Girls Gone Dead 2012 Review

Girls Gone Dead 2012

aka Bikini Spring Break Massacre

Directed by: Michael Hoffman Jr., Aaron T. Wells

Starring: Katie Peterson, Shea Stewart, Brandy Whitford

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Review by Luis Joaquín González

I often wonder if exploitation cinema may be reaching its date of expiration. For decades, a host of low-budget titles would provide horror, shocks, nudity and gore that would fulfill both morbid curiosities 763w7632762872982982092092and rebellious desires. Having grown up during the tail-end of the exploitation boom, I experienced first hand the excitement of hunting out hand-drawn VHS covers and guessing what forbidden treasures might be included within. Nowadays of course, the most explicit content imaginable can be found quite easily with a Google search, which is why I wonder whether the market might be drying up for the exploitation genre.6565768787989898

Released in 2012, Girls Gone Dead was marketed as a T&A slasher; – a style that we saw in abundance during the noughties. Generally, T&A slashers lack technical quality in their attempts at delivering terror, so they up the ante with nudity and silicone enhanced ‘babes’. Good examples of the phenomenon are, Strip Club Slasher, Porn Shoot Massacre, Blood and Sex Nightmare, Fatal Delusion, Sandy Hook Lingerie Party Massacre, Fatal Pulse and Massacre at Rocky Ridge. As I alluded to in my opening paragraph, I can’t help but assume that the growth of free-access online porn has stolen a percentage of the audience for titles that sell themselves on having a couple of extra nudity shots. 

A group of girlfriends head off to the remote mansion of one of the troupe’s fathers for a weekend of crazy partying. Missy, the daughter of an over-zealous church member, promises that she will let her hair down and finally break the shackles that have been imposed on her by her incredibly strict mother. Excitement leads to disappointment when they learn that their ‘house of fun’ is actually located in a 6w767687287298298209092retirement community. The bad news gets worse when a hulking masked killer turns up with a large axe…

Whilst T&A slashers are my least favourite sub-category of our favourite sub-genre, I will never complete my mission of reviewing the entire pool of these flicks if I don’t go against my preferences from time to time. I’m reminded of something a girl I met in Kraków once told me, “Be more intelligent than the rest, without making it obvious”. Another suitable quote might be, “The smartest disguise is that of the clueless clown”. I mention these because, GGD is an interesting addition to the slasher collection and it’s one that may have a hidden layer.873873873983983093093

I watched it straight after Most Likely To Die and whilst they are both modern slasher movies with slick productions, they are totally different beasts cinematically. MLTD spent a while expanding the complex identities of its unique personalities, whilst GGD rolls out the clichés without a second look. Directors Michael Hoffman and Aaron T. Wells have a ball with their cast of attractive bunnies and said bunnies carry the lengthy exposition parts comfortably. At 102 minutes, I was expecting the momentum to stagnate whilst watching the girls getting drunk and pulling off the predicted shenanigans, but the script has enough wit and endeavour to keep things moving. There’s a sub-plot about an adult porno/big-brother type website, which I initially thought was an unnecessary diversion. It leads to a house party sequence that includes a humorous (if misplaced) cameo from Ron Jeremy, tonnes of bikini-clad bimbos and an abusive wannabe Hugh Hefner with a face that you’d love to punch. With a crowbar. Thankfully, the killer turns up and puts an abrupt end to the decadence with his trusty hatchet. Due to the cameras that were capturing the boogieing hotties, some footage of the murders is posted 763328732982982982982online and we get to see our key players watch it, in jest, a short while later. The irony didn’t escape me that they were mocking the earlier massacre, whilst blissfully unaware that they’re next on the maniac’s list.

Eventually the killer turns up to take care of Missy and her pals, and begins picking them off one by one as they wander off to get up to mischief. Hoffman and Wells go all guns blazing and deliver some brutal murders and gratuitous gore. We get an antagonist dressed in a robe and cherub mask (nod to Valentine?) and there’s a few interesting set-ups, including the death of a valiant chica that I really felt deserved to escape the maniac’s clutches. It’s fair to say that 90% of the runtime sustains an ‘entertaining’ (but non threatening) tone, although the final twenty-minutes did deliver some really neat tension and a couple of scares. I mentioned earlier that these types of pictures are generally pretty shabby from a technical perspective, but that’s not the case with this one and the directors pull off some interesting stuff. Some other reviews that I have read criticised the mystery saying that it was too easy to guess who it was under the mask. In honesty though, I didn’t notice it to be worse (or better) than any other slasher/whodunit I’ve seen of late. One thing I will say is that I often complain about unlikeable characters in modern entries, but GGD managed to even make me root for the spoiled brat. That’s a real 763763763873873983093achievement.

