Not Quite Horror: “Gangie” (????)

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Not Quite Horror contains reviews of films not traditionally considered horror films. By analyzing them as horror films (identifying the monster, discussing the shared worry for the audience and the main characters, and understanding the depth of horror available to the viewer), who knows? There’s more than one way to watch a movie.

Gangie (????)

The Monster: Based on Maeby Funke’s grandmother, or “Gangie,” the titular monster survives by drinking the blood of her victims. Her monstrous face was inspired by Maeby’s Grandmother after a particularly brutal beauty treatment.

The Horror: Whether in the original film, any of its many sequels, or as the real-life Gangie herself, the monster repels anyone foolish enough to face her head on. In this case, the truth is even more frightening than the movie.

Why? In real life, Gangie is never far away from her son. He’s a self-proclaimed monster with a hook for a hand and a habit or wrecking everything around him.

The Shared Fate: No family is perfect on the inside or the outside.

With time, a family member’s physical quirk can become an oddity. Add disdain and disappointment and monsters are born in your own living room.

Bound to our families by love, honor, or at very least habit, these physically differences are politically incorrect to ridicule and uncomfortable to discuss. Yet find yourself forced to stare at that nose, or that rash, or that hair for one more minute and . . . This is why Poe wrote “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Be honest with yourself. Isn’t there a Gangie lurking in your kitchen, and isn’t she thirsty?

— I am indebted to Noel Carroll’s The Philosophy of Horror for his ideas on defining horror, as well as John Skipp and Craig Spector’s article “Death’s Rich Pageantry, or Skipp & Spector’s Handy-Dandy Splatterpunk Guide to the Horrors of Non-horror Film” in Cut! Horror Writers on Horror Film for a similar idea.–

–Axel Kohagen

Kevin & Steve’s Horror Movies: “Girlfriend from Hell” (1989)

Girlfriend from Hell (2)

Steve: This little she-devil sure packs a punch in, Girlfriend From Hell. With great one liners from the entire cast and an over the top, yet fun story to follow, this movie delivers the cheesy goods. Setting itself apart from the mundane films that we have grown far too accustom to, Girlfriend From Hell lets loose and allows it’s audience to escape into a dimension (or two) that we just can’t find in today’s film world.

Kevin: Well, what do you know? Turns out the Devil wears red dress and attends high school birthday parties. At least that’s what SHE doesn’t in the 1989 horror-comedy “Girlfriend from Hell” which is easily one of the silliest movies I’ve seen in quite some time. In this case, silly really isn’t all that bad and this movies turns out to be way more fun than I would have ever expected it to be. So…back to the “plot”…

Steve: I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we began the film with laser guns and some odd CGI, but I soon embraced this gem more and more with every outrageous scene. The acting is spot on for a film of this caliber and the characters scream likability. I was actually sad to see most of the characters leave us and wish they could have stayed around longer. Rocco and his girl are a comedic duo made in heaven. The devil chaser himself was a pleasant surprise with his mind on sex 99% of the time. His line delivery was out of this world as he had me rolling with laughter on multiple occasions.

0WBSF

Kevin: What Steve, I thought you were going to talk about the plot? Anyway, The devil is on the run and being pursued by God’s assistant, a devil chaser named Chaser (played with pitch-perfect comic timing by an underrated Dana Ashbrook). When the devil makes a wrong turn to a high school birthday party, the devil takes over the body of innocent and painfully shy Maggie (wonderfully played by Liane Curtis who displays the perfect amount of tart sweetness to the role). Maggie is on the blind date from..err…hell. The bodies pile up and the fun begins as we have assault rifle nuns, soul stolen during sex, a journey throughout time, and a religious woman holding onto her dead life by a floating cheeto. Seriously. “Girlfriend from Hell” never takes itself too seriously and is never boring. It is actually a lot of fun with a clever script and a breezy pace.

Steve: This is by far the most surprisingly fun films I have seen I a while. Is it a perfect script with top of the line effects and A-list actors? Hell no. But it sure beats out the majority of the crap out there today. So, for the true experience, dust off the old VCR and don’t be afraid of making a date with Girlfriend From Hell.

Kevin: Fun fact: In early 2011, playwright/composer Sean Matthew Whiteford adapted the film into a stage musical. The pop-rock musical features 20 original songs, a revamped story line, while still using several of the original film’s characters, and using the film’s release date year, 1989, as the year the show is set in. The show opened for a test run at The Gene Frankel Theatre in NYC on July 21, 2011. The original Off-Off Broadway cast included Melissa Matthews as Maggie (the role originated by Liane Curtis in the film), Dana Gough, Gregory Krupp, Frank McGinnis, Foster Miller, Cassiopeia Ottulich, Matthew Patane, Juda Leah, Michael Siktberg, Sean Matthew Whiteford, and Margie Zarcone. The show is currently preparing for a new, revised production in June 2013 at the Center For Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY.