December 1, 2018 Slay Belles (Movie Review)
A group of feisty Naughty Listers have to help the real-life Santa Claus beat the evil Krampus in Slay Belles, a brand-new Horror-Comedy that arrives to VOD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, thanks to Epic Pictures and Dread Central.
This year, three little firecrackers have made the Naughty List and they are damn proud of it! Sassy and colorful Adventure Girls vloggers Sadie (YouTuber Miss Hannah Minx aka Hannah Wagner: The Devil’s Carnival 2012, FearFighter video game 2012) and Dahlia (Susan Slaughter: Ouija House 2018, Cynthia 2018) have some of the very best cleavage in California, and they are about to take it on the road to film an Urban Exploration adventure for their fans. Dragging their bestie Alexi (Kristina Klebe: Halloween 2007, Hellboy 2019) along for the wild ride, this trio of cosplaying babes play a game of breaking-and-entering at Santa Land, a dilapidated theme park dedicated to the Man With the Bag.
Before they can even make it to Santa Land, however, the ladies stop off at a local watering hole where they tango with owner Cherry (Diane Salinger: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure 1985, Batman Returns 1992), an avowed Christmas hater, along with a drunken sex offender (Matt Eskew: Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival 2016) dressed as Santa, and the fun drunk who never tips (that’d be director Blake Reigle, who has brought us 2007’s Beneath the Surface and 2017’s One of Us). Ranger Sean (Stephen Lunsford: Teen Wolf series, SIXERS series) arrives on the scene shortly after the ladies, delivering the news that there is a murderer stalking young children in town.
Ignoring this forewarning, the ladies continue on their way to the abandoned Santa Land and, after several photo-ops and some candy cane-humping, they realize that they are being watched. When they come face-to-face with hillbilly biker Old Man Kris (Barry Bostwick: The Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975, Megaforce 1982), they will soon learn that not everything they have been taught about Santa Claus is quite true. Kris Kringle? Well he’s a bad-ass with a magical rod!
The plot thickens when it becomes clear that the drooling Krampus (Joel Ezra Hebner: Kenny Chesney’s “Setting the World on Fire” video 2016, Sleight 2016) is out for all the children of the world, both naughty and nice – though he also has a thing for naughty ladies. Fighting alongside Saint Nick to save the day, the Adventure Girls will become the Slay Belles in order to rescue Christmas.
Clocking in at 77 minutes in-length, Slay Belles was Directed by Spooky Dan Walker (Midnight Ride short 2001, Spookshow 2002) and Written by Walker with first-time writer Jessica Luhrssen, who previously worked behind-the-scenes in film (The Bourne Ultimatum 2007, Tales of Halloween 2015). It also features Richard Moll (The Flintstones 1994, Scary Movie 2 2001) as Officer Green, and Rich Manley (Knight and Day 2010, The Debt Collector 2018) as Sadie’s useless boyfriend Brian.
It is important to know going into Slay Belles that this is a film chock full of innuendo and double-entendre, one that also includes a Krampus boner, hairy balls, and plenty of quivering bosoms; in short, it’s not a family film. Instead, it is an enjoyable blend of (adult) Horror and Comedy, one that never aims for blockbuster flawlessness or intellectually-inspiring status, but simply revels in its B-grade cheese and sleaze. Slay Belles is on par, production-wise, with a made-for-TV movie, though the comedy, gore and breasts make it definitely not cable-friendly. The easily offended need not apply!
Despite its many flaws, Slay Belles provides a good time for its viewers. This is much in thanks to its wonderfully colorful cast, with Bostwick leading the way as an edgy Santa Claus. He does wonders with his comedic delivery, and never feels forced, stunted, or worse yet, like a dirty old man running around with buxom cohorts.
No, Bostwick does himself quite proud in Slay Belles, and convincingly gives Old Saint Nick some much-needed chutzpah. Similarly, when Salinger’s moment in the spotlight arrives, she plays one truly insane woman who has been scorned and is going to fully enjoy celebrating her last laugh. She is fiery and fun, and her performance provides a wonderful little twist that injects extra pizzazz into Slay Belles’ ending.
For the three leading ladies – Klebe (Alexi), Wagner (Sadie) and Slaughter (Dahlia) – their performances are all solid and fully enjoyable. Wagner is provided with the most blatantly colorful character, a bubbly little sprite who dons a truly gorgeous ice-blue wig for the bulk of the film. Slaughter is the more ballsy, in-your-face Punk rocking chick, complete with hot pink pigtails.
Klebe’s Alexi is clearly meant to be the grounding force here, the friend who has hesitations about breaking-and-entering for sport, and who is ultimately painted as the kind of de facto leader of the trio. All of the ladies are wonderful to watch, with a fun and lively chemistry that sets the film into motion and keeps it rolling steadily. Clearly, on many levels their characters are largely meant to be eye candy, but the ladies rise above this and truly deliver a girl power-infused performance.
With a soundtrack that utilizes both EDM and Punk to mirror its youthful on-screen antics, Slay Belles is most apt to appeal to the selfie-generation. It is brash and colorful, obnoxious in truly the very best way, and certainly worthy of some eggnog while you partake in your viewing session. In the immortal words of the Slay Belles themselves: “Merry Christmas, bitches!” Bold, sassy, and seasonally appropriate, Cryptic Rock give Slay Belles 3 of 5 stars. P.S. Don’t ask what happened to the reindeer!