When it comes to B movies there are certain studios that do it better than others. At least in my experience, with Full Moon Entertainment being among my personal favorites and seeing as they have a video streaming service, I figured why not do a month of their films. Excluding their Puppet Master Series as I have plans for that series down the line and their Subspecies series which I just can’t get into. Luckily though those two are just the company’s flagships and I’m here for the other stuff and it’s chock full of campy goodness.
The Dead Want Women opens with a party held by Silent Movie Starlet Rose Pettigrew (Jean Louis O’Sullivan) to celebrate her newest film and first talkie. Attending the party with her are her close friends and confidants Sonny Barnes (Eric Roberts), Tubby Fitzgerald (J. Scott) and Erik Burke (Robert Zachar). The four slip away during the party to engage in what can best be described as mild debauchery with a pair of flappers. Their shenanigans get interrupted by Pettigrew’s manager, who informs her that the studio has canceled her contract after test audiences disliked the sound of her voice. Her response is less than rational as she guns down her manager, friends and one of the flappers (Jeanie Marie Sullivan). The other having been killed by Tubby Fitzgerald… for reasons. She then heads out to her party and slits her throat by the pool. The Dead Want Women then jumps to the present day…ish. Where Rose Pettigrew’s home still sits empty and for sale since Rose’s death decades ago. The home is up for sale by a pair of realtors Reese (Jesssica Morris) and Danni (Ariana Madix), who have a mysterious prospective buyer who only communicates via written letter. The pair rush to clean and straighten up the house before he arrives. While cleaning Reese finds Rose’s necklace by the pool and Danni decides she shouldn’t only keep it, but also wear it. As the day wears on and becomes night with the buyer never showing up the girls decided to finish cleaning so that they can just head home. But, the spirits of the home, Barnes, Fitgerald and Burke, along with the flapper that was shot by Rose make their presence known. Which of course is ignored until it’s too late, leaving Rose and Danni Trapped in the house with them. But what of Rose Pettigrew?
Honestly, The Dead Want Women takes a little time to get interesting. It spends an inordinately long amount of time focusing on either the soft core sex scenes and on the girls cleaning. Time I feel that could have been better spent elsewhere. Things don’t really start to pick up until the ghosts make themselves known. Which is sadly most the way into the film.
The ghost themselves… well they’re more akin to ghouls than ghosts. At least in my opinion, are the best part of the film. All three are distinctive and memorable, with Tubby being my favorite. Even if his tone and inflections did bother me from time to time, as the actor felt like he was having the most fun. Which I got from all three actors that played the ghosts they were having fun and were great casting decisions. So, Jeremiah Lutes (Casting Director), keep up the good work.
I can’t say the same for the realtors, who felt bored. With monotone performances, I wish more time would have been spent either fleshing out the characters, not literally, but if that’s what you’re here for The Dead Want Women does deliver on that front, or on giving them some half decent dialogue. I really want to harp on these ladies hard. But I heard their lines and honestly, I don’t think anyone could have made it sound any less silly.
My only other gripe is actually with the ghouls/ghosts makeup effects. Which look so fake it borders on the ludicrous. Also the inconstancy bothers me, as they only look ghoulish sometimes while not others and this is never explained. Or why the nude flapper never looks like this and instead looks like just before she died.
Final thoughts, it’s OK. Not bad, but not the good bad. Just sort of OK. Unless your into B-Movies with paper-thin plots, tons of nudity, poor acting, and a healthy dose of B actors. Which I am. The Dead Want Women know their audience and strives to barley meet their standards and they succeed. Barely. 5/10