Upon entering Scott Sholder’s 6th birthday party, I encountered Marty, his handsome, shirtless father. The flushed tingles that radiated throughout my body indicated that my life would never be the same. Similarly, Lindsey in the very fun Killer Piñata discovers her existence forever, and bloodily, altered after her younger brother’s natal day celebration. One of the left over piñatas is soon wrecking giggling, skittering carnage upon her and her friends and, to no seasoned viewer’s surprise, the survivors are few in number!
Besides the gloriously ridiculous premise, what is most impressive about this independent terror treat is the strong females at its core. Lindsey (a quietly intense Eliza Morris) is just beginning to deal with her sexual identity issues and her struggles to come to grips with her lesbianism are echoed in her resolve and determination to fight for her life. This is a nice contrast to other Sapphic terror teens – i.e. supermodels that are often hired to lip locks in order to aggravate male pulses – in similar products. Even Rosetta (an exuberant Lindsey Ashcroft), the stereotypical flirty best friend, is presented as a determined sexual adventurer who turns the tables on the aggressive yet charming Chad (a smoothly egocentric Nate Bryan). There is even a surprising twist involving Lindsey’s take charge mother (the point blank Sheila Edmiston). Perhaps even more significantly, the Dr. Loomis quotient is filled by Joette Waters’ strong and determined The Shopkeeper, who relates the piñata’s anguished back story with spitfire and subtle comic zeal.
Of course, director Stephen Tramontana, who co-wrote the script with Megan Macmanus, delivers on the piece’s expected ludicrousness. The effects are often simple, but Lindsay’s ever devoted ex-boyfriend Scott (the appropriately confused Billy Chengary) is the focus of one of the film’s most ambitious and re-DICK-u-lous set pieces. This moment, alone, is sure to have audiences laughing and squirming at the same time.
Filmed in 8 days, in and out of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, Killer Piñata is, ultimately, a truly professional looking product and evidence of what can be done with a small budget and limited resources when passion and skill are involved. It is obvious that everyone, from the cast members to the crew, was taken in by this project’s quirky charms. Granted, the pacing flags a bit in some of the dialogue heavy sections and one or two of the gag bits don’t connect. But, overall, this is an incredibly impressive venture and one looks forward to future cinematic concoctions, in particular those focusing on strong female action types, from Angry Mule Productions.
Killer Piñata is available for purchase on Amazon – tinyurl.com/zl83j8m.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!