Badass Monster Killer
On the trashy side of Camaroville, there's a mob turf war going down, but the new gang in town ain't content with merely controlling the local dope and sex trade. They are also mixed up with dangerous black magic, intent on resurrecting hideous demon-gods who have waited centuries for the chance to eat all our souls and enslave mankind! These blasphemous bad guys need stopping, and Jimmy Chevelle, agent of The Department of Supernatural Security, is just the cat to do the stopping. He hasn't let the man keep him down, and he's certainly not going to let some sinister shape-shifting suckas destroy the earth, and all of its foxy, foxy chicks, if HE can help it. But can he stop the gangster cult's evil plans in time? Get ready for a freaky, funky thrill ride with demonic pimps, kung fu super foxes and terrible sanity-shattering extraterrestrial horrors from beyond space and time!
Jawara Duncan as Jimmy Chevelle
Amelia Belle as Lola Maldonado
Darin Wood’s Blaxploitation/horror hybrid Badass Monster Killer is going to steal a lot of hearts. It’s going to break a lot as well. These days exploitation isn’t as overt as it once was. Watch a movie like Dolemite and you know everyone on hand is there to have a blast. A very not-overly-serious, good, carefree time. Nowadays we see exploitation and we see pictures like I Spit on Your Grave. They both serve the same purpose: to entertain while cashing in on typically classless trends or topics while venturing far, far over the top. And these productions typically function on a shoestring budget, because no one involved in these productions cares for sublime entertainment, they care about green backs. They care about dead presidents. Not artwork. Cut corners on the budget and you make more money if your product happens to sell well at market value.
Because exploitation is what it is, some love it and some hate it. I’d consider myself a fence rider, often enjoying some of these preposterous films, and often loathing them. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. I didn’t expect Wood’s Badass Monster Killer to work, but it kind of did.
The story, in a small nutshell sees a rugged cop tackle the grimy streets of Camaroville in the hopes of bringing an end to the reign of an evil cult that moonlights as your typical gang assemblage.
Leaves it all wide open, doesn’t it?
Wood runs with the possibilities, bringing some big nods to some wonderfully terrible films of the 70s (I can’t lie, I’m keen on a few vintage exploitation titles, like the aforementioned Dolemite – God bless your soul, Mr. Rudy Ray Moore – among others) and tangling with some Lovecraftian concepts and creatures. It’s all cheap, and it’s all silly, but Wood gets it. He’s having a good time putting together an overachiever of an exploitation flick – in this case a rare entrant in the horror/Blaxploitation sub-genre, which for the record plays host to two other huge personal favorites, Blacula and Scream Blacula Scream. And Badass Monster Killer really fits well with a few other titles out there.
I think you’re going to want to be in a very specific state of mind when you look into the film (don’t watch it if you’re having a crappy day), and I think you’re best suited knowing in advance that it’s not to be taken seriously, and a lot of the insanity is very intentional. But it has a few strengths.
I want to harp on the visuals of the film for a moment, because they’re very, very interesting. There’s a post-production filter applied that’s extremely, extremely reminiscent of a fisheye lens, but there’s something about the way the picture looks when the frames involve a lot of motion. Maybe it’s the vibrant colors, maybe it’s something I’m not familiar with – but I like it. It’s a bit different – it sets the film apart from other similar efforts, even if only marginally. To these eyes, it’s a pretty cool effect to incorporate and I’m not all that certain it would work quite as effectively in a different genre of film.
In addition to the look of the film, you’ll probably dig some of the punchlines, as there’s good comedy tucked in the folds of the film, and there are a couple of characters that prove pretty memorable. Don’t get your hopes up thinking you’ve got the breakout film from the next Mel Brooks or anything, but know that some of the writing is very successful.
There’s no pretending this is a movie that is going to be unanimously loved. It isn’t. It’s absolutely crammed full of insane vocal exchanges, copious amounts of nudity and some goofy monster getups. Some of, if not all of those things are going to turn a number of viewers off. This one is a true niche piece and while I would indeed recommend it, I would only do so to hardcore exploitation fanatics.