Richard Elfman’s ‘Bloody Bridget’ Is a Celebration of Camp and Gore [Review]
Real ones know that horror is much more than what the studio system might have us believe. While fans are consistently ambushed with glossy IP and familiar names, there is an entire underground of cult horror cinema still thriving today. And the king of cult, Richard Elfman, has once again risen to showcase why these films are such an essential part of the genre ecosystem. Elfman’s latest mad experiment Bloody Bridget is an insatiable cornucopia of joyous, gory camp and a real feast for the eyes.
This sort of DIY exploration of bad taste stands as a countercultural middle finger to the studio system’s high gloss, low imagination output. It’s a bonkers, politically incorrect bouquet of vampire culture, sex, live performance, music, and burlesque.
The plot for Bloody Bridget is more detailed and layered than you might expect. The story follows Bridget, a beautiful and charismatic performer with ambitions greater than the nudie shows she’s stuck recycling night after night. Played magnetically by the equally charismatic Anastasia Elfman, Bridget undergoes a series of injustices at the hands of rotten no-good men before she’s transformed into Bloody Bridget, a mythologically-infused vampire who devours the hearts of deviants, terrible crooks, and brutal abusers. There’s a certain Dexter-like satisfaction in watching Elfman rip out hearts and stuff them into her gore-geous maw.
With all of that said, it takes an experienced cult cinema-goer to appreciate the DIY stylings of a high-camp Richard Elfman joint. This mad scientist exists in the same world as Peaches Christ or John Waters. This is countercultural filmmaking, a low-budget punk foray into the landscape of camp. That’s a long way to say that Bloody Bridget isn’t for everyone. And that’s the beauty of it. For one thing, as previously mentioned, Elfman and friends have no time for politically correct humor. There are Jewish lawyers, POC characters practicing voodoo, Gay jokes galore, and worse. But all of it is done with a genius wink, and anyone who appreciates this creator’s previous works will understand that he is commenting on the prejudice that makes our world such a shitty place. This is low-brow, high camp, and it works.
The film’s music was composed by longtime collaborator Danny Elfman alongside Ego Plum, only enhancing the bizarro vibe of the film. There are earnest dance performances, musical breaks, trials in hell, and an endless supply of blood on display. Like Richard Elfman’s other works, Bloody Bridget is a love letter to independent filmmaking. No sheen and all talent make this gory bruise a real shiner.
Bloody Bridget is an insatiable cornucopia of joyous, gory camp and a real feast for the eyes.