Delta Delta Die! Devin Hamilton 2003

Clash of the Tit__S
I have been seriously burned by B-movies, ladies and gentlemen. As a kid in the midwest I would save up my lawn-boy money (I later moved on to "accouning office shredder", "donut shop counter boy" and "food court pretzel stand twister"), hop on my bike or my moped, and head on over to the video store to try and find me some good horror film with gratuitous nudity. I watched everything, from "Bloody Birthday" to "I Spit on Your Grave" to
"The Microwave Massacre" -- particularly if it was released by Prism Pictures. To my friends and I, Prism was the mark of guaranteed excellence in B moviemaking -- from "Blood Rage" to "Horror Hotel" to "Frightmare" to "Shock Waves", they kept us in a state of stoned bliss. Was I old enough to rent these films? Hell, no -- I was about 12. Back when the video stores were new and before Blockbuster came along and ruined it all -- when the stores had Hollywood Walk of Fame stars on the wall and gave you popcorn for browsing. Unbeknownst to my parents, I filled my head with the most abhorrable junk you could imagine. And did I kill anyone? Not yet. But that's not the point.

What I'm trying to get to is the fact that I watched any piece of B horror I could find, and for the most part, it was awesome. At that point (mid-eighties), there was still a great glut of "Friday the 13th" knockoffs filling the shelves, and slasher mania was still in swing. But after a few years, the tide turned, Blockbuster was belched out upon the earth, the concept of "direct-to-video" emerged, and things all went terribly, terribly wrong.

Sounds like "Boogie Nights". And it is. The quality went south, the recognizeable faces no longer belonged to actual talents but to crappy Z-grade porno rejects, and nightmare production companies like Full Moon were born, churning out crap films with crap scripts and crap performers. It was a sad, sad time - and still is, to an extent. Rather than the Roger Corman camp factory, we have the David DeCoteau poop factory. The shelves of my local video store are filled with direct-to-video shit that mocks the great tradition of B horror that we have in this country and makes garbage like "Cabin Fever" actually look good to people by comparison. Has everyone really forgotten what a good horror movie is?! It's not "Freddy vs. Jason"! It's not "House of 1000 Corpses"! Sure, those may be easier to sit through than "Scarecrow" and "The Dead Hate the Living", but please, people -- please -- let's not let our standards slide.

So IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I grudgingly trekked to Blockbuster (the first I've entered in 4 years) to pick up a little item called "Delta Delta Die". Oddly, although the movie is filled with blood and copious nudity, I could only find it at notoriously ultraconservative Blockbuster. I also learned on my little mission that Blockbuster no longer carries any of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films. If there is any greater cause for burning down the entire franchise, I can't honestly think of it.

So I go home with "Delta Delta Die", which is just waiting to suck in its little blue-and-yellow case. For I have seen these kinds of films before, dear reader. Low-rent, plotless pieces of shit stuffed with walking blow-up dolls and an over-the-hill "scream queen" here or there to add a little gravitas to the proceedings. They uniformly suck and disappoint on every level and they usually have the foul name DeCoteau attached to them.

But as the predictable, well-worn plot of "Delta" starts to unfold, I realize with shock that I am actually enjoying it. It's very entertaining. Now, let me be clear -- it's not a horror movie. Although there's lots of blood and some icky cannibalism stuff thrown around, it is a straight-up comedy with gratuitous male and female nudity and lots of over-the-top acting. And while I generally frown upon comedies masquerading as horror films, this one is so tied into the trashy B tradition (as opposed to just being a half-assed, middle-of-the-road "horror" movie that's watered down for the WB audience) that I have no qualms recommending it.

Julie Strain is, in a word, insane. Anyone who bares her breasts as much as she does in this film (and how old must she be now?! Like, 40?) must either have some skin condition that makes her breasts sensitive to clothing or an endorsement deal with her plastic surgeon. Her portrayal of a house mother in a cannibalistic SoCal sorority is the best of its kind. The girls themselves (including half-sister Lizzie Strain and d-t-v staple Tiffany Shepis -- also seen in the club kid opus "Shampoo Horns" as the girl who takes too much ecstasy and wanders into traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge) are adequate, but Strain and Brinke Stevens really steal the show here. In one scene Brinke actually tosses her hair over her right shoulder before explaining how she and her friend fell into cannibalism as a necessity back in the 80's.

There are far too many dull dialogue scenes involving Dean Wilkins and/or his pussyboy assistant Tobias. And why is the Dean's office painted pink? But scenes involving white trash barflies Tootie and Trixie are as good as they come (yes, there is a requisite hair-pulling chickfight) and banished-to-the-basement Hannah Bull (Karen Smith, kind of a blonde Miss Depesto) adds some nice comic touches.

So I enjoyed it. And ultimately I find myself recommending it. Have I overcome years of poor treatment from the direct-to-video horror machine? Can I finally look past seeing Brinke Stevens and Julie Strain's names on the cover and actually look forward to what might be a decent film? Has writer/director Devin Hamilton reenvigorated the B movie, or have I finally just given up like the rest of the horrorgoing public and would rather watch garbage than wear my copy of "Tenebre" into dust from overviewing?

Rating (out of 5):