One of our readers suggested this project about a week ago, so I picked up
the one and only available DVD (a cheapo Canadian press), but I really had no idea why
the film was
significant. It turns out to have been a good recommendation, not because the
film is any good, but because there is an interesting story behind it.
The female star, Bethenny Frankel, has basically had two completely
different showbiz careers. In 1994-1995 she was an aspiring starlet who was
willing to do softcore sex scenes and topless sunbathing on camera in this
sub-B teen slasher film. That career petered out. Bethenny disappeared from
the public eye for a decade, then re-emerged in 2005 on The Apprentice:
Martha Stewart, where she made it to the final round before losing. That led
to a recurring role on The Real Housewives of New York City.
"OK," you're thinking, "that's sort of interesting, but not very." Well,
here's why it's fascinating: (1) Bethenny has
her own personal website for her
various endeavors (she's quite the entrepreneur), and her bio fails to mention
her 1994-95 acting career; (2) her
also fails to mention her starlet days, although it elaborates in detail about
her efforts as an event promoter and celebrity vegan chef, and even about her
childhood summer jobs in her dad's stables; (3) IMDb lists the two different
showbiz careers as two different people named Bethenny Frankel,
Bethenny 1, and
Bethenny 2. Did I mention
that the two Bethennys look exactly alike? The IMDb article has plenty of
pictures of the new Bethenny, and I have plenty of the old Bethenny, and the
two Bethennys are obviously one and the same person, but nobody, presumably
including Bethenny herself, has chosen to correct the IMDb entries or the
In other words, the Bethenny Frankel of the mid 90s has been successfully
hiding in plain sight! Why would she now expunge and/or avoid any references to
her former career? I suppose your guess is as good as mine, but I'm betting
that she doesn't want anyone to do what our reader persuaded me to do: find
her old topless scenes.
The movie itself is a very poor effort. It's a predictable high school
slasher film. The new girl in town, a major babe (Bethenny), inexplicably takes a liking
to the local nerd. No sooner do they become romantically entangled when the
area is hit with an epidemic of violent deaths, all of which occur to people
who have taunted or bullied the nerd. The director uses the old cliché of
having the victims talk to the killer with clever lines like, "Oh, it's you,"
and the camera never shows the killer's face. I guess we are supposed to
wonder who the killer might be. Hmm. There were no killings before the new
girl appeared in town. She fell in love with the nerd. All the nerd's enemies
soon started dying. Gee, I wonder who the murderer could be?
The script is a mess. Characters are introduced, seem briefly significant, then are dropped. At
times, there is no continuity from scene to scene, as
if certain parts of the film were re-written without considering the effect on
the other scenes. For example, an anal-retentive teacher is killed. We see him
being bludgeoned with garden shears, then we see that his throat has been
slashed by the blades, but in every subsequent scene, the kids and the
principal discuss his death as if he had died of natural causes, an extension of his known
breathing problems. I guess that is true, in the sense that death is probably the
ultimate breathing problem.
The bad writing is matched by bad direction. In several scenes, a camera
pans from one face to another, then back, then back again repeatedly. I
suppose this sort of "editing in the camera" was necessitated by one or both
of these circumstances: (1) a lack of proper editing time and equipment; or
(2) a single camera and a minimal budget for film. According to IMDb, this
would be the one and only film for director Barry Blake.
I guess the film might have been redeemed by some interesting performances
in a few leads, but the work in front of the camera is just as bad as that
behind it. The cast consists of unfamiliar faces, presumably comprising the director's
retinue of Hollywood fringe players who rarely, if ever, worked elsewhere. Ms.
Frankel was the only one who showed any sense of how to create a complete
character, and was the only one with a reasonably natural presence on film.
And she herself was no Judi Dench. Although Bethenny turned in a perfectly
competent performance as the sociopathic killer in this film, it's worthwhile
to remember that her acting career died a year after this film was created,
and she was not seen on camera again for a decade ... and she was light years
beyond the rest of the cast!
The film has only two genuinely strong features: (1) Frankel's
pendulous breasts, which bounce around tantalizingly in a spirited girl-on-top
sex scene; (2) a mercifully short running time of 74 minutes.