When Mike Watt is on, he’s spot-on. His latest trek into the indie horror realm finds him armed with a who’s who of low budget bad asses for one big ol’ tongue-in-cheek fest known as Demon Divas and The Lanes of Damnation…
Lisa and Taffy are sweet girls. They’re hardworking college students who are just trying to get the most out of life. Sure, they’re a little nerdy and they work at a bowling alley to make ends meet, but there’s no harm in that. Right? Under any normal circumstance, this would be the case. However, these young ladies have the misfortune of encountering a smattering of sorority sisters who only seem to be interested in messing with their lives. Just when it seems the girls can take no more, a peculiar offer comes their way via the sisters who run the bowling alley at which they are employed. Seemingly, this wish will vastly improve their lives but it comes at a cost, and a very bloody one at that. Demons, bloodshed, guts, gore, and so much more are in store when you strike a deal with a brood of demon sisters.
I kind of anticipated liking this movie. Everything adds up for me with it. Aside from already liking writer/director Mike Watt as an individual, I also enjoyed his film output. Mike Watt is smarter than you and I put together. He’s fully capable of making an awesome horror flick that will make you chuckle, all while whipping some damn fine social relevance at you. He’s not working with gazillion dollar budgets, and frankly, doesn’t need to. Between the impeccable writing, great performances, some excellent camera work, and old-fashioned prosthetics, Demon Divas gives its target audience everything they could ever want out of a horror film. It’s almost impossible to not smile throughout this entire movie. If ever a workshop were conducted on what low budget indie horror should look like, Mike Watt would be the instructor.
The Demon Divas part of the film’s title is another aspect that makes this film so special. As previously stated, this cast features a who’s who of the indie circuit. In addition to Mike’s wife and cinema sidekick, Amy Lynn Best, Demon Divas features a slew of well-known faces from our corner of hell. Genre favorites Debbie Rochon, Brinke Stevens, Lilith Stabbs, and Robyn Griggs (along with the aforementioned Ms. Best) make up an unholy brood of flesh-hungry demons who are stronger, smarter, and more badass then any sappy, bullshit romantic monsters an out-of-touch studio could concoct…and this is just one part of the cast! Nikki McCrea and Sofiya Smirnova play the roles of Lisa and Taffy, who are essentially, the good guys. They’re characters are good people who want someone in life to notice them. Both actresses tackled these roles with the right amount of conviction that makes you want to rally behind them. Throw in a funny-as-always performance by Henrique Couto (The Mojo Nixon of indie horror) and you’ve got a great balance of solid performances and (intentional) camp.
It’s easy to make comparisons to 80’s horror nowadays because everyone seems to think they’re the first ones to have decided to do so. While I would normally avoid falling into such cliches for fear of taking away from a stellar movie, I do see where the influence does play into Demon Divas. Graduation Day, Chopping Mall, Killer Party, and Just One of the Guys all came to mind instantly while watching this. We get some of the silly stereotypes (in characters) that make 80’s movies fun and still have the post-modern intelligence that bring the film up to speed with today’s horror audiences. Gore, laughs, and a lesson to be learned all chalk up to making a horror film with some meat on its bones.
Happy Cloud Pictures (along with other companies such as Forbidden Pictures and the now defunct LBP) are the life-breath of horror’s current state. These companies use their ingenuity to work around the system and release films that make the genre fans beam with pride. I highly encourage you to go to either www.happycloudpictures.com or www.amylynnbest.net and pick up a copy of Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation. Then, get all your horror-lovin’ friends together, get a case of Old German (They’re from Pennsylvania, duh!) and have a damn good time watching Demon Divas and The Lanes of Damnation!
Tags: amy lynn best, audiences, Blood, brinke stevens, chopping mall, cinema, Debbie Rochon, Demon Divas and The Lanes of Damnation, film, Forbidden Pictures, Gore, Graduation Day, Guts, happy cloud pictures, henrique couto, Horror, Indie, Indie Horror, Killer Party, Mike Watt