Sunday, July 21, 2013

[Review] She's Dressed To Kill

Having once been regarded as a highly respected fashion designer, Regine Danton is now a crusty old has-been with a fondness for theatrics, weird accents that come and go, daytime alcoholic beverages, ex-cons, and old-timey cigarette holders. I know, she sounds amazing, right? Grasping at straws, Regine decides to throw a fashion show in her secluded mountaintop mansion to showcase her latest rags—including designs she flat out stole from her assistant with no intentions of giving him any credit. Unable to accept anything less than perfection for her hopefully triumphant return, she enlists the help of The Irene Barton Agency to provide her with her very favorite models.

One such model, however, drops dead before she even gets the good news, courtesy of strawberry lip gloss laced with cyanide. Soon after, the agency receives an obviously threatening phone call from some creepy dude who uses the word “dead” at least twice. But why panic and cancel the upcoming show after something so insignificant? It’s not like SOMEBODY DIED or there might be a SERIAL KILLER on the loose. Irene decides the best thing to do is cover it up as best she can and pretend as though it never happened. Even the dead girl’s ex-lover Alan Lenz, who also happens to be the agency’s resident photographer, decides to take pictures of her corpse immediately after finding her because “nobody’s ever done a dead model yet, have they?”

The insensitivity doesn’t stop there, as new girl Alix immediately jumps at the chance to take the dead model’s place by volunteering herself for the show. But I suppose that’s just in her nature; initially failing miserably during her first photo shoot, she proves her mama didn’t raise no fool by using her black belt in Karate to get what she wants, resulting in one of the most awkwardly sexual and violent photo shoots in history.

Soon after the models arrive at the snowbound mansion by cable car, along with a few prestigious buyers and fashion columnists, another girl bites the dust by using nerve gas as hairspray(!!!). Panic finally sets in as a nasty storm cuts the power and they all realize they’re stranded atop a mountain with a deranged killer. But try not to worry for them too much—they have copious amounts of sequined gowns and alcohol, so it could be worse.

With the lack of any real thrills, and virtually no blood or nudity—due to all the deaths being off screen—She’s Dressed To Kill doesn’t exactly work as a horror movie. But with more camp than all of the Friday the 13th movies combined (See what I did there? Camp? Oh, forget it), I found it simply impossible not to fall completely in love with it. And there really is a lot of camp to take in. An assaulting amount of camp that only a 1970’s made-for-TV movie could produce.

All of the characters are glamorous drama queens who get drunk and cry, insult each other’s appearances (“Her face looks as though she stepped on a landmine”), and get caught in awkward love/lust triangles. And of course, all of them practically have the word “killer” written across their foreheads to make things that much more dramatic. Even though they drop some seriously obvious hints to the killer’s identity very early on, I was still thrown off from time to time and was kept guessing until the climax.

She’s Dressed To Kill may not have all the qualities to make it succeed as a horror movie, but is still a surprisingly entertaining old fashioned murder mystery made fun by its snowbound setting and glamorously melodramatic cast of red herrings. Oh right, and DEATH BY COSMETICS. This movie is just too hilarious to pass up and certainly needs to be seen to be believed.

Direct quote: “I’m going to cry. And when I finish crying, I’m going to go to your room, and I’m going to take off my $900 coat and I’m going to put on my $600 slinky. And then I’m going to seduce you."

Seduced me you have, She’s Dressed To Kill. Seduced me you have.


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