Written and Directed by: Israel Luna
Starring: Krystal Summers, William Belli, and Tom Zembrod
Reviewed by: Brett G.
ďThere are three of them and two of usÖwe cannot pull a train!Ē
Well, hereís one that certainly needs little introduction. When a movie carries a name like Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives, it pretty much introduces itself. Apparently, the rape-revenge sub-genre was getting a little boring, what with all of the passť woman-on-man bloodletting. Enter director Israel Luna, who decided to throw the transgendered into the equation to shake up the infamous sub-genre.
After a group of trans performers get finish their nightly stage show, they begin to contemplate their plans for the rest of the evening. They end up at a bar, where a couple of guys decide they want to take a few of them home for the night. Among the lucky few is Bubbles, who has recently been abused by a hook-up. It turns out that her abuser has orchestrated the nightís events to finish the job; still slighted by the fact that Bubbles actually ended up being a "man," heís decided to kill her and her friends. He only half-succeeds, as Bubbles is simply left for dead. After she awakens from a coma she and her remaining tranny friends begin to plot their revenge.
You certainly canít accuse the filmís title of lying--there are transgendered folks, theyíre certainly ticked-off, and they do carry knives that get put to use in the filmís final act. Like any other film of this type, itís thinly plotted and only exists to show off some violent comeuppance against rapists. The only difference here is the gender status of our titular characters, and itís a change that really doesnít add much. I suppose itís meant to empower that segment of the population the same way usual rape/revenge films empower women, but this is really just a silly little exercise in tongue-in-cheek, grindhouse thrills. So many people instantly cringe when they think about these films, but this is one that shows us how ridiculous they can be.
Unfortunately, it also reminds us how tedious and plodding they can be as well. So much of the setup to the climatic bloodshed consists of little more than the girls sitting around yapping about nothing. Watching it, it reminded me of Death Proof, only the empty dialogue that lacks Tarantinoís gift of gab. Not much of interest happens until the attack on the victims, as weíre left with some pretty uninspired attempts at humor that mostly fall flat (though I did enjoy how the film parodied the typical mute victim these movies have--here, Bubbles develops a lisp instead). Once we finally do reach that climactic scene, the movie fails to go balls out with the on-screen violence; instead, the title characters subject their victims to a demented game that would even make Jigsaw jealous. It (thankfully) mostly leaves things to your imagination, at least until the promised knives start carving up some flesh.
As such, this one isnít quite as over-the-top as you might imagine; aside from some random kung-fu wackiness and silly dialogue, itís pretty much another rape-revenge film. Visually, itís set apart a bit because Luna apes the Grindhouse style and infuses the film with plenty of intentional pops and print damage. He even borrows the intentional missing reel gag (which he probably should have done more than once, just to trim some of the fat off of the film). Acting is surprisingly solid; no oneís going to be getting a call from the academy, but Krystal Summers drums up just enough empathy in the role of Bubbles, and Tom Zembrod is adequately demented as the antagonist, Boner. He puts on his best Bill Moseley-esque, white trash psycho face, and it works well enough. He has to spend a lot more time talking about what heís going to do rather than doing it, which is indicative of the film as a whole: it threatens to be an insane grindhouse romp, but ends up delivering moderate shocks thatís buried under a ton of exposition.
You surely donít expect greatness from something called Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives, and it doesnít deliver it. It can provide some cheap thrills for the camp crowd thatís been waiting for the rape revenge movie tailored for them, but thatís about it. Breaking Glass Pictures has unearthed this one and will be bringing it home on November 9th. The disc will feature an anamorphic widescreen transfer and a 5.1 surround track. Extra features will include bloopers, the filmís ďmissing reel,Ē a behind-the-scenes featurette, and a commentary with Luna, Belli, and Summers. If youíre absolutely starved for transexual revenge movies and have exhausted the Sleepaway Camp series (spoiler alert from 1983!), this one is worth a peep for the extremely curious. Rent it!
For more information, please visit the Breaking Glass Pictures website.
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