Little Box of Horrors: Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?
In our recurring segment, I travel far and wide to places conveniently located on my work commute to find horrible, terrible, no good movies. I then watch them, review them, and try not to drink bleach.
Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Gentle reader, I come to you from a dark place. A nadir of my soul, brought about by having watched such wonderful movies as Zoombies and Equals. Will my fourth movie be the warm chicken soup I crave? Probably not, but let’s get to it anyway.
For some reason or other, since last Tuesday’s election I have been waking in the middle of the night screaming “monsters! monsters everywhere!” So, I figured I’d chose something appropriately terrifying. The only restriction: no more goddamn zombies. Zombies are dead to me. Again. Undead to me. Forget it, what are the choices?
- Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? Tori Spelling and James Franco star in this made for TV movie about a concerned mother. Concerned that her daughter is dating… a lesbian vampire.
- Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? Seriously, check out that title. It’s so stupid.
- Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? Tori Spelling. James Franco. Lesbian Vampires.
That’s right folks, I’m stopping this fight in the first round! Stop throwing punches, the bell has been rung.
Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (2016)
Produced by James Franco and Tori Spelling. Starring James Franco and Tori Spelling. Written by James Franco. A remake of a movie from 1996 starring… Tori Spelling. Jesus Christ on a crouton. The original (which had a bad boyfriend, not lesbian vampires, to its detriment) was savaged by critics for Spelling’s terrible acting. I can understand her wanting to get even by making this movie, but c’mon James? This is the hill you want to die on?
The movie begins with a blonde night-walker going over to visit her girlfriend Pearl, who is unaware of her neck biting proclivities. We learn that she is part of a brood of vamps, and that tonight is the night she is being tasked with recruiting our oblivious muse Pearl. The recruiting session goes about as well as a member of the local marching band trying to get to second base with his prom date. Well, I guess a little worse; Pearl is bitten, but manages to stab a shard of glass into blondie’s heart. High School romances, amirite?
Fast forward five years, and Pearl has joined our coven of femme fatales in what can only be attributed to Stockholm syndrome (or lazy writing). Pearl has found a new lady love in Leah, and they are drawing ever closer to getting to third base, which in this movie is neck biting. You see, a vampire can only suppress their bloodlust by finding true love, turning them, and pair-feeding off each other for eternity. The other vampires, who obviously decided to style themselves after a certain Coalition for Liberation of Itinerant Tree-dwellers, could care less about this budding romance, they just want another member. Because, if you are a group of bloodthirsty murderers hiding your existence from the world, your number one priority should be forcing your rookie members to date-rape new members into your sect, willy nilly.
So far so good, but where are our “Stars”? Franco plays the theater director of a very, um, titillating version of MacBeth to which Leah is the star. Spelling is Leah’s nosy and ultra conservative mother. Yup, in any other world these jamokes would be so far away from top billing that a random dudebro that was killed five minutes into the flick would have been listed before them.
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.”
This movie tells you quite quickly what it’s all about. In a college lecture class that Leah attends, we are given “Professor Advance-the-Plot’s” musing on Vampires as outcasts, homosexual analogues, and persecuted youth. Way to sum up a movie featuring homosexual teenage outcasts who take new member’s humanity in very sexy ways! You’re like a cliff note in a bad tie!
That being said, it mostly handles these topics well, especially by made for TV movie moralizing standards. Both the lecture segues and the production of MacBeth portend plot points and stay just shy of bludgeoning you, keeping this flick mildly watchable. We get a tale of peer pressure driving our protagonist towards turning a girl that she has developed feelings for. Pearl grapples with her desire for Leah as well as her love for her, not wanting to subject her to the pain of being a night walker (vampire, not prostitute.) We get mainstream reactions to their love in the form of Mommy and Jilted Loverboy (get to that piece of shit in a second). It mostly works as a tale of sexual identity in the face of suffocating societal expectations.
And what about the sex? We know the thing TV movies love more than moralizing is showing fully clothed bodies approximating as much sex as the censors will allow, and censors have lost a lot of pearl clutching sensibility since 1996. It walks that line fairly well too. Some of the make out sessions are racy, even without any nudity, but it rarely gets tawdry. So dry hump away, rebellious youth!
“Wait a tic, Nate”, you are probably thinking, “you are dangerously close to sounding like you like this movie”. For the most part I was OK with this film, but of course…
…it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing
This film has two fatal flaws. Firstly, it couldn’t decide which master it wanted to serve. Did it want to be a Lifetime movie about being homosexual in a hetero dominated world, or did it want to be USA Up All Night with gore and sex? The answer is a resounding “uh…both?”. All the work this movie does in telling a decent story of forbidden love and social acceptance is torpedoed in a final fifteen minutes by blood, sex, and (my) tears.
Missy, Sissy, and Chrissy are completely superfluous, only there to rub themselves up against each other and force some kind of conflict that Pearl will have to Vamp-fight her way out of in the end. And it turns out their end game of forcing Pearl to turn Leah is thwarted… only to have Pearl turn Leah anyway (preceded by a make out session that had to have been choreographed by someone in the adult film industry). Fuck! Spelling spends the entire time lampooning the “listen to your elders” message, only to be proven right. So I guess homosexuals ARE dangerous? What the hell message are you actually trying to send? It’s like the director changed from a liberal to a conservative ¾’s of the way through and everyone just agreed to “let’s just have a graveyard chick fight and no one will notice”.
And the most egregious example of the 180 pivot is Sir-Rapes-Alot, the childhood friend and our second fatal flaw. After being cucked by having both the role of MacBeth and his crush taken from him by the Homosexual Menace ™ he decides on the rational course of action: roofie colada your childhood sweetheart. And he invalidates another of the film’s messages by being rewarded for the attempted rape by becoming a sweet ass vampire that the previously man-hating stereotype vampiresses MAKE THEIR FUCKING LEADER. These girls, who previously are shown to only feed on date-rapists, throw aside their entire ethos just so we can get a teaser at the end for a sequel that no loving God will ever let be made.
All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand
I can’t say I loved this movie for most of it’s hour and a half run-time, but I was mildly entertained. Then the last fifteen minutes sent everything screaming to hell. I’m assuming the only person who will enjoy this movie is James Franco, who spends every minute he’s on camera looking stoned and ogling the lesbian MacBeth production he’s supposedly in charge of. Or maybe Donald Trump. He seems to like to take a production meant to empower women and turn it into a creepy perv session. Either way, fuck them both, and if they make a sequel to this I hope everyone involved have to watch it for eternity A Clock Work Orange-style. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go outside and scream into a hole.