Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Granny (Luca Bercovici, 1995)

It's hard to believe, but there once was a time when I was indifferent to elder abuse. Every other a week, it would seem, I'd be walking down the street and stumble upon an old person who looked like they had just been beaten, I'm assuming, by a loved one. Since I had less important things to do, I would usually step over their withered bodies with a casual elan and continue on my merry way. Well, that all changes today, for I have seen The Granny, the only film, at least to my knowledge, that takes elder abuse seriously. It's true, I still won't stop to help any of the injured seniors I come across during my daily travels (like I said, I got less important things to do), but I'll try to look at them in an empathetic manner as I step over them. You're probably thinking to yourself: Why are the elderly treated so shabbily by members of their own family? Given that I just watched The Granny, I'm easily the most qualified person to answer this question. That being said, I'll try to do so utilizing my trademark modesty. At any rate, it's quite simple, really. The reason old folks are constantly being fucked over by their so-called "loved ones" is because of money. You see, in order to get their grubby little mitts on the senior's money and/or property, they must die first. And in order to expedite this process, they start acting like total dicks.

Of course, some take the whole acting like total dicks thing a little too far, and end up trying to murder the senior they want to fleece. But this only happens on rare occasions, as it's difficult to enjoy your inheritance if you're serving a life sentence. No, what they usually do first is slowly degrade the senior's sense of self-worth over time. This typically involves putting them in a shitty senior's home on the outskirts of a pending lawsuit. If they can't manage to swing this (old people can be stubborn some times), they settle for head games and verbal abuse. If that doesn't work, that's when the beatings begin.

In this film, directed by Luca Bercovici (Rockula), the greedy family members decide that murder is the only way to get at grannies money. I know, I just got finished explaining how murder isn't to wisest course of action when it comes to collecting inheritance. But the granny at the center of this campy, and, at times, gory enterprise, doesn't seem to want to die.

In fact, she's so dead-set against being dead, that she orders a magic elixir. And, of course, said magic elixir is delivered to her door on the day her not-so loving family plan on putting poison in her soup.

Make sure to pay close attention to what Namon Ami (Luca Bercovici), a moderately hunky shaman/snake oil salesmen, is blathering about in the film's flashback cold opening. Taking place, oh, let's say, three hundred years ago, the flashback shows Mr. Ami scolding a family for not flowing his instructions before they let their daughter drink the magic elixir. Well, it's too late now, as their daughter (the luminous Janelle Paradee) just put dad in a scissor hold.

Any doubts that may have been plaguing me in regard to this movie's quality were washed away in an instant when the clearly possessed young woman tells dad: "I promise, I have no teeth down there," before plunging his head between her legs. Granted, the film could still suck pretty hard. But I was comforted by the early inclusion of vagina-based violence.

We're quickly whisked to modern times... Well, actually, the opening credits do drag on for a bit. So, I wouldn't say, "quickly whisked." Nevertheless, we're eventually whisked to modern times, and into the home of Anastasia "Granny" Gargoli (Stella Stevens), an old woman who lives in a giant house with Kelly (Shannon Whirry), her granddaughter, and Wolfgang, her cat.

My first impression of Kelly is that she looks like a porn star/pin-up trying to pass as a librarian. Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing (I like porn stars, I like pin-ups). It's just that it didn't really make the scenes where her greedy and treacherous family members mock her for being nerdy and awkward seem authentic.

Since it's Thanksgiving, the family drops by for dinner. We have Uncle David (Brant von Hoffman), Albert (Sandy Helberg), Kelly's father, Andrea (Patricia Sturges), a milfy mink stole enthusiast, Antoinette (Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst), a bosomy and leggy brunette, Junior (Ryan Bollman), an unruly teen, and Amy (Samantha Hendricks), Albert and Andrea's youngest daughter.

Their collective attitude can be summed up by Andrea, who says, "I intend on staying drunk the entire weekend," upon entering Granny's home.

I liked how Andrea reminds Kelly to hang her coat on padded hanger not once, but twice. She might been a drunken hosebeast, but she treats her wardrobe with the utmost respect.

Remember Namon Ami? Yeah, the guy from the opening scene. Well, he just showed up at Granny's door. And does anyone want to guess what he has tucked underneath his coat? That's right, the magic elixir. Given her poor health, Granny has decided to go the magic elixir route in order to get better. Except, the magic elixir doesn't simply make you "better," it grants you immortality. That is, if you follow Mr. Ami's instructions correctly.

Hey, Mr. Ami. No wonder no one follows your instructions before taking your magic elixir, your presentation is so dull. Seriously, I nearly dozed off during your explanation regarding the instructions. All I heard was keep the elixir out of direct sunlight and make sure to perform a "cleansing ritual" before drinking it.

Speaking of drinking, as the family is eating prime rib together (would you look at that, Antoinette is giving Uncle David a foot-job underneath the dining room table), all eyes are on Granny as she is about to take a sip of soup. A common occurrence, to be sure (old people love soup), but little does she know, but her soup has been poisoned. Spooked by her family's eagerness for her eat her soup, Granny spits it out and tells her son Albert, "You're a load I should have swallowed." Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. I don't think anything can top that line.

It's true, I did emit a faint laughing sound when Junior says, "Fuck you, Granny!" But the load I should have swallowed line is pure gold.

Poisoning her soup was apparently unnecessary, as Granny manages to off herself. Not one to follow simple instructions, Granny dies after drinking the tainted elixir (not only did she leave it in the sun, she didn't perform the cleansing ritual). Or does she? Die, that is.

Coming back to life as a spry demon, one without a hint of sciatica, Granny sets in motion a series of events specifically designed to inflict maximum discomfort on her family.

I don't know which event I liked better, the one where Andrea is gnawed to death by an army of rabid mink stoles or the one where Uncle David's penis is cut off with a pair of scissors. Hmm, that's a tough one. On the one hand, I love rabid mink stoles. But I do a soft spot for arterial spray, especially when it's cock-related. I don't know, I guess I'll declare it a draw for now.

Getting murdered by Granny doesn't mean you collect your check and start looking for other acting gigs. Uh-uh, when Granny kills you, you come back a demented freak. Anyway, as expected, Kelly is the last woman standing, and must shed her nerdy ways if she expects to defeat Granny and the demented freaks, who are currently participating in a bizarre dinner party.

Did I mention that Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst has huge tits? Let me see... Oh, yeah, I called her "bosomy" not so long ago. Well, in case you don't know, bosomy is another word to describe a woman with large breasts. And the breasts attached to Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst are definitely large (well, they used to be... a now blonde Miss Parkhurst was featured on a recent episode of Botched). In a way, that's all you really need to know about this movie... you know, if you're into that kind of thing. As for everyone else, if you like your horror campy and your seniors to be active, The Granny is a movie that may or may not satisfy your needs. Oh, and stop elder abuse and neglect. Old people are people too. [Special thanks to Sam Arshawsky for recommending this movie.]