Lloyd Kaufman, the Troma legend behind some of the biggest B-Movie successes in modern cinema history presents this new anarchic punk rock queer musical which was first set into production back in 2013. The shoot was put on hold for four years due to all their equipment being stolen but now is hitting screens on Troma’s streaming service and is having a Blu-ray release very soon. Written and Directed by Salem Kapsaski, Spidarlings is an exploitation musical that tells the story of lesbian lovers Eden (Sophia Disgrace) and Matilda (Rahel Kapsaski), two casualties of ‘Broken Britain, struggling to make ends meet. Matilda moonlights at the local night club, ‘Juicy Girls’ by night and spends her days along with Eden trying to avoid their oppressive landlord to whom they owe two years of rent until Eden decides to buy a pet spider which sets in motion a bizarre series of events.
The songs written by Jeff Kristain pay homage to such a variety of genres from 80s punk rock to old MGM and all have a naffness that is both fun and charismatic, but for a ‘punk-rock musical’, despite for Lee Mark Jones’ song I badly wanted the energy of a live band rather than synthesised backing tracks, something more akin to the ‘seventeen’ sequence in B-Movie horror master, Darren Lynn Bousman’s Repo: The Genetic Opera.
It is impossible not to think of early John Waters with its make-shift style and grimy world its characters inhabit. Divine would not be out of place is ‘Juicy Girls’ and the eating of dog excrement would not feel totally out of place and this is part of its appeal. You can even forgive the dodgy ADR work and badly dubbed musical numbers because the ‘rough around the edges’ only adds to the imperfect world these girls live in.
However, the highlight of the movie is Kapsaki’s clever use of animated sequences to portray, perhaps, the more adventurous and therefore expensive story points. These scenes feel like they owe a debt to Terry Gilliam’s work for Monty Python and the style adopted by Tenacious D in their music videos and if anything, the film could have done with more use of animation.
Spidarlings is not for everyone. But if B-Movie madness is your thing then this encompasses everything you love about the genre.
© Dan Phillips 2018
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