Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Santiago Segura, Mariangela Giordano, Aldo Sambrell, Charlie S. Chaplin, Silvia Superstar
Director: Jesus Franco
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Horror, Music Video & Concerts, Anime & Manga, Animation
The Killer Barbys are a touring rock band with a problem. They're stranded in the middle of nowhere and they need to find someone willing to put them up for the night. They end up at the mansion of the countess Von Flederm... more »
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Barbara F. (dragontoes) from HUACHUCA CITY, AZ
Reviewed on 7/1/2010...
OMG this was so bad. Stupid people doing stupid things and getting killed over it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Another Franco folly
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 09/24/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The mere mention of the name Jesus "Jess" Franco in the presence of movie fans will elicit several reactions. Some filmgoers will shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Who's he?" These people likely spend a lot of time watching big budget, multiplex friendly cinema. Other folks will smile. These film fans recognize this director's name in the context of "Vampyros Lesbos" and "The Marquis De Sade's Justine," two Franco movies that actually contain a hint of style. Then there are the poor wretches who'll hear his name and visibly pale, groan as though they've eaten food that's given them salmonella poisoning, and slink quietly away into a corner for a few hours of serious sulking. I fall somewhere in between the last two categories. I liked "Vampyros Lesbos" and "Justine," but I've also seen enough Franco films to understand the utter banality of a large segment of his filmography. Falling with a resounding clunk in the "so bad its pretty bad" category is the 1996 effort "Killer Barbys." Franco proves once again that he's lost none of the traits that make up a bad filmmaker. Actually, a couple of things in the film work, but most of what we see here is strictly groan inducing.
The movie begins by showing us some poor chap dying at the hands of goofball simpleton Baltasar (Santiago Segura) and two dwarfs. Yep, this is a Jess Franco film. Then the movie shifts focus to the Spanish rock/punk band The Killer Barbies performing at some small venue. Why is there a spelling change in the title of the film? Perhaps Ken and Barbie threatened to sue. Anyway, as the group bangs out one of its Ramones-esque tunes on stage one fact becomes glaringly obvious. The lead singer of the group, a young lady known here as Flavia but whose real world name is Silvia Superstar, is blazingly hot. The music isn't too bad, either. Then disaster sets in as the band finishes performing, loads up the requisite van, and heads off into the night destined for their next gig. Banal small talk follows for several minutes, obviously in an attempt to provide the necessary "character" development so we will feel something other than pure joy when the sauce starts to flow later on. With teeth grinding predictability, the van breaks down out in the middle of nowhere. Boy, what an original way to set up a scary movie! Never saw that coming, Jess!
The band members dither around trying to fix the tire when the sudden appearance of an elderly gent named Arkan (Aldo Sambrell) startles them. This friendly man invites them up to a creepy looking castle, promising to call for a tow truck. But wouldn't you know it? Assistance won't arrive until morning, so the kids will just have to spend the night in a castle so gloomy it makes Count Dracula's digs look like a Howard Johnson's hotel in Barbados. What the band doesn't know, but will soon find out, is that the owner of the castle, the Countess (Mariangela Giordano), is an Elizabeth Bathory type kook currently lounging in her bed planning another comeback. She needs the blood of the band to accomplish this feat, however, and that's where Arkan comes in. He needs to keep Flavia and her posse around long enough for the Countess to woo one of the males back to her bedroom. Of course the band soon discovers what is going on, too late to save one of their friends, and "Killer Barbys" becomes a race to defeat the forces of evil in order to live long enough to make it to their next performance on time. Expect to see a lot of nonsense in the meantime, including a death by steamroller, crazed dwarfs, and some genuine blood bathing.
Sigh. Aside from the ample talents of Silvia Superstar and an amazingly svelte and alluring Mariangela Giordano, "Killer Barbys" made we want to take a header off my barcalounger. The elderly Franco shoots firmly from the hip replacement in what must surely rank as one of the most banal zero budget bombs in Euroflick history. The movie attempts to achieve an artful blend of horror, comedy, and musical but fails on more than a few levels. Sure, it's occasionally gory. Sure, it occasionally builds an iota of atmosphere. But the attempt to garner laughs fails miserably. I never cracked a single smile during the entire film, unless a grimace counts as a grin. In fact, you'll likely find more laughs in your second cousin's four and a half hour home movie of his trip to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota than you will with Franco's "Killer Barbys." Grandpa Jess should have dropped the "comedy" angle in favor of what he does best, namely reveling in lots of bloodshed and birthday suited babes. What keeps me up at nights is the knowledge that Franco shot a sequel a few years later entitled, horribly enough, "Killer Barbys vs. Dracula." I'm removing your name from my Christmas card list, Jess.
At least the extras on the disc aren't bad. We get a couple of interviews with the luscious Silvia Superstar and a fellow band member, cast and crew biographies, a lobby card gallery, a "Scream" Access menu, and a couple of decent music videos of the band performing a song named "Mars" and a version of Petula Clark's "Downtown." Text information on the band and trailers for "Eaten Alive," "Burial Ground," "Jungle Holocaust," and "Beyond the Darkness" round out the disc. "Killer Barbys" is definitely a film only Jess Franco completists will want to add to their collection. For newcomers to the man with the lead covered camera lens, I recommend starting with "Vampyros Lesbos" and "Faceless."
Derek Ho | 04/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Killer Barbies (the name of the film was changed for obvious reasons) are a rock band traveling to their next gig when their van breaks down. They are offered shelter for the night at the castle of Countess Fledermaus. Soon the band is being killed one by one for their blood. Mr. Arkan is restoring the rotting Countess to youth with blood. The remaining two members of the band kill Arkan and the Countess and flee to safety. This movie gave a shot in the arm to Jess Franco's career, which was lagging in the early nineties. He turns out a professional looking film that is a horror/comedy/rock movie for a new generation of fans. The film pokes fun at itself and the whole gore genre. The horror-comedy is a hard style to [fufill], but Franco pulls it off with genuinely funny dialogue and some ridiculous situations. There are some obvious continuity errors: the countess' death being one and the end titles state that Balthazar continues to roam the woods when we just witnessed his unquestionable death by steamroller! This is one of the more distinctive works in the latter part of Franco's career and his only take on the Elizabeth Bathory legend. This DVD has a lot of extras: an interview with Killer Barbies' Billy King and Sylvia Superstar and some of their music videos (see them do a cover of "Downtown"),and trailers for the film. Language tracks include Spanish w/ optional English subtitles and an English dub track. The transfer looks great too."
Tepid fury without the typical Franco flair! But cool music
Derek Ho | Remsenberg, NY United States | 04/15/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not one of Jess Franco's better films but certainly not one of his worst either. I would have liked to see this film directed by Franco but produced by his American company One Shot Productions. They would have trimmed a lot of the stale time and left us with pure Jess Franco. The story is pretty straightforward, espcially for a Franco film, with a rock band getting lost and winding up at the home a madwoman in search of human blood. Segura and Superstar are definitely the best elements of the film. The Killer Barbies music is especially hot! Kind of like having a female Joey Ramone singing the soundtrack. [Some trivia I learned in an interview: although this is not a One Shot Productions film by Franco, the head of One Shot Productions, Kevin Collins, actually gave the film its name when the actual producers realized that they might get sued if they called it "Killer Barbies"!]"