After killing the owner of a B-rated strip club, Burt, an indulgent vampire with a zest for life hides out (and dopes up) at an upscale drug den, until the strippers seeking revenge…and the zombies that come out of no where…all face off for a final showdown.
The combination of horror and comedy has existed since the golden era of Hollywood, yet is still regarded by some as a bastardization and affront to our industry. Perhaps the haters don’t get the joke. Since both genres elicit strong emotional (often vocalized) reactions, offering a double dose seems only logical, right? That’s the rub friends, and why many discredit the misunderstood horror/comedy: These movies are rarely scary.
Throw “musical” into the blender, and all hope for a fright is abandoned. With the exception of a few jump jolts in “Cannibal! The Musical” or Paris Hilton’s presence in “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” the few titles capable of boasting this classification are devoid of chills. The key with these films is to forget the “horror” part and try to enjoy it for what it is, as yours truly must set aside hatred for musical theater to do the same.
Is all this mental preparation worth the experience? Yes and no. There is no denying the abundant energy behind “The Bloody Indulgent,” and it’s often every bit as fun as the cast and crew have creating it. It’s also a disjointed mess, the many musical numbers varying wildly in quality from catchy to ear rape. Writer/director Ken Roht, whose only previous credit is the documentary “Angel’s Ladies,” won’t be accused of playing it close to the vest, but his unhinged approach to the material often blurs into chaos. The cinema sins are plentiful here, but there’s quite a lot to admire as well.
The plumiest feather in the film’s cap is casting Kevin Scott Richardson in the lead role of horny vampire Burt. If you’re in possession of a penis, you may be wondering who this Kevin guy is. Richardson happens to be one of the original (and current, they still tour) members of The Backstreet Boys, the 90’s pop sensation that made guys cringe and girls judge their boyfriends by unfair standards.
He’s a gas as Burt, who resides in a parallel reality where vampires are acknowledged (if not fully accepted) by society. Of course, that could just be Burt, as he is not a benevolent bloodsucker. In fact, he’s an uproariously obnoxious jerk. Minutes after chasing down and turning his friend Todd (Brandon Heitkamp) for the hell of it, he attacks a bouncer at seedy strip club The Bootleg for attempting to kick him out. Todd’s dancer girlfriend Connie (Diva Zappa, Frank’s youngest) stops in mid-act upon noticing the bites on her man’s neck, and calls for the patrons to put an end to Burt’s douchey shenanigans. This leads to a killing spree, as our anti-hero slaughters everyone in the joint, including Connie and club owner Sid, portrayed by Brian Gaskill of nearly every soap opera produced since 1990.
There are so many disparate elements and side characters popping in and out of “Indulgent,” it would be impossible to describe everything that occurs in under 5,000 words without resorting to bullet points. Given that bullet points are for artless nerds, I’ll avoid them and keep to the basics. After the multiple murders and approximately ten songs later, Burt and Todd decide to lie low at a drug den/studio owned by Clare (Sharon Ferguson, “Quarantine”). Clare’s creative pursuit is abducting strangers, drugging and dressing them for a photo spread, then shooting them when she’s finished. Even she is a little chagrined by Burt’s arrival, barking at him to behave himself while he’s there.
Scenes of Burt not behaving himself are interspersed with two different revenge plots against him. The strippers plan a contest to raise funds for a vampire hunter (Kenneth Hughes), whilst Connie is resurrected courtesy of two friendly zombies. She also has comeuppance on the mind, and her new pals teach her the ways of the undead in the film’s funniest sequence, giving her pointers as she attempts to tear a woman’s skull off. “Get up under her brow and pull back, it’s easy!” This trio steals the show, hands down.
Every musical styling that occurred to Roht and composer Paul Goldowitz is accounted for, including a few I’m not entirely certain are of this earth. That wasn’t a compliment. From lousy stadium rock to a clever ballad about public bathroom sex, the best to be said for the soundtrack as a whole is that if a song doesn’t appeal, it’ll soon be over and another will be bringing up the rear. A few baffling moments have characters singing their lines minus any accompaniment at all. The only semblances of cohesion throughout are the few stretches when no one is warbling, which are short-lived at best.
Another major flaw (before shifting back to the accolades) not to be ignored is that “Indulgent” isn’t as boundary-pushing as it seems to think it is. Bisexual vampires haven’t been cutting edge in twenty years, and rampant drug use was already beaten to death by PG-13 80’s romps. Despite a quick flash or two of breasts, there is no gratuitous nudity on display at all. Plenty of blood is spilled, but the gore and viscera (you know, the good stuff) one would expect from such an endeavor are also absent. Content wise, this plays like Troma Lite.
Scoring a charitable C- in the musical department and failing miserably as horror, “Indulgent” redeems itself through humor. From the running gag that everyone despises Burt to a zombie dance brilliantly spoofing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, the laughs come just as furiously as the tunes. Not only is the King of Pop ribbed, one number is a direct nod to “Bye Bye Birdie,” as the girls make phone calls to organize their Strip-Off competition.
I get it. There are those who refuse to watch musicals, and I don’t blame them. Others can’t stomach sitting through a horror/comedy, and I do blame them because they’re wrong. For mindless chuckles that will breeze by in 80 minutes and be instantly forgotten, “Bloody Indulgent” is the inspired train wreck for you.
Just do yourself a solid. Fast-forward when the rocker chick takes the stage.