The Dead Want Women: The Official Nerfed Llamas Review – What In The World Did I Just Watch?
Full Disclosure: I haven’t watched many of the modern Full Moon Feature films. They dropped off my radar around 2002 when Trancers 6 was released. My understanding is during that time they were going through a rather large transition. The old VHS/DVD rental model was slowly dying out and in a bid to keep up with the changes in how movies were viewed, Full Moon Features went through some re-branding and other necessary changes. Unfortunately, they did not have a very active online presence at the time, certainly not like they do today with a dedicated Website, Streaming Portal, Social Media, YouTube, and even an assortment of their films on Hulu. At the time it was difficult to stay up to date with their projects. It is far easier today, than ever beforehand, to be connected to Full Moon Features and to watch the wide assortment of movies that they have made both in the past and all the way through the most recent films that they have made. In a lot of ways, I’m playing catch up on some of their films that have been specifically within the last decade or so. This month long tribute I’m doing in honor of Full Moon Features has given me an excellent reason to try out some of their newer flicks. It’s Friday the 13th, and a full moon, which means I had to go for something a bit spooky fun scare-tastic flick, so I chose the 2012 movie: The Dead Want Women. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this was almost certainly something much different than I imagined it would be.
What is The Dead Want Women: The Dead Want Women is a movie about a home that belonged to a prominent silent film era actress in 1927, Rose Pettigrew. She was a major star at the time and liked to throw glamorous parties to celebrate the opening of each of her movies. Rose was also had an entourage of 3 Hollywood actors, and with her they would lure women to a hidden room for a bit of carnal debauchery. On their very last party together, Rose is given the news that “Talkies” were the only kind of films that Hollywood was going to make going forward, and because her voice was so terrible that she would never work again. Rose performs a small ritual (of sorts) and then murders the women, her manager, the entourage, and finally herself vowing that she would return and be with them forever. Flash forward to present day, as 2 female realtors are on the cusp of selling Rose’s palatial estate to a wealthy millionaire, they are on a mission to clean out the mansion before the buyer comes in to finalize the deal. Little did the realtors know that they had been lured there, because the Dead Want Women (apparently). Created and directed by Charles Band (creator of Full Moon Features), with a script by Kent Roudebush (Ooga Booga, Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong), The Dead Want Women stars Jessica Morris (Role Models, In Search Of America), Ariana Madix (Killer Eye, Dirty Dealing), Eric Roberts (Best of the Best, DOA Dead or Alive), Jean Louise O’Sullivan (Alpha House, Puppet Master X Axis Rising), Nihilist Gelo (13/13/13, Dragonquest), Robert Zachar (Star Trek First Contact, Point Blank), Circus-Szalewski (The Gunfighter, Hacker’s Game), and Jeanie Marie Sullivan (apparently a bunch of XXX stuff).
Usually, I do a What I Liked/What I Didn’t Like section, but for The Dead Want Women, I think I’d rather just have a general conversation about it. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this film was something else entirely. I think I was expecting a zombie movie of sorts, but that’s not what this is. It’s more of a curse that brings everyone back as un-dead representations of themselves, but they aren’t zombies. The un-dead act as they did back in the 1920s, and can talk, joke, run, and essentially do anything a regular person could, including having sex. Hey, even the un-dead have needs (apparently).
What is odd and fascinating about this movie is that it is filled with all sorts of interesting ideas and concepts, but it doesn’t flesh very many of them out. Rose and her entourage appear as ghastly decomposed versions of themselves, but one of the women that was murdered in the 1920s is still normal looking. She (porn actress Jeanie Marie Sullivan) walks around naked and is very gorgeous (which is likely why she was not given the decomposed look), but I think it would have been more oddly erotic and striking for her to have been some level of decomposed while still trying to remain sexy.
The same happens with a painting that is found up in Rose’s bedroom: does it have magical properties? Can it compel you to do things you wouldn’t normally do? We just don’t know. A lot of attention is put on this painting that features a nude figure, a skeleton reaper and some baby satyr looking character. From what I could deduce from watching the film, the painting had some mystical properties, I think. I’m just not sure. Maybe it had nothing to do with the painting and was something that the un-dead characters did. At one point it is shown that Rose has some mystical like powers. A lot is left to the imagination in this film, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a fine line that can be ridden in motion pictures and my gut tells me that The Dead Want Women was riding a little too far into the “figure it out on your own” side of the equation. A certain amount of focus on the facts is missing here, and it would have benefited this film greatly.
It feels like this movie had a sound foundation with the cursed actors returning to restart the party in hopes of completing the ritual and thus break the curse, but that either didn’t fully translate into the script or somehow it got lost in editing. Just a handful of establishing dialogue, exposition, or something that gave an indication of how the rules of the curse work and what the power set of the un-dead actually is. More than anything, it seems like what isn’t said is what could have tipped the scales in favor of this being a really good movie. As it currently is, it is moderately entertaining, but not anything that would ever achieve cult classic status.
It should be noted that Eric Roberts does his best to chew the hell out of the scenery whenever he is on camera. Roberts is usually a lot of fun to watch, regardless of the movie, and this film is no exception. He portrays a silent era movie cowboy, replete with the southern drawl and the John Wayne-like mannerisms. He’s goofy and kind of unnerving, especially when he appears in his un-dead form. This is another spot of genius casting on the part of Full Moon Features, as Eric Roberts is a delight to watch.I also want to give a special mention to Jessica Morris and Ariana Madix who play the 2 realtors who go through a tortuous night of hell. They had very little to work with, yet pulled off there roles with great style. Kudos ladies!
On a final note of praise, the film comes to a weird and absolutely dark conclusion which leaves the door open for a potential sequel, should they choose to go that route. If you are looking for a feel good movie where everyone lives and it’s happily ever after, this is not the droids that you are looking for. I, for one, find it refreshing to see a film where the usual last minute save kills all the monsters and the pretty young people go back to their regular lives. The end to The Dead Want Women is far more twisted and exceptionally open. Much like how the finer details of the curse are not explained, neither is the ending nor it’s ramifications. It’s up the viewer to decide, and in this instance, I am A-OK with the decision to end the film the way they did.
Bottom Line: The Dead Want Women will not be for everyone. It has gaps in the story, a lot of unexplained scenarios, and by the time it takes off in the third act you are kind of wondering how things escalated so quickly. It has a lot of b-movie staples, naked women, monsters, supernatural events, pretty faces, and a minor star to help anchor the movie too. It is an average b-movie, but it is held back from being a movie that could have one day achieved cult classic status by it’s lack of lore and world building. It could have been so much more. The Dead Want Women is available on DVD and through Full Moon’s Streaming service.
Check out the trailer for The Dead Want Women and see if you want to be involved in this weird ritual or not: