Thursday, September 17, 2009

Devil Girl (2007)

Directed by Howie Askins
Starring Jessica Graham, Vanessa Kay, Joe Wanjai Ross

"What the fuck are you supposed to be?"

It's a question I've often pondered. Where did all the Juggies go, once that idiotic fuckin' Man Show finally slithered off the air? Well, in the case of one Vanessa Kay, she painted herself red, grew a tail, and became Devil Girl. A living, breathing, shot-on-video manifestation of one of Coop's Supersuckers gig posters, Devil Girl mashes every 90's cool-kid obsession you can think of - greaser-rock, whiskey, Las Vegas, tattoos, burlesque dancers, trailer-parks, muscle cars, backwoods religion, sleazy motels, insane clowns, and naked girls with horns - into one sweltering, kill-for-thrills, desert-bound road flick. It's the fever dream of every booze-soaked trucker-punk band come to cinematic life.

Fay (Jessica Graham) decides to drive her muscle car from one end of Route 66 to the other, stopping occasionally to hustle pool, drag race with the local riff raff, catch a burlesque show, or flashback to simpler times with her dear departed dad.

Meanwhile, somewhere else on that same road, a demented clown (Joe Wanjai Ross) carjacks and robs his way through the desert, stopping occasionally to eat Twinkies, pop pills, snort powders, or kill people.

One day, after running out of gas and wandering down the highway, the clown runs into Devil Girl (Vanessa Kay) - who is red and has horns, and drives a bitchin' car - and she picks him up. They zoom off into the night sky in an explosion of fire.

Then again, maybe it's just the drugs.

The clown nicked Fay's wallet when she wasn't looking, so she ends up at a rundown motel, trying to figure out how to get back on the road. The clown shows up on a bicycle filled with apples, but he splits pretty quickly. Fay heads over to The Burning Bush, the local go-go bar, to try and talk her way into a temporary bartending gig. There are no bartending gigs available. So she dances instead. She's not very good at it, but how good do you need to be, really?

Fay settles in to shanty-town life as she waits for her car to get fixed. The clown, meanwhile, stumbles into the Burning Bush, where he has a difficult time discerning the dancing girls from his various victims. As he chugs free martinis and ogles the local talent, he hallucinates about zombie girls and blood-soaked boobs.

There's an all-girl band blasting away inside the club led by Blare N. Bitch, formerly of Betty Blowtorch, and the scantily-clad young women gyrating suggestively on stage are burlesque performers and porn starlets. So, you know, prepare for old-school hipster overload there.

Also, Devil Girl does a strip tease, as well. Inside the clown's head.

Later on, Fay gets raped by some fucker in an S&M mask. So that was unpleasant. Still, life goes on. Fay adopts an S&M-y stage persona and kicks the clown's face in one night. Just because.

And then Devil Girl meets Fay in the parking lot of the Burning Bush. They lez it up and then take off in D Girl's demon-charger, never to be seen again.

Not really. There's actually atrocity, revenge, a high-speed desert highway chase, and a 70's style downer ending that ties things up much more neatly than you'd expect.

Although it's a bit of a slow burner, Devil Girl eventually ramps itself into a full-boil by the final act and ably delivers on its sex, clowns, and rock n' roll premise. A riot of tattooed hipsters, gleaming muscle cars, industrial cock-rock and alterna-titties, Devil Girl is easily the most original rock n' roll road flick since 1998's Six String Samurai, and should please fans of drive-in trash and twisty, David Lynch-ian weirdfilm alike. The film could have done with more snappy dialogue - Fay has got to be the least-talky protagonist since Ryan O'Neal's The Driver (1978) - but it makes up for the arid exposition with nimble editing and a blasting soundtrack featuring Scum of the Earth, 400 Blows, and other noise-niks.

Jessica Graham and Joe Wanjai Ross are also both terrific in their roles. Ross is so convincing as the maniac clown that it's actually jarring to see him out of the make-up, and Graham is perfect as the half-alive ghost-girl Fay. It's rare to see a character fleshed out as fully as Fay is in a low-budget rock n' roll flick.

Devil Girl does, in fact, have tits and blood. But like all good rock n' roll does, it's also got soul.

Devil Girl's official DVD release date is November 10th, 2009. For more info, or to get a copy, visit the Devil Girl website.

- Ken McIntyre

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