Who doesn’t love a good erotic thriller?
Sex sells, and it has been a staple in horror since the dawn of the genre. Vampires have always had that sensual side to them. It’s probably because their method of killing so closely resembles sex. Movies like Rosemary’s Baby placed integral parts of the story line into sex scenes, and slashers just aren’t the same without the “slutty” girl. I don’t know why sex and horror go hand in hell. I don’t know why chocolate and peanut butter are so good together either…but I don’t care either. It is what it is.
Last week, we ran a press release for the new horror film Ladies of the House. What I picked out of the press release was erotic horror, and while there is some sexual situations in the film, it has this strange not-so-sexy feel. There really are no protagonists in the story, and everything just feels like a huge dream.
The movie begins at a strip club where Jacob (Gabriel Horn) and friend Derek (Samrat Chakrabarti) are celebrating Jacob’s brother’s birthday (RJ Hanson). Kai (Hanson) is a bit slow and wanting to show off his friends. Derek is the enabler that pushes Kai to drink more, sit up front for dancers, and generally just be like the frat boy Derek. Jacob is intriguing though. He seems to be down to earth and more realistic, but he goes along with every one of Derek’s plans.
As the night winds down, the trio sit outside the bar and decide to follow one of the dancers home (Belladonna). Somehow, Derek talks the group into house and the group enjoys drinks. Derek pressures Ginger into prostituting herself to Kai, and Kai reveals his Lenny (Of Mice and Men) nature. He gets rough. She ends up dead. As the men scramble to leave the house, Ginger’s roommates come home. Lin (Farah White) and Getty (Melodie Sisk) play a mother-mother role in the house apparently, and Brina Palencia is left to be the brooding teenage presence. The men separate to avoid detection.
After discovering Ginger, the women go on a hunt for the killers. Kai is held up with Ginger’s body. Jacob takes refuge in Crystal’s closet, and Derek moves and darts throughout the house. The women don’t call the police, and we soon discover that they have a few secrets of their own.
A low budget indie film like Ladies of the House can fall into the trap of just showing flesh and showering the audience in blood. This movie avoids that and has that strange People Under the Stairs feeling. The women keep themselves prim and proper (much like the mother from that film) while displaying the madness of truly screwed up personalities. Seriously, the costume designs, hair, and make up are reminiscent of images like the painting Nighthawks or Rosie the Riveter. The lack of protagonists in the film allows the women the freedom to be sadistic and vengeful without turning off the audience from their wicked ways. All of this leads to an interesting sexual undertone.
As the movie progresses, you kind of switch sides from antagonist to antagonist. The women live a very interesting life that’s not over the top like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s a bit more believable than the setup in films like that (or even People Under the Stairs) because the women aren’t recluses or isolated. They interact with the rest of the world, and the men just happen to stumble their evil asses into it. While Derek is just an ass, Jacob follows everything with minimal fighting. Kai is Kai.
My biggest complaint with the film is that it just stops, but for the characters involved, it makes sense. It might be interesting to see where another film would go with the concept and characters. Ladies of the House available on VOD now, and it’s definitely worth a look.