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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin
Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin
Troma // Unrated // February 24, 2004
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted January 13, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Directed by Greg Griffin -- no, not the Bad Religion frontman -- Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin was originally plastered with the considerably plainer title Sisters of Sin when released on VHS by Timeless Video in 1997. Troma beefed up the title to something a little more marketable after they gobbled up the distribution rights, reminiscent of how Dark Fortress somehow metamorphosed into A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell. Like Brett Piper's prehistoric A-cup-against-the-world action flick, the title alone was enough to grab my attention, even though it really doesn't describe the movie particularly well at all.

It's Falco!  Get it?  'Amadeus'?  :sigh:  Kids these days...
The demon Asmadeus
(artist's rendering)
Justin Gorence IS The Monk, a demon slayer for hire who, aside from his hefty paychecks, has earned quite a reputation for himself in the shadowy underworld. Despite taking all of the necessary precautions (come on, he did screen her with his Ectoplasm Detection System!), the cunning Sister Avarice managed to dupe him into a battle with her waxy minions. Using a fragment of a Hellstone inset in a ring and an onslaught of corny Dr. Mordred-esque optical effects, Avarice forces The Monk to do her bidding. See, twenty-eight years ago, a demon priestess was raped and kidnapped because...I don't know why, but she wielded a chunk of rock dubbed the Hellstone. Pops lopped the gem into three pieces and handed them over to jewelers for safekeeping. Unbelievably, this apparently wasn't the most secure course of action, as the fragments of the Hellstone were stolen and then given to each of the three children the priestess bore. The Hellstone, when reunited and doused in a couple gallons of sacrificial blood, will send Asmadeus, the fearsome demon of vice, stomping into this mortal coil. With the help of his doting secretary Karen (Heather Lea McIntyre), The Monk sets out to retrieve the pair of rings from the clutches of martial artist instructor Sister Anger (Alisa Christensen) and shape-shifting brothel baroness Sister Lust (Jenna Johns), but the iron-willed hero has plans of his own...

One of the first things that caught my eye about Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin -- the title aside, of course -- was that it was produced by some of the same folks behind Sucker the Vampire. I've devoured dozens of Troma movies over the past twelve or thirteen years, and I'd peg Sucker as easily being my favorite of that sizeable bunch. Its blend of a smart premise, dark humor, some surprisingly effective dramatic moments, and a killer soundtrack in with the usual Troma sex 'n splatter probably elevated my expectations a bit higher than they should've been. Troma is best known for being cartoonishly over-the-top, dishing out scoopfuls of T&A, slapstick, and Ultraslime and assorted bodily fluids by the barrel. Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin, on the other hand, plays it pretty straight (zing!) as a low-octane action movie peppered with some light genre flavor. Action flicks tend to excel in...well, action, but the sequences here are sparsely distributed and suffer from an under-rehearsed, first take-ish quality. The performances, photography, and editing of these moments aren't fueled by any apparent energy or enthusiasm. The pacing plods along slowly from these lifeless, dull action setups to extended exploitive sequences. Sure, it wouldn't be a Troma movie without overinflated breasts flashing across the screen, but the sex scenes often feel out of place and at times haphazardly inserted. It takes more than just writhing and exposed fleshy bits to be sexy, and a flick with the phrase "Lesbian Sin" in the title really ought to do the job better than this. It should also, y'know, have lesbians. There are several guy-on-gal sex scenes, but the only girl-on-girl action is a false seduction that doesn't veer all that heavily into the territory suggested by its title.

...and the onslaught of '80s rock references continues unabated.
Rick Springfield: Action Hero
Some scenes are just odd, such as The Monk mystically examining a potential client with high school rock show-style lighting and skwawking synthesizers, Avarice magically popping onto the frame during a street brawl, and Sister Lust transforming into various school boy crushes directly in front of The Monk without him really catching on. There are a couple of attempts to be artful...disconcerting slow-motion flips during one fight and a montage of excessively close shots in a love scene, to name a couple...but like most every aspect of Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin, the execution seems both forced and sloppy. New plot elements are introduced seemingly at random, such as how a gold box can mask the presence of the Hellstone. Admittedly, that may have been implied in the sequence where The Monk meticulously mixed together two vials of colored water in his lab, though I thought that was supposed to establish why drinking molten metal is a winning idea. I guess the ending is supposed to be a downer, but the reappearance of a completely inconsequential character seen briefly only in flashback doesn't really resonate.

