I need to clean out my basement. It’s become a dumping ground for stuff that I don’t use, but has enough sentimental value that I won’t ditch any of it. While digging through my old VHS collection last weekend, I came across “Rabid Grannies”. I completely forgot I had this! I’ve been a fan of Troma movies since I saw The Toxic Avenger years ago. So, I popped this into the VCR to see if it was as fun as I remember. First, I had to set up my VCR. It was sitting in a pile of obsolete electronics in a corner of my basement. Just for fun, I hooked up the VCR to a CRT TV just to complete the throwback system.
First, I would like to state that this isn’t a true Troma film, they just bought the movie, dubbed and distributed it. It was originally a 1988 Belgian movie directed by Emmanuel Kervyn. The version I have was released in 1997 and straddled the cross-over video rental market from VHS to DVD. This is clearly apparent as one of the title cards reads, “Visit Tromaville at our world wide website on the internet http://www.troma.com/home.“. Wow. Early days, huh?
The movie revolved around, naturally, two old wealthy grannies. The opening scene shows them being driven around in a chauffeured Rolls Royce; a clear symbol of aristocracy. We drive back to their massive estate which is apparently located in its own postal code. Victoria and Elizabeth (a painfully obvious naming strategy) are hosting a joint birthday party for their family at their mansion. We get snippets of information from family members on their drive to the grannies’ house. It is quite clear that this is a chore for everyone and the end-game for everyone is to get a piece of the inheritance. Despicable gold diggers. Hopefully something bad happens to them, right?
An estranged devil worshipping nephew, Christopher, sends on a package. Victoria and Elizabeth open the package to release some mist or fog that turns them into slimy demon like creatures with super awesome strength.
The first forty minutes seem to drag a little as we’re introduced to the characters. What doesn’t help is that although it seems to be in English, it sounds like it’s been dubbed in English. The synch appears off somehow. Also, the actors have a really “dead” delivery and sounds like they’re just delivering their lines from memory. There’s no real emotion or feeling.
Before I get too ahead of myself, I need to remember that this has the Troma stamp on it, so I shouldn’t be looking for Oscar performances. Indeed, after the grannies turn into slimy ghouls, the fun really starts. One by one, they pick off the undeserving, unlikeable characters in delightfully gruesome fashion. However, I understand that the DVD release had quite a bit of gore cut out of it. I suspect my VHS copy has suffered the same fate. The violence and gore is great, but I feel that there should be more. If you compare it to Toxic Avenger, you’ll know what I mean.
It’s not the best Troma movie, but it’s watchable and fun. It does have some of the hallmarks of a good Troma film – black humour, uber-violence and lots of cheese.