On New Year’s Eve, 1969, luscious lesbian lovers Brooke (Sophie Monk) and Rhea (Anya Lahiri) are attending a swinging party in Los Angeles when the festivities take a nasty turn. Brooke stumbles into the bathroom where she interrupts sleazy Hollywood heartthrob Warren James (Justin Shilton, playing a thinly veiled parody of Warren Beatty) attempting to rape a young fan (Scout Taylor-Compton, who played Laurie Strode in the Halloween remake) and promptly stabs him to death. Escaping to the desert, unrepentant Brooke is swept inside a mystic mist while guilt-ridden Rhea encounters God herself (in the shapely form of supermodel Angela Lindvall). Touched by Rhea’s inner purity, the alluring almighty transforms the pair into immortal, vampiric angels of vengeance, tasked to wander the earth destroying evil wherever they find it. But when they are resurrected forty years later, on New Year’s Eve 2009, Brooke succumbs to a wanton bloodlust only Rhea can end.
This endearingly oddball and imaginative effort gets off to a rousing start offering an intriguing amalgam of motifs drawn from Quentin Tarantino and Russ Meyer. The flash-forward intro at a roadside diner instantly recalls Pulp Fiction (1994) (as does the use of a familiar surf rock song by The Ventures), the psychedelic excess of a gleefully sordid Sixties Hollywood brings fond memories of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), while the pneumatic sex kittens on the run concept is obviously indebted to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1966). In another nod to Meyer, the great Charles Napier appears as a sexist Sheriff and adds a slyer layer to humour that is sometimes too on-the nose (e.g. a reality show parody called “Chicks Chase Chickens” whose tagline runs: “These girls love chasing cock!”).
It may be self-consciously quirky - including a midget highway patrolman (Danny Woodburn) among its kooky characters - but offers engaging ideas including a melancholy lipstick lesbian romance and a hokey metaphysical edge that are entirely writer-director Ron Carlson’s own concoctions. The likeable cast latch onto the screenplay’s florid, philosophical musings on life, death, fate and morality. Sophie Monk (onetime member of ‘Australian Popstars’ girl group: Bardot) exudes real menace, but Anya Lahiri (formerly of UK 1999 Eurovision hopefuls: Precious) offers the standout turn. Going from weak-willed victim to righteous angel, she combines soulfulness and sensuality with steely determination. Co-star Angela Lindvall - who should have gone onto stardom after her dual roles in the delightful CQ (2001) - is an appropriately divine presence. Emerging from a mystic mist in her diaphanous gown she bestows immortality on Rhea via a steamy kiss, a concept Carlson relishes so much he restages it later on. And Woodburn is unexpectedly affecting during his tense standoff with Brooke.
Sadly, Carlson is unable to sustain the energy and saps his own concept of its promise when he strands his vampire girls at a convenience store alongside hapless clerk Dan (Patrick Renna). As the story grows increasingly muddled, Carlson lazily lifts plot points from From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) as an annoying family of tourists are caught in Brooke’s bloodlust. While Rhea lies unconscious, Brooke slaughters her way through the cast and the denouement fails to redeem the tedium of this lengthy lull. Nevertheless, whether down to its fetching leads or the sheer peculiarity of the story, Life Blood is strangely compelling.