Rabid Grannies (1988)

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Two nice, wealthy, but horribly naive little old ladies are about to be royally screwed over by their ungrateful family. It’s their 92nd birthday and the only reason their eclectic brood of ungrateful relatives even showed up at their opulent mansion is because they’re all trying to smoose the two of them for a bigger portion of their will. The only one missing is cousin Christopher, who apparently pissed off these incredibly forgiving women so badly that they straight up wrote him out of the will (with some helpful conjuling from the rest of the family.) 

But look! Even though Christopher has been written off as the blackest sheep of this horrid family, he was still thoughtful enough to send a gift to his dear Aunties for their birthday. It’s a beautiful box with a horrible secret: it’s actually cursed to high hell. Mere moments after opening it the two grey-haired darlings are possessed by murderous demons and attack their family, sending them and the servants scrambling through the massive estate to hide. Now the greedy lot must force themselves to work together in order to stop the curse and survive the sweet irony of their current predicament.

rabid_grannies_2Word to the wise: Don’t accept mystery packages from pasty old women who come calling in the middle of the night.

I came across this in one of my random movie searches and thought it’d be a nice followup to Flesh Eating Mothers. And though it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it did fit the bill.

But, right off the bat I have two complaints about the title of this movie. First off, the two old ladies in this film aren’t actually anyone’s grandmother. In fact, they insist everyone call them ‘auntie’, so with the exception of the servants, I’m pretty sure everyone else here is a cousin/niece/nephew. I know that might be a nitpick, but not every little old lady is a grandmother, damn it. And if they are, then the film sure as hell goes out of it’s way to make it sound like they aren’t.

Second, they’re not ‘rabid.’ Rabid suggests they got bit by an ugly raccoon or a spazing bat. There is no biting here (or at least none done by animals). This is a straight-up demon possession, ugly-ass transformation and all. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, or that I would have preferred ‘rabid’ as opposed to possession. I’m just saying that there I was, sitting there waiting for these two little women to get mauled by some foaming mouth…. something-or-other, and it never happened. Instead I get a dusty box and demons.

I just take issue with people not being accurate in their movie titling, damn it.

rabid_grannies_3Though I did get demons foaming at the mouth. So I guess I can still chalk that up as a win.

The main thing one really needs to know about Rabid Grannies is that it is a Troma film. I was not aware of this before I started the film. But I immediately became aware of it when their jaunty little corporate diddy played before the film and I became both curious and apprehensive.

 As most horror fans likely know, Troma has a notorious reputation of spitting out copious amounts of cheap, campy slock that range anywhere from ‘this is ridiculous, but in a fun way’ to ‘this is total crap.’ Rabid Grannies thankfully falls into the former category, but you have to tough it out to get to that point, because it unfortunately starts in the later.

rabid_grannies_4My thoughts exactly.

The first thirty minutes of the movie is essentially a giant round-up of the cast. The film spends most of that time letting the viewers meet the Aunties and all of their annoying, obnoxious relatives. If any of these people were even remotely interesting, this wouldn’t be an issue. But this family seems to be comprised solely with just about every clichéd nightmarish relative that you could think of (and in some cases, their equally annoying spouse/offspring). They’re snobbish, greedy and just downright annoying. These are the types you’d typically go out of your way to avoid at the family reunion. And yet the movie forces us to spend over half an hour with all of them willingly. I suppose they did it to make us better appreciate their gruesome deaths, but it’s still a major bummer.

On top of that, even though every character in the movie is speaking English (and if they’re not they sure as hell look like they are), for some unknown reason all the dialogue is dubbed. I’m not sure if it was because the actors might not have been native English speakers (the film was made in Europe), they were just mouthing their lines, or if their microphones were just that bad that they felt they had to redo it. Either way it sounds pretty horrible (and looks it, too. It doesn’t look like things like ‘syncing’ were mandatory in the Troma sound department) and it makes the annoying characters sound even more annoying. 

rabid_grannies_5I know. I didn’t think that was possible either. But Troma proved me wrong, those sly devils.

Thankfully, once the wrinkled dearies become possessed all the action ramps up from a 2 to an 11. One relative is immediately eaten at the dinner table, forcing the others to scatter, and they spend the rest of the movie being slowly hunted down by the now wisecracking, murderous devil-ites. 

This is the part where the movie really shines, because if there’s one thing Troma can do, it’s gory goodness. Blood is spilled, people are eaten, limbs are thrown, necks are broken, bodies are snapped in half, and our little demon possessed aunties manage to do it all with a smile on their very ugly faces. I mean, they were just as giddy as they were merciless. They even managed to throw in a couple of ironic deaths, too. Say what you will about demons, but that’s dedication.

I think the only deaths out of close to a dozen (they were busy ladies) that aren’t deserved are the butler and the little girl. Everyone else seemed pretty deserving, but the butler seemed pretty dedicated to the two women, and the little girl… well, she really didn’t have enough screen time to be truly annoying. Though I gotta give the film credit for not only knocking off the kid, but dismembering her too. Even today most films don’t have the cajones to do that.

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So is Rabid Grannies any good? Well, if you like campy horror movies, then yes. I mean, it’s Troma, so it’s shlock, but it’s good shlock, assuming you can get past the very dull beginning. It looks decent and the gore and costuming are impressive. It takes its sweet time hitting its stride, but once it gets there it stays there and likely won’t disappoint. It does have some serious sound issues, but again, this is Troma. After you’ve seen a few of their films, it kind of becomes expected. So if you like schlocky horror, than you’ll likely like Rabid Grannies. It may not necessarily look terrific, but it’s a lot of fun. However, if you’re looking for a serious possession film, then I’d suggest you stick to The Exorcist.

Rabid Grannies is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

It is also available on DVD and Bluray.

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Michi

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