Pull de strinks!
Because the plot hinges on tracking down magical rings with destructive power, I was going to make a Lord of the Rings joke, but that's so 2003.
The acting is clunky and ham-fisted, which in and of itself isn't surprising, but some of the cast members actually had a résumé before this. Leading man Jostin Gorence appeared on The Young and the Restless for a couple of years, later reappearing on television for a brief three-episode stint on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and on the American Idol-inspired From Justin to Kelly. Following a series of blink-and-you'll-miss-'er roles in movies like Boozecan and Rock 'n Roll Nightmare, Lara Daans appeared in the Shannon Tweed Cinemax After Dark sorta-sci-fi Electra. Admittedly, those aren't the most robust cinematic credentials, and it's tough to sell sterling dialogue like the following exchange between the Monk and Sister Avarice:
"Your sisters...the other two rings..."
"Uh-huh. Rings identical to mine. Like me, each would kill to keep hers, but unlike them, I shall possess all three gems. For that, I need your help."
"You're the witch. Why don't you get on your broom and go get them?"
"Very funny, Johnny."
Very funny? A couple of the supporting players do a better job than the leads, most notably Alisa Christensen, a stuntwoman-slash-actress who went on to appear in a couple other Troma productions. Heather Lea McIntyre adopts an indescribably unconvincing Southern accent when going undercover that's almost criminally bad. Anyway, it's not really much fun to read plain-text gripes about acting, so I took it upon myself to cobble together some soundbites from the film. Thrill to the painful events that led up to Johnny's transformation into The Monk, an ominous threat from a street thug, and a requiem for the damned, all in the splendor of low-bitrate mp3s.

I always groan whenever I hear someone spout off the "so bad, it's good" cliché, so I'll resist the temptation even though that's the only level on which Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin succeeds. It's not a particularly well-crafted film, and its DVD release is fairly lackluster as well.

No blood, minimal sin, no sisters, and only one lesbian.
This is as close to the lesbian sin of blood sisters as you're gonna get.
Video: It's kind of unnecessary to delve in-depth into the video quality of a Troma release, and the full-frame presentation looks the same as pretty much every other Troma movie I've ever seen. The film stock used gives it a sort of indeterminate age, seeming as if it could have been shot any time between 1984 and last Thursday. The image is somewhat soft and grainy, boasting a fairly dull palette and an unremarkable level of detail. The source material seems to suffer from some vertical scratches or similar wear during The Monk's encounter with Sister Lust, and there's a nasty video blip during what passes for the climax as well. As a whole, though, Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin doesn't look any better or any worse than any other Troma DVD release, and viewers who are satisfied with the quality of the studio's output to date will probably feel the same way about this disc.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack (224Kbps) fares a little better. The movie's heavy on dialogue, and it's reproduced without any major concerns, at least nothing unexpected for a movie with this sort of slim budget. Some of the Foleyed sound effects come through fairly nicely, particularly a shotgun blast, some punches, and kicks that sound rather robust. There's some background noise during the climax -- guess cameras were rolling on a particularly windy night -- but it's a minor complaint. Passably decent.

There are no alternate soundtracks, subtitles, or closed captions.

A nod to the ineptly-animated 'Iron Man' series from the '60s.  I feel like I'm writing for myself!  Oh, wait...
She fights and smites with repulsor rays!
Supplements: There isn't much in the way of extras directly related to the movie, but an undaunted Troma still marches forward with their usual assortment. Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin opens with an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, who enlists the assistance of native Ft. Lauderdale lesbians to dish out some background information on the film. Next up is a trailer gallery plugging Citizen Toxie (3:38; letterboxed to 1.75:1 and featuring muffled audio), Tales from the Crapper (2:26; letterboxed to 1.66:1), a full-frame Sucker the Vampire clip (1:36), Angel Negro (1:58, 1.66:1 letterboxed), and a Blood Sisters... trailer under the original Sisters of Sin title (fullframe; 1:52). All of the trailers feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, with Sisters of Sin's encoded at a bitrate of 224Kbps and the remaining four encoded at 448Kbps. The promotional parade continues with a two-minute ad for Lloyd Kaufman's book Make Your Own Damn Movie and a minute-long spot for troma.com. There's also a Lloyd Kaufman-helmed music video for Purple Pam's "Kick in the Head", a chunky rock ditty off the Tales from the Crapper soundtrack. Rounding out the extras are a list of credits and the "Radiation March", a Tromatic journey into the world of dance that's reared its head on pretty much every one of the studio's DVDs.

The disc sports a set of static 4x3 menus, and the movie has been divided into six chapter stops. For the packaging-obsessed, Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin comes cradled in an Amaray keepcase and does not include an insert. The single-sided, single-layer DVD isn't region coded and is viewable on any display that can resolve an NTSC image.

Conclusion: Disregard the logo on the cover: Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin may be distributed by Troma, but it's lacking almost all of the elements that have come to define the studio over the past thirty years. The Troma faithful may still want to stick with a rental, but I personally wouldn't recommend going to even that minimal effort. Check out Sucker the Vampire instead.

Related Links: Troma's Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin page includes a trailer for anyone intrigued by my extended rambling.
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