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WRITTEN REVIEW: Rabid Grannies

Oh boy, it's that time again, TROMA TIME! Recently Rabid Grannies was released on blu-ray -- a BLU/DVD Combo in fact -- and it occurred to me that Slaughter Film has yet to review Rabid Grannies. It also occurred to me that someone has pooped in our pants. But enough of that, let's take a look at this gore filled geriatric classic.

Rabid Grannies begins with a pair of maids who are preparing a birthday celebration for two elderly, and very affluent, sisters. As the maids gab, we learn that the nieces and nephews of the sisters are all eager to inherit their fortunes once they kick the bucket, and have secretly been plotting against one another to become their aunts favorite. This always reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode The Masks in which there was a man on his death bed, surrounded by his vulturous family who were eager to inherit his wealth. Unlike this episode, the nieces and nephews at least present themselves as caring toward their aunts.

The films sense of humor kicks in once the family starts to arrive. One of the young men is an executive of an weapons manufacturer who has his fingers crossed that WW3 will start soon because it sure would be good for the company. Another young nephew is a priest who is sat at the dinner table near the children because “we know how much you like children”. Get it?

As the family sits down to have cake and ice cream, they realize that there is one nephew who never arrived. However he did send a birthday gift. Inside the package is what looks like a jewelry box that, once opened, expels demonic spirits that take up residence inside the elderly sisters.

This nephew didn't arrive because he was never invited. Some time ago he was discovered to be a practitioner of the black arts and a Satan worshiper. As a result, the sisters removed his name from their will and since then he vowed to get revenge on his family.

For the rest of the film the family try their best to fend off the attacks of the cannibalistic demon women while searching for a way to rid their aunts of evil.

Rabid Grannies has grown a reputation of being one of the more notorious films in the Troma library, and I can see why. The practical effects are top notch with limb-ripping gore at every turn. No one is safe from the “Grannies”, not even children. In fact this release contains 2 version of the film. The original version and the “Producer's Cut” which boasts having extra scenes of gore restored to the film. Scenes that were cut from the original.

Speaking of restoration, Troma has promoted his blu-ray release as being totally “restored”, which I would like to call bullshit. While most of the film looks fine, there is some color loss that makes things seem a bit washed out. The picture also has a “soft” look to it. The audio is something to be desired also. Much of the dialogue is faint and muddy and at times it's hard to catch everything that is said. These problems make me wonder what this was transferred from and how it was restored.

The DVD looks and sounds much better but is from a full-screen VHS transfer and lacks the new and improved Producer's Cut gore. This set is a bit of a trade off. Also the Producer's cut is 20 minutes shorter. Why? I have no idea. The original film drags a bit and this shorter version makes watching it a bit more fun. Too bad we couldn't get a clean and tidy version of the Producer's Cut.

These issues aren't major for those of you who are uninitiated. The story is simple and easy to follow and the special effects really steal the show. The gore and the films twisted sense of humor suggest a definite Evil Dead influence -- perhaps Bad Taste influence as well -- that fans will totally appreciate. You can't go wrong with this effects filled film tailor made for Troma. It's a cult classic and for good reason.

One final thought. I have a love/hate relationship with this movies title. “Rabid Grannies”, the sisters aren't rabid, they are possessed and they only MAY be grannies. Sure they are old and they have nieces and nephews, but nothing suggests they have their own grandchildren. After all, wouldn't their own grandkids have shown up to their birthday? I kinda hate the title, but at the same time I love how exploitative it is. Rabid Grannies sounds WAY better than “Possessed Aunts” or “Angry Old Rich Ladies Who Were Diapers”.


★ ★ ★