Dead Want Women, The (2012)
Starring Eric Roberts, Jessica Morris, Ariana Madix, Jean Louise O’Sullivan, Circus-Szalewski, Robert Zachar, Nihilist Gelo
Directed by Charles Band
The Dead Want Women. I would have been willing to settle for a better movie.
In fact, I would have preferred an actual movie. This is not an actual movie. There is something here vaguely resembling an actual movie. There are plot mechanics that when put together form something that somewhat resembles the structure of an actual movie. But an actual movie – no; there is no actual movie here.
The Dead Want Women is such a terrible title for this film because it implies a completely different movie, one much more fun and lively, than the one we actually get. The dead don’t really want women so much as they want a specific woman for reasons that make far more sense to them than it will any living person watching. What they want her for is certainly not the reasons you would expect from a movie with a title like this. Much more coma than Troma.
The Dead Want Women runs a scant 75-minutes; only 70 once you subtract the opening and closing credits. A Charles Band/Full Moon production that really feels like he figured since he’s got a little money, a gimmicky title that is guaranteed to sell, and a devoted fan base willing to swallow anything he offers them he really doesn’t have to put much effort into making anything more than a series of prolonged scenes tied together by plot points so vague the film feels incomplete, as if key scenes either were never written or filmed.
It opens with a silent era Hollywood prologue that drags on for well over 20-minutes despite feeling like it could have just as easily been done in less than half that amount of time; so much so the events of this set-up will later be recounted by another character in little more than 30-seconds and explained so succinctly that had the entire prologue been dropped you still would have pretty much understood what happened.
Silent movie star Rose Pettigrew is holding a shindig at her fancy Hollywood hills home. She heads downstairs with a trio of silent era movie star friends: a Lon Chaney-type with a burn scarred chest (her lover, I think), a Tom Nix cowboy-type played with campy aplomb by Eric Roberts, and a comedian clearly based on Fatty Arbuckle even though the actor is clearly mimicking Curly of The Three Stooges. Downstairs happens to be a cave with a stone altar, for what purpose is never made abundantly clear.
Two naked flappers engage in some girl-on-girl action before pairing off to have sex with the cowboy and the comedian while the horror star gropes Miss Pettigrew as she sits on her throne. The Fatty Arbuckle comedian will stab his flapper to death right as Pettigrew's manager barges in to inform her that her latest movie is a bomb and the studio has cancelled her contract because they're only going to make talkies and don't believe she can crossover from being a silent movie actress. She pulls out a gun, mutters something about the Lon Chaney guy's promise that they be together forever, and then kills everyone. Then she goes back to the party and cuts her throat in front of everyone.
Jump forward to the 21st century where two attractive real estate agents spend the night preparing to show the place to a buyer the next day. We’re told this house has remained unoccupied for 80 years despite it looking spic & span even before they begin sprucing it up.
Ghosts of the three dead actors with zombie make-up that makes them all look like they have the skin texture of rotting rubber squash begin to not so much haunt the ladies as talk their ears off. They’re not much for spooking but they’re damn good at speaking.
A couple hammy performances aside, there's really no movie here. Again, there's the vaguest notion of a storyline that adds up to the bare semblance of a plot and it only achieves feature length by virtue of director Charles Band stretching what little there is to painful lengths (A woman finds a necklace and then stares at it silently for a good 40-seconds). Even when it was over and I had an inkling of what exactly had just happened I was still left with a myriad of questions.
My #1 question: Can I have my 70-minutes back?
1/2 out of 5