Red, to her dismay finds herself the target of Don's obsession. With his encyclopedic knowledge of her "body" and body of work, Don worms his way onto Riversa's good side, no easy task. Not knowing whether to fear or friend Don, Riversa finds herself at the center of a cyclone with Luke and Don both vying for her attention. A mysterious Hotel Bellboy and an unknown "watcher in the woods" lend themselves to the growing suspense as the cast and crew hold-up at Forest Grove Lodge...
It's clear that from the outset we're getting a full on horror film from Ryan Nicholson. It's clear we're getting a little horror movie within a horror movie ala Scream to get our share of boobs, gore and in jokes. Our main dude Don (Dan Ellis) is the driver of the "star vehicle" and his passenger the lovely Reversa Red (Sidney Faraguna). We meet a few others along the way from the scumbag director, the Nicholson easter egg from the makeup artist, some scream queen noobs, another fellow driver and a lodge bellboy.
Don is a horror buff with knowledge of who's who. He adores Ms. Red and is her biggest fan. From bashing a friend's head he is an overprotective father to the scream queen. The movie intersplices scenes from the movie they are making and it at times I was a little more interested in that movie than the movie that was unfolding.
As we trudge along we get the inside of life within an indie horror movie. Making fun of an indie horror movie in an indie horror movie is surreal. Reversa converses with Don on her exploits and having done a "full frontal" nudity scene. He goes all "your talented then these whores" route while Reversa defends how these actresses get into the business. Some of this is interesting take on the inner workings of indie horror.
We even get to see Don break the 4th wall half an hour in as aside from an intro of kills, we see shit. He narrates "I know you are saying to yourself: 'let us get on with the blood!'" and so the movie does. Nicholson knows what we want and I LOL-ed from that bit of 'logue.
With every Nicholon film we do get full on boobs and buckets of blood. The boobs are solid Grade A boobage and the splatter is top notch. Sliced throats, crowbar trauma, severe OJ-ish stabbing will make every gorehound a happy happy boy. It's over the top and it's hilarious in that happy sickening sorta way.
But with all this horror happiness, we get the ugly girl portions of the film. At 70 or so minutes, there is so much emptiness in a lot of scenes that I rang up a decent score on Angry Birds waiting for something to happen. It just felt like 60% of the movie was filler with double talk conversations and our director being a douchebag. Reversa Red is our final girl but does nothing to make us care about her either.
Which leads to the dialogue of the whole film. Some of it was completely incomprehensuble. You know they are over acting and hamming it up in the movie within the movie but when we see the behind the scenes, it's still as bad. What the fuck? And that damn 80s cheesy soundtrack started to get on my nerves as well.
As we go along it seems Reversa's got a stalker and Don's gonna have to be the knight in shining armour. This leads to some slaughter and some tension between him and the director. The body count piles up and as we get to the end Don's making his own horror movie.
The ending is completely out of leftfield. Hell I think it's out of the 20 yard line. Come to think of it, I had no idea what sport I was watching. The movie spun out of control and ended up being one long scene of boring.
Bleading Lady pushes a standard horror film into overdrive with it's mish mash of horror caricatures and inside jokes. The gratuitous is solid in nudity and gore. But as it's racing towards the finish, it crashes into a tree and like an over cliched action movie, the gas tank ignites and blows up the entire car.
It has the smashing homage awesomeness of Gutterballs but the stupidness of Hanger and ends up with the standard 2 spinkicks from the jaded viewer. Like I said before, it's an ugly girl getting her arm chopped off. Somehow its ugly and cool at the same time. But I expected more. I expected a hot naked girl getting beheaded in full slo mo glory.
Weren't we all?
Slice and dice
Stab and jab
Full frontal boobs
Top and bottom full frontal nudity
I predicted the twist 10 minutes in. I was like WTF! It can't be that obvious can it?
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Bleading Lady comes out on DVD March 29th from Breaking Glass pictures via their Vicious Circle Films label. If you have to watch every Plotdigger and Ryan Nicholson film, than you'll need to watch this flick. If your a noob to RN, start off with Gutterballs because it has all the stuff your looking for and more.
The movie was filmed in Maple Ridge and Vancouver Canada.
Check out the trailer.