Screech of the Decapitated (2006) – By Duane L. Martin

 Screech of the Decapitated is the story of two girls who are entertainers (strippers) and travel around the world apparently having various adventures, which they reference numerous times throughout the film usually by naming a city like Madrid or Cairo without actually saying what happened there. Well now our two girls, Wanda (Shannon Noelle Garrigus), who by the way looks like a young, less top heavy Pamela Anderson, and Raquel (Brittany Petros) are down in Buenos Aires looking for a serial killer that kills girls in alphabetical order by their first names. So far he’s up to the E’s. Why they went looking for him I have no idea.

In their adventures, they run up against an alien named Nadir (Ed Flannigan) and his queen, Queen Maquzita (Debbie Rochon) who are hell bent on conquering the world with werewolf clones. They capture the girls, and using a combination of a pain emitting implant in one and a destructive respiratory virus in the other, he gets the girls to kidnap a general for him from the local military base. The rest of the movie is basically about the girls attempting to thwart their evil plans with the help of their friends, Henri (Gilles Marini, who by the way reminded me a lot of a young Antonio Banderas both in his look and his accent), and his partner Dodo (J.J. Williams) who are both local cops. They also enlisted the help of Henri’s two sisters, Marta (William Belli) and Stella (Monica Gonzales), who are both female wrestlers. Together they all work to stop Nadir and recover some diamonds he stole to power his weapons and technology that he was going to use to conquer the Earth.

Ok, that’s basically the story. Now for the review part. Ready? Here goes. This movie wasn’t just stupid, it was way, way hella stupid! Now when I say that, I don’t mean it in a bad way, I mean it was loaded with stupid humor, and being an afficionado of stupid humor, I have to say that I absolutely loved this film! This film was so much fun to watch on so many levels, that it really surprised me. Let’s cover a few of them.

The acting: The acting was seriously b-movie cheesy, but it’s that awesome cheesy that makes you smile when you see it. The chemistry between Wanda and Raquel is just amazing and their interactions are so much fun that you can’t help but have a great time watching them. Their dialogue is not only funny, but witty, well thought out and pricelessly delivered. The interaction between these two just made the movie. The rest of the cast also did a great job, although I was a bit confused by Debbie Rochon’s lack of dialogue throughout the first third or so of the film, if not more. She literally had no lines for her character.

The sock monkey: I bet you’re all wondering what the hell a sock monkey has to do with this film. You know what? It didn’t have anything to do with the film at all. It did however consistently show up in scene after scene in very obvious ways that made it a totally fun running goof throughout the film. At one point it was even strapped to the front of the girls’ car for no apparent reason in yet another random appearance.

The continuity: Continuity is for whimps and commies! Apparently that was the philosophy that went into the making of this film, as the continuity errors from scene to scene were so glaringly obvious that it completely added to the fun of the film and was obviously done on purpose. Now continuity errors are usually a bad thing, but in this film it was fun spotting them from scene to scene and totally added to the whole concept of making this a cheesy as hell b-movie.

The boom mic: Yes, our old friend the boom mic made an appearance numerous times in this film. I thought it was an accident at first, but it appeared several more times after that, to the point where it became obvious that either they didn’t care, or it was just a running goof. Considering how the rest of the movie was done, I’m pretty sure it was either one or both. In any case, it was funny.

The props: The props in this film were about as cheesy and low budget as you can get, but that only made them more fun and complemented perfectly the whole "b-movie" look and feel of this film. They did a brilliant job with them and I think if they had gone the way of nice looking sets and props, it would have really detracted from the fun of the film. As an example, Nadir’s spaceship had a captain’s chair. What was it? It looked like an exercise bike wrapped in aluminum foil. I’m pretty sure that’s what it was anyway. Don’t even get me started on the werewolf masks!

There’s more, but that covers a lot of what made this movie so awesome. This movie did have a couple of problems though, which I also want to mention.

The first problem was that it felt like it was being stretched. At about 45 or so minutes into the film, the girls cause Nadir’s hideout to blow up. Up to that point the film had been a blast, and even after it and up to the end it was still a blast, but it felt like it kind of lost direction a bit after that point. It almost felt like, "Well ok, Nadir’s hideout is destroyed…what now?" The movie continued on for another 35 minutes or so, but it was almost like watching two films done in part 1 / part 2 format. Like part 1 would be where we thought they destroyed Nadir, and part 2 is where he comes back for revenge and they have to stop him again. It’s not a major problem, but it did feel a bit strange to me.

Another problem I had, and I’m not sure if this was the disc or the movie itself, but I’m thinking it was actually the movie itself, is that a bunch of scenes had this effect on them that was like a skip frame effect that made them a bit visually jerky. This wasn’t consistent throughout the film however, and would often just be there in one shot and then they’d cut to a different shot and it wouldn’t be there. Judging by the fact that it the effect was clearly differentiated between the scenes, I’m assuming it was in the movie itself. Personally, I’d love to curb stomp whoever invented that effect because it’s really annoying and should never be used by anyone under any circumstances. The reason I wondered if it might be the disc is because I had some problems with the disc I was sent stalling out in a few different spots, so I’m not sure if it was the player, the disc or the movie itself, but as I said, the cuts of the effect weren’t random, so I guess it was just in the movie.

That brings me to another problem, even though this is a technical thing and really is just a minor problem at best. The chapter stops could have been done a lot better. Many of them seem to start in awkward and somewhat random places rather than in well thought out spots at the beginnings of various scenes. This became a problem when the disc would stall on me and I was trying to get back to where I was in the film. That’s actually the only reason I noticed it. Don’t worry about the stalling disc thing though, as it was likely just a problem on my copy and can probably be cleared up by wiping the disc down with a soft cloth and some Windex.

The last thing I want to mention isn’t a problem really, but more of a wish. I wish the disc had more on it than just the movie. There’s literally nothing on this disc but the movie and scene selection. This film is so awesome that it’s just screaming for a behind the scenes featurette and a blooper reel. That would have added so much to the value of the disc, but as it is, I found myself sitting there when it was over wishing for stuff that wasn’t there. That in and of itself does speak to how much I enjoyed this film, but still…

I’ve reviewed a ton of independent films in the last four years, and it’s not often I have the pleasure of sitting through one that’s as full of cheesy fun as this one was. There aren’t a lot of films I go back and watch again within a short period of time, but I have a feeling I’ll be seeing this one again real soon simply because I had such a great time with it. If you love stupid humor and good old fashioned cheesy fun, then this is one film you definitely want to add to your collection.

You can find out more about this film and pick yourself up a copy, and even a t-shirt if you’d like, from the film’s website at http://www.screechthemovie.com.

PS: I’ve been informed by the film’s producer, Diana Kyle, that they’ve decided to re-edit some things in the film and to possibly add some "R" rated footage.  That version of the film will be released later this year or early in 2009 and be available along with the current version that’s currently released.  She also informed me that the film is now primarily available at www.filmbaby.com.