FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

May 9, 2016

VHS Week Day 8: THE GRANNY (1995)

Reader, I'm not gonna lie to you. I'm not here to lie. Out of the 750 movies comprising VHS Week, The Granny is the one I anticipated the least. In fact, I'm not entirely sure how it came to be in my possession in the first place. Did I buy it? Was it a gift? Is this some kind of Sadako nonsense and it simply appeared in my apartment one day? Does it really exist? Do I really exist? Does anything?

*disappears in a puff of ennui*

Anyway. The point is, somehow I have this film and I made it a part of VHS Week, but I was dreading it. I know it's not very horror fan or Final Girl of me, but my tolerance for "deliberate garbage" these days is super low. But the truth of it is, can you really have a two-week VHS Week without sampling some mid-90s straight-to-video trash? You could, but you and the world and certainly VHS Week would be lesser for it. And so it was with humanity's best interests at heart I got on with The Granny. And you know what? It's possible that I need to lighten up ("YA THINK?" - everyone) because The Granny and I had a grand ol' time.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, they say, even if everyone in the family hates each other–which is absolutely the case with Granny's family. She's cantankerous and loathes everyone but Kelly, who is totally unsightly and nerdy (she wears her hair up and sports glasses). Granny is convinced her relatives just want her vast fortune...and she's right. Everyone is tired of waiting for her to die, so this year they intend to pull the ol' "poison in the soup" gag. That one always kills! Ha ha! Get it? IT KILLS!

Granny has her own surprise in store, however–she's bought a special elixir that will grant her immortality. Like a Gremlin, the elixir comes with a list of DOs and DO NOT DOs that must be strictly adhered to for fear of grave consequences. The elixir and the imbiber must forever avoid direct sunlight, and the imbiber must undergo a "cleansing ritual." While Granny manages to perform the ritual, the elixir is almost immediately exposed to sunlight and therefore tainted. And thus Granny is infested with a demon, comes back from the dead, and gets her revenge on her greedy family.

Make no mistake, my friends, this movie is 100% stupid...but you see, it knows it's stupid. It's a horror-comedy, and while plenty of the jokes fall flat and you'll be ashamed of yourself for watching this/existing, there are also some–gasp!–genuine laughs. As Granny, Stella Stevens hams it up and has the time of her life, delivering lines like "You! You're a load I should've swallowed!" with gravel-voiced gusto. In spite of myself, I also delighted at the scene where a woman's neck is ripped open by reanimated fur stoles. The "cleansing ritual"–which simply consists of saying "I love everybody" out loud–may be my favorite thing of all time. And had I known beforehand that The Granny features a demonic/zombie Stella Stevens attacking $10,000 Pyramid mainstay Teresa Ganzel, well, let's just say I wouldn't have dreaded watching it. Let's just say the tape probably would have caught on fire from the blazing speed at which I put it in the VCR.

Even at a scant 82 minutes, The Granny does eventually wear out its welcome, but I'll be damned if it isn't a moronic good time. It's fairly raunchy, kinda purposefully funny, a bit gross, and a whole lotta dumb–in other words, it's just about the perfect background-at-a-party movie. It'd go great with Night of the Demons or something of that ilk, paired up like the finest cheese and wine more cheese. I don't think it's ever received the DVD treatment, and VHS copies are fairly hard/expensive to come by now...but hey, if my experience is any indication, take a look around: you probably acquired a copy at some point and it's sitting in your collection right now. Shockingly, as it turns out that's...not really a complaint. Long live VHS Week!

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