Friday, 10 September 2010

El Monstro Del Mar! review by Yasmin Vought screens 10 September

Described as an Ozploitation genre film, Stuart Simpson’s El Monstro Del Mar is a tale of three foxy rockabilly babes - hired assassins hiding away in a seaside village after a big job. Amazonian goddess Beretta (Nelli Scarlet) appears to be the leader of the pack, and has a dominance and presence on screen that forces you to pay attention - or else she will probably slit your throat and feed you to her two sidekicks! Beretta‘s punk rock attitude (Nelli is the frontwoman of Melbourne band, The Scarlets) is reminiscent of Suburban Mayhem beauty Katrina Skinner (played by Emily Barclay) and is complimented by the more subdued nature of Blondie (Karli Madden)and the sexual allure of the Morticia-meets-Elvira raven haired vixen, Snowball (Kate Watts).

The leading ladies are quite believable in their parts, almost as though they were plucked straight from their crème Cadillac, cruising around the streets of Melbourne, cranking The Cramps on their stereo. After watching El Monstro Del Mar, I want to join their crew and drink whiskey with them and go on a sexy car stealing, killing rampage on the South coast.

However, it’s not all fun and cruising, because just when we think that the girls are indestructible, they get themselves into a bit of trouble in this apparently not so sleepy seaside town by swimming in the forbidden beach. Channelling The Mighty Boosh’s tale of Ol’ Gregg, there is something deadly and frightening that lurks beneath the sea, and it’s not happy about being disturbed. Without spoiling the plot too much, this film quickly becomes a monstrous revenge film that would make Tarantino and the residents of Tromaville equally proud.

The combination of ass-kicking babes reminiscent of Russ-Meyer femme revenge flick, ‘Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill’ together with an amped up killer alt-country, rockabilly soundtrack to boot, make this film well worth your time and your pretty little pennies. If only to witness the sexy black and white opening title, or the frightening death skull dream sequence toward the middle. The cinematography is also quite exquisite and filmed almost entirely with an over saturated and highly contrasted film stock, giving the film a surreal and fantastical atmosphere. I half expected to see some Western clad Mermaids emerging from the waters, but let’s save that for the sequel (fingers crossed).

El Monstro Del Mar is showing this Saturday at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville at 4pm and will be followed by an exclusive Q&A with Writer and Director, Stuart Simpson and the Monstro crew.

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