I promise the above outburst will make sense eventually.
If you’re familiar with the Southern California goth subculture, you’ve probably encountered Spooky Dan Walker; even if you’re not, you’ve probably seen his handiwork in at least a couple movies, as he’s been working in special effects since 1998. His first foray into writing and directing is SLAY BELLES, which he wrote with Jessica Luhrssen.
SLAY BELLES is a slasher dropped smack dab on Xmas eve, and takes place on the remains of Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead, California. We start out with the three friends, ringleader Dahlia (Susan Slaugher), her cohost Sadie (Hannah Wagner), and their reluctant friend Alexi (Kristina Klebe). Dahlia and Sadie host an urbex (urban explorer) YouTube channel, and on Xmas eve they surprise their reluctant friend Alexi with a surprise trip to Santa Land, because Xmas is Alexi’s favorite holiday. After a brief pit stop in a biker bar for a pee break, and a run in with the bar owner Cherry (Diane Salinger) who has FUCK XMAS tattooed across her knuckles (I still haven’t gotten my knuckles tattooed, I’m strangely inspired by this idea) our heroines meet local park ranger Sean (Stephen Lunsford) and learn about some grizzly local murders. The news of local murders only whets their appetite, and they continue to there destination…SANTA LAND!
As the trio is almost done with their exploring, they decide to hit a spot they missed; yep, this is when things go sideways in the best possible way! A monster stumbles upon the team that would have gone unnoticed??????????????????????? (My cat decided to help write this review, I’m leaving her contribution there), and the chase begins, and who saves the day? Biker Santa played by Barry Bostwick (ASSHOLE) saves the day, or well, you’ll see. During the battle to catch the monster, we learn that the one thing the monster likes more than punishing naughty children, is punishing naughty women in lingerie, so of course, the obvious way to capture it is by yelling GAWDDAMNPISSSHITMUTHERFUCKINPHOOEY! Phooey? Really? Who even says that anymore? I’d be surprised if the actress playing Sadie has ever heard the term before.
I was pleasantly surprised by the plot twist that got us to the villainous ending, I can usually suss out where a story is going, but this on kept that mystery going until the very end. Color me impressed! If you’re looking for a campy slasher chock full of the XMS spirit, SLAY BELLES is for you!
SLAY BELLES arrives on VOD and Blu-ray December 4th