Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Murder World (2009)

AKA Pearblossom
Directed by Ron Carlson
Starring Sophie Monk, Anya Lahiri, Charles Napier

"You rotten bitch. You killed my little friend!"

First off, I think our Bad Actress of the Year Award has to go to Sophie Monk. She's incredibly awful. If she was walking around in some other, less blinding sack of skin, she would have been laughed out of the audition. But she is blessed/cursed with a million-dollar-pout, long legs, and a top-shelf rack, so until her beauty starts to fade, every man that stumbles into her vortex - including, clearly, director Ron Carlson - will continue to tell her she's wonderful, even though she's pretty much the exact opposite of wonderful. I suppose in one way it's fitting that she got this role - that is her character, after all - but seriously, she's on the Ed Wood acting troupe level. Her line reading is so wooden I'm still plucking the splinters out of my eyeballs.

But hey, one bad actress can't derail a whole movie, can she? Let us find out. Murder World begins, as many groovy scenes do, in 1968, at a swinging house party held by one Warren James (Justin Shilton). Apparently James is some sort of movie star. He's also a cad and a creep, as evidenced by the scene in which he coaxes naïve Southern belle/would-be actress Carrie-Lain (Scout Taylor Compton, Rob Zombie's Halloween) into his bedroom to "Run some lines", and once he gets her in there, threatens to beat her face in with a bar of soap in an old gym sock. She is saved from this ugly fate by Brooke (Sophie Monk), a statuesque blonde runway model/frenemy of Warren's. Outraged at his behavior, she stabs him in the neck, leaving him to choke to death on his own blood. And then she gets the fuck out of there.

And so, into the night zooms Brooke and her lesbian lover Rhea (British/Finnish/Indian model-cum-actress Anya Lahiri), in a break-neck run to escape Brooke's star-killer fate. From the get-go, Rhea is too twitchy and over-dramatic to handle a situation of this gravity, so she's already nearing a full-blown panic. Then she finds some kind of flower stuck under their windshield wiper (a Pearblossom? Who knows), which really freaks her out, for some reason. Then they run over a possum, which puts her right over the edge. She demands they pull over, so that she can catch her breath and sputter incoherent, pseudo-Christian jibber-jabber.

"Rhea, you are overreacting," barks the agitated Brooke. And indeed she is, blubbering about signs and portents. But just then a gust of wind shows up and starts throwing blondie around. She actually tries to fight the wind with a stick, but it knocks her out. And then she dies. And then God shows up in the guise of a hot lesbian vampire, and gives Rhea a smooch. Then she turns her into an angel, and at Rhea's whiny behest, brings her gal-pal back as a monster. Or something. And then there's more making out.

Flash-forward to New Years Eve, 2008. The girls - in muddy lingerie - are "Reborn" via garbage bags buried under the sand at the beach. First order of business? Make out, naturally

Cut to the sheriff of Pearblossom - for that is where they are -wiling away the night at the precinct, watching a TV show where chicks in bikinis chase chickens around. Said sheriff is essayed by none other than legendary character actor Charles Napier, in full asshole mode.
His deputy is a little person, Felix Shoe (Danny Woodburn, AKA Mickey from Seinfeld) which you don't see everyday. Clearly, given an 80 year old Sheriff and a four-foot tall deputy, this is not a town that sees much action.

Cut to: Rhea and Brooke, figuring out what happened. Turns out they're immortal now, and they've been sleeping for 40 years. Brooke figures out pretty quick that she's some kind of vampire/cannibal, so she eats a fat, high-voiced Bob Ross lookalike who was on his way to a bowling tournament. Then she eats a honcho mustache dude who was hanging around, for good measure. Brooke realizes that she derives both pleasure and power from eating people. So that pretty much dictates her behavior. Lesbo-Jesus warned Rhea that this would probably happen, and that it's her job to not only keep Brooke from eating innocent bystanders, but from destroying evil creatures like her whenever she finds them. Given Rhea's hysterical reactions to everything around her, she doesn't particularly seem up to the job.

It's almost dawn when Brook is through eating people, so the girls hole up at a gas station run by young Dan (Patrick Renna, AKA the fat kid from The Sandlot) At first our man Dan is alarmed, assuming they are there to rob him, but then he goes with it when he thinks he might get laid.

Meanwhile, Deputy Half-pint finds the girls' leftovers strewn all over the road, and calls it on to the boss.

Rhea begins to feel weak. She realizes that she needs to feed off of Brooke. Who knows why. So, she bites her neck and sucks out some life-juice. Later on, they watch a true crime show on the "F" channel. The episode happens to be about the Warren James murder. Turns out that Brooke wasn't saving the other chick at all, she was just into killing the dude. We find this out via an interview with the now 60 year old Scout Taylor Compton, in hilariously shoddy old-age make-up. Brooke shrugs it off and tries to eat Dan, but Rhea stops her, and so, they have a lesbian wrestling match. Brooke appears to strangle Rhea to death, and then she chases poor Dan around the store. A loudmouth Persian guy (Marshall Manesh) shows up and foils Brooke's plans. Dan nearly manages to escape, but she bites his leg as he bails. And then Brooke's face gets half-melted by the sun. And then she kills the Iranian dude, and eats his wife.

Dan runs into Felix on the road and explains what's up. Vampires, lesbians, the whole bit.
Felix assumes Dan's gone bananas, but he checks it out anyway. The gas station, by the way, is called Murder World. That's an odd name for a gas station. Anyway, clearly, things aren't going to work out for the pint-sized policeman. It's up to asshole sheriff to save the day...or the night. Whatever.

But that doesn't work out either. Brooke kills everybody and takes off in an SUV.

But guess what? Rhea's not dead. Or maybe she was, but God-disguised-as-a-hot-lesbian shows back up (in a see-through top!) and kisses her back to life. So she hops into the cop car and takes off after Brooke. She catches up with her, and they make up. And then make out. Or do they?

Much like the equally frustrating Lesbian Vampire Killers, with which this film obviously shares some similarities, Murder World suffers from an inability to realize how absurd it is. There was all the potential in the world for a campy, gory, and most importantly funny movie somewhere in the mess, but it's lost in a tedious, talky script and hobbled by Monk's non-acting. It never really delivers on its lesbian premise, either: the girls peck each other, sure, but there's no full-on girl-on-girl action, and God is the only one who shows her boobs - and even then, they're under a layer of gauze and smoke and bullshit.

While the film is otherwise competently produced - the high-end digital video picture is crisp, and the supporting cast members are all fine in their roles - Murder World stubbornly refuses to deliver the goods. I'm not sure how he did it, but Ron Carlson actually made an unwatchable lesbian vampire movie. Congratulations, Mr. Carlson. You've achieved the impossible. I can't wait to see what sub-genre he fucks up next.

PS: Just so you know, if I ever meet Sophie Monk in person, I'm going to tell her I was just goofing, and that she's actually a very talented actress. I won't want to, but I know I will.

- Ken McIntyre


  1. This is clearly a movie that could not come up with a working title. Murder World is better than Pearlblossom, but as you said -- the only connection to the movie is that it's the completely implausible name chosen for the gas station. If it was a haunted house, or an amusement park? Maybe. But the Murder World gas station? Seems contrived.

    Do you think the movie be watchable if it starred a better actress than Sophie Monk? (Seems doubtful, right?) --Roel

  2. Oh, for sure. Lots of actresses could've saved this one. Megan Fox, even.


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