Review: “Chastity Bites” (2013)

NOW HEEEEEERE’S SOMETHIN’ SPECIAL…

Let me just open and pour this bottle of lesbian teacher-student flirtation all over the table.

So, this is Chastity Bites, which we can affectionately call Titty Bites. It’s a new indie horror-comedy from husband-wife team John & Lotti Pharriss Knowles (Beyonce’s parents; not really) with some highly spunky lady actors and a titillating mythological twist. Elizabeth Bathory, The Blood Countess, comes to a modern day American High to teach abstinence. So she can ensure many of the female students retain their virginity. So she can slaughter them and – as you well know – bathe in their blood and live forever and rub their gore on her GIANT SUPPLE HEAVING EUROPEAN BREASTS.

Fun! Very fun. And here’s why:

The movie, in all its hyperactive dialogue and feminist author name-dropping pandemonium, is a straightforward slasher that’s delightfully traditional – with hidden tricks up its very dykey blazer sleeves. It reels us in with a by-the-numbers approach and manages to pull the rug out, twisting the normal fuck-and-die formula into a sex-positive, anti-conservative horror romp: the way to stay alive in Chastity Bites is to break the hymen. As one can imagine, there’s a hell of a lot of fun to be had in wrapping a beefy 90-minute feature around that concept:

Ms. Liz arrives in town and cheekbones her way into the aforementioned Abstinence Head position. Our hero womyn Leah, ha-cha-cha school journalist and general town pariah, sniffs around Ms. Liz and …using a series of Willow Rosenberg School Of E-Hacking talents… uncovers the very bloody history behind the town’s most beloved newcomer and subtle sexual predator. Leah takes on final girl duties and races to defeat the pro-virginity evil in a red dress.

Before we continue, words about these two special, special women. Leah’s played by Alison Scagliotti, truly the snarkiest little deer this side of Ellen Page‘s small butt. She winks and smirks and snaps and bumps her hipster self into our hearts. She’s not walking around Photoshopped, nor is she at all melodramatic. The character’s mannerisms are quietly revolutionary for a lead role, and Scagliotti nails what’s on the page. If I were a closeted teenage girl today not really sure why I signed up for lacrosse, I’d kidnap her. Happily.

But more importantly for gay viewers, there is an actress, who must be bionic, by the name of Louise Griffiths. A little Willow Rosenberg hacking OF MY OWN reveals that she hasn’t yet really broken out – but she can and will. This fucking Amazon… this insane British camp-per-second hellish supermodel… steals the fucking show. Her Bathory enters the movie with a Queen of the Damned-type operatic slo-mo rock song soundtrack orgasm, REALLY something for you to anticipate, and the actress reveals herself in all its porcelain glory. She is an “Are You Afraid of the Dark” ultimate female villain: beautiful and vain and eats girls. Without spoiling any more, she’s hotter than a case of summer’s eve swamp-ass.

Let’s continue. Leah’s gal-pal is the dowdy, hopeful Katharine (Francia Raisa), who tangles the drama by falling totally in lust for Liz. Katharine is …wait for it… an explicitly gay young woman! Or at least openly and joyously bi. Imagine that! The search for CENTURIES for an honest-to-god non-porny gay female character in horror is seemingly over. Even better, she engages in a subtle but wonderful series of scissor-laden dialogues in hallways and town cars with Ms. Liz / the artist formerly known as Louise Griffiths, her teacher figure. Sometimes, the lesbian schoolgirl taboo pops up in the unlikeliest of places.

Chastity‘s womyn-power extends generously beyond the trio of Leah, Liz, and Katharine:

  • a quartet of Mean Girls who each have matching minority boyfriends (stand-out sluts are Amy Okuda and Chloe Crampton, who, should I have my energy, are worthy of being on the receiving end of my astute Twitter stalking in years to come)…
  • the girls’ mothers, a trio of wax statues who fell out of Death Becomes Her‘s gothic ass and fulfill the movie’s quota of comical Republican asshole / vampire crones…

  • two misbehaving maid characters, neither American but both deranged…
  • and Eve Gordon, of the truly notorious straight-to-video Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, who plays a spinster school principal who delightfully dies while moaning sexually among her cats (named Mrs. Danvers and Mrs. De Winter!). AKA me.

All male characters in Chastity are either toss-aways, the director of Dolls, or sex objects swooning over hero womyn Leah. They’re pawns in a plot that beautifully chooses to entirely revolve around females, folk lore, final climatic catfight with swords and velvet curtains, AND females. Have fun with it.

PICK UP A COPY OF CHASTITY BITES TODAY – IT’LL MAKE YOU FEEL YOUNGER AND MORE ALIVE THAN BATHING IN BLUD. Available on iTunes, Amazon, many cable providers (see ChastityBites.com), and on still-running old clam Showtime!

RATING (OUT OF 5):

Chastity Bites is Not Rated for pervasive violence and its plot device of The Second Sex.


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About Ross

Ross studied film at Emerson while working for indie producers, and he critiques shit from a queer POV here and @GingerBredhaus. He also produced 2015 gay horror slasher comedy YOU'RE KILLING ME and creates immersive theater in NYC.