You know, I own quite a few Troma films that I bought years ago back when I first started getting into indie b-movies. These were the days of The Toxic Avenger, Terror Firmer and Nuke ‘Em High. Back then they seemed fun, but I’ve long since lost my taste for them. Over the years, Troma, no longer satisfied with unleashing their own brand of indie stuff on the world, decided to branch out and start releasing stuff from other indie film makers as well. Unfortunately, the stuff they’ve been releasing is so bad, that it makes Troma’s actual films look great by comparison. I could give multiple examples of releases that have set new lows with regards to standards, but for right now, I’ll stick to the film at hand…Jessicka Rabid.
Jessicka Rabid is a story about a white trash family consisting of two brothers and two sisters. One sister is mostly normal, while the other was raised like a dog, and even behaves like one, yet no one, not even the neighbor lady, seems to have a problem with that. Hell, the neighbor lady even gives her a dog toy at one point. The two brothers are total scumbags. One’s a drug dealer, and the other is a lazy turd, and both rape their sisters whenever they feel like it. Even the "normal" sister has sex with Jessicka.
So the long and the short of it is, Jessicka is kept part of the time in a cage in the garage, where they also have an actual dog in a separate cage. Well that dog gets sick with…wait for it….seriously, can you guess? That’s right children, it’s rabies, and the dog bites her hand when she goes over to see it one day. Eventually, she gets sick and goes nuts. She takes a file and grinds her teeth down into fangs, bites off one brother’s junk, cuts off the head of the sister and kills the neighbor lady by biting her in the neck. Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t.
This film is horrifically bad. It’s pacing is slow as hell, there’s not one character to feel for or identify with, the visual quality sucks, and in general, there’s just not one good thing I can really think of to say about this film, other than that I actually received another Troma release to review this month that I couldn’t make it more than a half hour into before I gave up, so I guess getting through this one makes it a little bit better than the other turd called Klown Kamp Massacre, which I’ll try to make it through and review in an upcoming issue. No promises though.
The biggest problem with this film is that it’s just slow as hell…period. If you cut out all the pointless excess in this film, you could cut it down to a fifteen minute short. Here’s an example. There’s a scene where Jessicka and her sister are laying on the couch watching TV. I figure, ok, now’s a good time to go to the bathroom, so I left it running and went to the bathroom. I come back, and they’re still sitting there on the couch doing the exact same thing they were doing when I left. It gets to the point where there are so many scenes of nothing interesting going on, or scenes that are just way too long, that you’ll find yourself grabbing the remote (or the mouse in this case), and fast forwarding, or actually jumping ahead some just to get past the more long, drawn out scenes full of nothing. There’s even a scene with a screamo death metal band having a rehearsal at the house that’s unbelievably obnoxious. Needless to say, I was thanking whoever invented fast forward at that point, because if I had to sit and listen to that crap for an entire scene, I’d have killed someone myself. I guess that’s why they call it death metal.
The story, what there is of it, is thin to say the least. There’s no back story on this family at all, no explanation as to why they’re raising this girl as a dog, why all the incest, why the neighbor thinks them treating her like a dog is normal, etc…. It just sort of drops you in on these people…and goes from there, but it goes at such a slow pace and is so uninteresting, that you’ll probably want to bail out long before you get to the conclusion.
The visuals in the film, which I mentioned earlier, are utterly horrible. The quality is really bad, and the video itself is jerky to some small degree. I’m guessing from some things that were in the film, that it’s made to look visually like it was shot on film that was then left sitting around in someone’s attic for a few decades. I don’t know. I guess I can kinda see where they were going with that look, but the content of the film doesn’t match the visuals, so I just don’t know what the thought process was in making it look like that or what the intended "vibe" was supposed to be, but it just didn’t work in any case.
What really bothers me the most isn’t that this was a bad movie. What bothers me is that is that Troma is doing a good thing by helping independent film makers to get their stuff out there to the world, yet they seem to have absolutely no standards as to what they’ll release. A few months ago I received The Films of Dennis Woodruff, which included three of his films. I could literally make it through about twenty minutes of the first two, and then I just gave up. Klown Kamp Massacre…same thing. I managed about twenty minutes of it and then I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wish that Troma would be more selective about the films they release, and really help out the film makers with true talent rather than looking for the trashiest stuff they can put out there.
I know this review comes off as little more than a hit piece, and I hate writing reviews like this, but when a film deserves it, it deserves it. I’ve met Elske McCain at a film festival once, and she seemed like a nice girl, which is why I feel bad about having to write a review like this. Still, as a reviewer, you have to be objective and give your honest opinion, regardless of who’s involved and how you feel about them, and my opinion of this film is…avoid it like the plague.