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HorrorGirl (1995)

Directed by Raoul Vehill
Provisional VHS

I went to college in Berkeley, which at that point, still had thriving nests of crusty punks. You could walk down Telegraph Avenue and see crusties lounging on a street corner, baking in the sun in their studded leather finery. They’d beg for spare change, and usually they were honest about what they needed it for: beer, drugs, and/or pizza. Sometimes they tried to pull on your heartstrings and say they needed money to go home or to feed their dog, which was always a sleepy pitbull. I swear, you never see a crusty with a shih tzu. It’s always a pitbull. This girl once caught a crusty trying to steal her dog—Her fucking dog!—which was tied up outside a cafe while she went in to grab a coffee.

So let’s say you give some crusties a video camera, and they somehow don’t hock it to get beer, drugs, and/or pizza. Let’s say they actually make a movie, with a beginning, middle, and end. What you get is HorrorGirl.

“This is the story of two strange women, how they dropped out of City College, fried the boyfriend of the week, and brought him back. On that day a band was formed. A band called HorrorGirl.”

I should note that one of those “two strange women” has white-girl dreads.

A band plays. It’s punk. It’s not good. It sounds like someone throwing a guitar in a blender along with a cat in heat. The amp fries the guitarist, which is great because the music finally stops. But then the other members, Creatura and Slayme (pronounced “slay me,” how punk), hook him up to jumper cables and he comes back to life, only with a little more zombie robot in him. They all howl.

Now all of this sounds good on paper: gutter punks, zombie robot guitarist, raucous girls who give zero fucks, mild witchcraft, ripped fishnets, boot licking, body paint expertly covering nipples, some lesbian action. There’s a scene where Creatura wanders into the mind of Slayme, and as you’d expect, there’s not much going on in there with the exception of a lot of cling wrap. Loads and loads of cling wrap. There’s also a pizza delivery guy who keeps getting jumped. Everybody likes pizza, right?

This movie is not for everybody. This is because it’s not for anybody. HorrorGirl makes you wonder about everything you’ve ever done wrong in your life to deserve this kind of punishment. It reminds you of how you weren’t there enough for your grandparents, or how you should’ve been nicer to your sister or brother growing up. Actually, HorrorGirl is the kind of agony that makes you repent for all the things you have yet to do wrong. This is fifty minutes that’s stretched to an eternity. It’s the cinematic version of a sad face. There’s an entire live performance by HorrorGirl, and if you finally finish getting through it, you’ll get scabies. That’s your reward, congratulations. How does it feel? A little itchy?

There’s no charm in this movie, no ambition. There is, however, plenty of rototoms. How punk! The plot slogs, the muffled dialogue makes no sense, the characters are aggravating. The final sequence where Creatura fights the devil with cling wrap is fun, sure, but it only makes you wonder why there wasn’t more of it throughout the whole film. How dare the filmmakers put something entertaining at the end! No! Make the whole thing entertaining! We deserve it! Whenever I hit the play button on a trash film, I’m filled with excitement. I genuinely hope that it’ll be something spectacular­–a film that I demand everyone to stop what they’re doing and watch immediately because they must witness a piece of cinematic history. HorrorGirl took that hope, rubbed its crusty stank all over it, and let its pitbull take a massive dump on it. This was clearly a movie that was made up as it went along, but everyone was too drunk on their punk to care. HorrorGirl has nothing to say, so there’s nothing to watch.