Saturday, February 25, 2023

#2,898. Rabid Grannies (1988) - Troma Triple Feature


With a title like Rabid Grannies, it has to be Troma!

Elizabeth Remington (Dany Daven) and her sister Victoria (Anne-Marie Fox), two sweet – and very wealthy – elderly ladies, are celebrating their birthday. Hoping to one day get their hands on the sisters’ fortune, a collection of greedy nieces and nephews descends upon the old girls’ estate for the birthday “celebration”, including Fred (Guy Van Riet), a factory owner who recently married a stripper (Francoise Lamoureux) half his age; wild playboy Roger (Michel Lombet); Catholic priest Father Percivel (Robert Du Bois); niece Helen (Catherine Aymerie) and her husband (Elie Lison) and two children (Caroline Braeckman and Richard Cotica); Harvey (Jacques Mayar), who works as an arms dealer; lonely spinster Bertha (Florine Elslande); and lesbian magazine editor Erika (Bobette Jouret), who brings along her newest “friend” Rachel (Francoise Moens).

As the party progresses, the cousins try to one-up each other, in the hopes of being mentioned in the sisters’ will. But a gift sent by Christopher, the black sheep of the family and a man who dabbles in Satanic rituals, will unleash an evil that, before the evening is out, will have most of the family running for their lives.

In his DVD introduction for Rabid Grannies, Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman tells of how, in the late ‘80s, he and Michael Herz were contacted by Emmanuel Kervyn, writer / director of Rabid Grannies, who grew up a fan of Troma and wanted very much to make a Troma-like movie in his native Belgium. Impressed with Kervyn’s two-page treatment, Kaufman and Herz agreed to distribute the film. Without a doubt, there are moments in Rabid Grannies that are very “Troma-Like”, with blood and gore aplenty, yet the opening scenes also feature an air of sophistication. The beginning credits play out over classical music, while the setting (the movie was shot primarily at Ingelmunster Castle in West Flanders) and introduction of the main characters could have been lifted straight out of Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. Kervyn does a fine job setting the stage in these initial sequences, and we find ourselves pitying the poor elderly aunts, whose relatives see them as nothing more than a potential payday.

Then, all at once, things get… crazy! Not to mention bloody. It’s at this point Rabid Grannies crosses into full-blown horror, with plenty of blood, gore, and even some well-crafted tension (like the relatives, we never know where the evil is lurking, or when it will strike).

Some of the effects are admittedly weak (though, for a low budget film, they really aren’t terrible), but in the end, Rabid Grannies proved the perfect blend of European refinement and Troma insanity, and I had a great time watching it!
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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