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'Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives': Best Late-Night Cable Movie Ever?



MOVIE REVIEW: Is it too much to ask for premium cable to air more hilarious cult trash like Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives every now and again?

By Kenny Herzog

These switchblade sisters used to be misters. 


Bruce Springsteen once sang of there being "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)." Clearly, he wasn't tuned into Showtime Beyond during the wee hours of this past Tuesday morning. Where else would one find an amnesiac delight such as Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives, writer/director Israel Luna's possibly brilliant cult-genre pastiche starring a cast of transgendered actors seeking revenge on the vagrants who attacked and nearly killed them?

Trannies stirred enough controversy that even The New York Times reported on it, but with all due respect to those who took offense, it seems they politicized a film that was never intended as anything more lofty than midnight-movie fun. Not to mention, pulp auteurs John Waters and Quentin Tarantino would likely approve of its deviant tastelesness and twisted comedy, which marries the unconventional family ethos of Pink Flamingos with femme-revenge fantasies of Switchblade Sisters and Kill Bill. And somehow, by telling the story through empowered tranny leads, it avoids the confused gender-messaging of appropriately scorned ancestral fare like I Spit On Your Grave.

Trannies is neglibibly edited, shot like a student film and acted with gleefully inept abandon, but without the lazy irony that weighs down so many aspiring modern cult classics. I mean, how can you argue with lines like, "C'mon, this ain't Bridge Over Troubled Tranny" and "You wanna treat us like goddamn tranimals?" or scenes with a spiritual/martial-arts advisor who incants Kelis lyrics as mantras?

Krystal Summers, Kelexis Davenport and the rest of Luna's cast are clearly having fun and exploring a bit of harmless, fictional catharsis. And while there are some prolonged, unsettling scenes of abuse, the gratuity and gore are pretty PG-13, and unlike in real life, there's comfort in always knowing our protagonists will survive and get their revenge in ways not even Takashi Miike could have dreamed up for Audition. Furthermore, Luna never exploits his starring ladies with superfluous nudity or sex just to satisfy viewers' perverse curiosities.

This won't be for everyone, and I may get looked at sideways for saying it, but Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives was the most fun I've had outside of a drive-in theater in years.


IN OTHER WORDS: Self-aware exploitation done right. Also, girl power.




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