Going back to the comparison with Most Likely to Die, for the best part of GGD, I was thinking that it lacked the intelligence in scripting and preferred ticking boxes over attempting MLTD’s more ambitious style of storytelling. Later though, I noticed the aforementioned ‘hidden layer’ and that GGD possibly included a subtle comment on modern voyeurism and the easy access to society’s ills via social media, which in effect makes them dangerously acceptable. Perhaps there was also a nod to parental relations and how there comes a time when padres need to accept generational differences. I also noticed a view on religious fanaticism and how certain ideologies have become outdated with the technologies and desires 76327632872872982982090922of modern society. Then again, maybe it’s just a silly slasher and I was overreaching when i noticed those depths…? 

What I can be sure of is that Girl’s Gone Dead is an entertaining and fun entry that is as close as it gets to an eighties cheese flick without being an eighties cheese flick. It’s overlong; for sure. Actually, if they removed all the cuts away to Ron Jeremy and his chums, the film would work a damn site better. Still, I managed to remain hooked and I couldn’t ask for more than that. In reference to my comment on the fading appeal of exploitation pictures, it’s fair to say, if they’re this fun, there’s still a market for them. Oh and one last thing, I’ve proved many times on a SLASH above that the IMDB is an awful guide to slasher movies. Well this one has a rating of 3.5 on there! Stop the world, I want to get off…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√√

Gore:√√√

Final Girl:√√√

RATING: a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo-211

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Posted on July 9, 2016, in Slasher and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Interesting thing about this movie and the good folks responsible for it: they actually posted some snippets of my review on their site, girlsgonedeadmovie.com. I believe that you believe they earned their praises!

  2. Hey! – I just found your review and appreciated it! It was my baby from the beginning… and I want to say I fought long and hard – with my producer – to get as much production value as we could out of the film. I do agree the cut suffers from overlength slightly; as the cameos were added during production… and I had to keep going to turn the film in on time for release to major stores 🙂 Just FYI – I absolutely love slasher flicks from the 80’s and 90’s; and LOVE the bad ones even more. From the original “Scream” to “Trick or Treats” to “Hard to Die”… so I appreciate the fact you felt we were keeping the 80’s alive by making a film that seems competently well-made; but bad in context on accident…. but, when you thought about it, it could be referential with something with something going on behind the scenes. Rock on.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Michael. It was certainly an entertaining film. I enjoyed it more than I’d expected and if you were out to reference the eighties, you did so in the strongest way – by delivery, not pointless dialogue!

  3. Appreciate that! Nothing drives me more nuts than seeing a supposed homage… that talks about OTHER homages. Not to mention – the new “this takes place in the 80’s – but we have no idea what the decade was really like” syndrome. LOL. My wife (the head write) and I figured the best way to play it was to make the film as sincere as possible… and the cheesier it got… make it even more sincere in it’s delivery. That, to me – IS the 80’s personified. Best!

    • You’re completely correct! I think the funniest thing about the early eighties slashers were that they weren’t trying to be ‘cheesy’ at all, it just happened haha! – Michael, I sincerely hope with that mindset, we see more slasher films from you in the future – if certainly be keen to see more of your work

  4. Appreciate that 🙂 Not sure if I’m going to make anymore slashers. LOL. I own my own RED camera – and the studio I work at has their own. I sit everyday at my grading suite (I do color and direct commercials at the moment) looking at all the gear around me (dolly; jib; full lighting set-up; prime lens packages; etc)… and wonder if today’s generation appreciate the cheesy goodness the same way I do. I think if I decide to do another project – it may be more anthology based – since those were my favorites growing up… and I own almost every movie/show from the classic age of episodic anthology TV (from Freddy to Tales from the Darkside to all incarnations of The Outer Limits and even Nightmare Cafe – etc), I love the horror genre so… but it has changed so drastically!

  5. Appreciate that 🙂 I just did a cool one for Element – where – without CGI – I had to recreate camera shots set to sound design. It was pretty crazy. I thought it would be impossible – but we found a white cyc studio with one of 4 milo cranes in the World (no joke) and pulled it off the best we could. This was more challenging than you’d think! LOL. – https://vimeo.com/145435638

  6. Ok where have you been? Really jonsing for more reviews please.

  7. Hope everything is okay, Luis. If you need any help with the blog, let me know!

  8. New job, eh? Welp, you can always find a way to squeeze in a review in the future, until then, good luck, bro!

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