Sunday, November 13, 2016

Goth (Brad Sykes, 2003)

On the third occasion when Goth introduces herself to a Goth couple by saying, "Hi. I'm Goth," and the Goth couple respond, "So are we," I threw my hands up in mock surrender. Meaning, despite this films numerous flaws, I can't stay mad at a film that is this Goth. I know, you're thinking to yourself: Oh, Yum-Yum. You of all people should know that this film, written and directed by Brad Sykes, isn't Goth. For starters, it's directed by a guy named "Brad" (the least Goth name, like, ever). I see where you're coming from, my black clad friend. But I've recently decided that labels like, "Goth" and "Industrial" and others like, "Mathcore," "Liberal" and "Aggrotech" are pretty much meaningless. Seriously, what is Goth? Well, according Goth (Phoebe Dollar), the lead character in the aptly named Goth, in order to be truly Goth, you need to follow the three rules of Goth. Since there might be a handful of you out there who don't know what these rules are, I'll go ahead and list them. And they are: 1. Embrace the darkness. 2. Kill your fears. And 3. Live for death. Follow these three simple rules and you'll be well on your way to being a better Goth in no time. Of course, it doesn't hurt that to have a kind of "Goth Whisperer" to help guide you on your journey to becoming the Goth you've always wanted to be. Personally, I want to be a skinny-armed Goth princess... but that's, um, a different kettle of onion rings all-together.

Just for the record, I've never heard of any these so-called "Goth rules." Maybe because I never had a "Goth Whisperer." But did I really need one? I mean, I own Christian Death's first two albums and "First and Last and Always" by The Sisters of Mercy for criminy's sake. In other words, what else do I need? Okay, owning a pair of pointy buckle boots would be a start. But other than that...

According to Goth, Goth is more about attitude than fashion and music. Actually, she seems also to think that sex, drugs and murder are the keys to being Goth. And she foists this sinful trifecta into the PVC-slathered laps of two Goth posers named Crissy (Laura Reilly) and Boone (Dave Stann) at a Goth concert.

I will say this about Goth's approach to Goth, it re-injects an aspect of danger into the Goth subculture. Hampered by the barf-inducing whimsy of some of Tim Burton's lame-ass movies and the Evanescencification of the scene in general, I think Goth has lost its way in recent years. While I think stabbing people with knives is totally uncool, I think drug abuse and kinky sex are acceptable... in moderation of course.

Personally, I think Goths should subsist on a steady diet of Coil albums and the films of Rinse Dream. But that's just me.

Meeting, like I said, Crissy (black lip stick/purple streak in her hair) and Boone (black lipstick/mesh tank top), at a Goth club, Goth offers to give the couple a sneak preview of new drug called "White Light." While waiting for Goth to show up with the drugs she promised, Crissy and Boone are confronted behind the club by a couple of muggers. Not to worry, though, Goth makes short work of the muggers just as they were about to rape Crissy (they switched from being muggers to rapists when they realized they didn't have any money).

In case you're wondering, Goth is wearing black boots, a red leather skirt and a black PVC top. She also has a funky forehead tattoo and the word "Goth" tattooed on her chest. And she made "short work" of the muggers/rapists by employing the three Goth rules I mentioned earlier. I can't believe owning a pair of pointy buckle shoes and/or boots isn't one of the rules. Weird. But then again, I don't think pointy shoes and/or boots would have helped Goth against the muggers/rapists.

After doing a couple of lines of White Light, Crissy and Boone wake up in the back of Goth's van. Adorned with skulls, red lights and Goth band flyers, Crissy and Boone are obviously still trippin' balls something fierce.

Oh, and when Crissy is reluctant to snort the White Light, Goth throws this gem her way: "I thought you were Goth." Actually, that line sums up this movie in a nutshell. The whole movie is basically Goth telling Crissy and Boone they're not Goth if they don't do what she says.

You can't really blame her for thinking that way. Other than Siouxsie Sioux and Rozz Williams, I don't think there's ever been anyone more Goth than Phoebe Dollar. You can complain about this film's low budget and suspect acting as much as you want, but there's no way you can deny that Phoebe Dollar isn't Goth. Hell, she oozes Goth from every orifice (eww).

Having to settle with seeing her languish in dinky roles in movies like, Werewolf in a Women's Prison and Rat Scratch Fever, I was pleased to finally see that a movie that allowed Phoebe Dollar to display her talent as an actress. She utters the bulk of the film's dialogue and is on screen pretty much the whole time. So, if you're like me, and desperately need more Phoebe Dollar in your life, Goth is the movie for you.

The film itself isn't that bad, either. The soundtrack is wall-to-wall industrial rock and the score features pounding synths of the creepy variety. The gore is okay (the members of an indoor heterosexual hootenanny spit copious amounts of blood after being repeatedly stabbed with a knife wielded by a Goth). They mention the word "Goth" at least fifty times. And the chubby redhead Boone is "forced" to bone during the massage parlor scene was sexy as hell (she was wearing a PVC garter belt!!!!).

Though, I have to wonder: Who was driving Goth's van? They never reveal who the driver was. Wouldn't it have been cool if, say, Robert Smith was the one driving. Or maybe Peter Murphy. Or Andrew Eldritch. Or... well, you get the idea. Oooh, Patricia Morrison and David Vanian! Anyway, talk about a missed opportunity.


  1. It was me driving the van, btw. (You must not be goth if you didn't know that)

    1. I guess so. I mean, I could have sworn it was Carl McCoy of Fields of the Nephilim who was behind wheel of Goth's Goth Van.

  2. Did you keep a tally on how many times you typed "Goth" while writing this? A new drinking game perhaps?

    The handful of Brad Sykes movies I've seen have been really entertaining. He always does good work even when his funds or lack thereof are working against him. He did one before Goth called Lord of the Vampires which is just straight up badass and his entry in the Witchcraft franchise (the 12th film!) actually showed a bit of ambition. Monika Wild's in that one too.

    Bonus points for mentioning Rinse Dream out of the blue! Party Doll a Go-Go!

    1. I'm not sure how many times I typed "Goth." I definitely typed it either a shitload or a fuckton of times.

      I would love to add Lord of the Vampires to my Leterboxd watchlist, but alas, it's not in their database. :(

      Rinse Dream is never far from my mind.

    2. Not sure how it is these days, but for the longest time Lord of the Vampires was a massive pain in the ass to find. Used copies, USED, were known to go for $200. It was in one of those multi-film B movie packs at one point too but even that was pricey once it went out of print. I had to get mine from the actual distributor.

      Having Rinse Dream on the brain is never a bad thing.

    3. From the looks of it... it still is... a pain in the ass to find.

      The search for Rinse Dream's Untamed Cowgirls of the Wild West (parts 1 and 2) is almost a decade old.

  3. Oh. I think I found something new to watch! Missed this one when it came out. Can't imagine why.

    1. I can imagine why... it kinda sucks ass. But then again, it's kinda awesome too.

  4. I am a big fan of Mr. Sykes films. Evil Sister 2 is a favorite of his, and I highly recommend it.I loved Goth, and I saw it when it was first released back then, and have seen it many times since. I enjoyed your review, and I am glad you are covering lesser known cinema. Hope all is well. Thanks.