JULIE DARLING (1983)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Paul Nicholas,
Maurice Smith

Starring:
Anthony Franciosa ... Harold Wilding
Sybil Danning ... Susan
Isabelle Mejias ... Julie
Paul Hubbard ... Weston

Country: West Germany, Canada
Runtime: 100 min
AKA: Bad Blood
Daughter of Death
 
 

Psychos come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. They can be hulking monsters like Jason, the quiet guy next door like Norman Bates, or the sweet-faced girl next door with super-villain intelligence like Julie, the star of this film.

Julie (played by the incredibly cute Isabelle Mejias, who was in her 20s at the time of filming) plays a spoiled 16 year old that has an unhealthy love for her father Harold (Anthony Franciosa from Tenebre and Death Wish 2). They go duck hunting and spend time together, just the two of them. Her mother is a bit stricter than her father and that's why Julie doesn't like her very much, also her mother hates her pet snake (subtext anyone?). One day, a guy from the local grocery store comes by to drop off some groceries (he looks like he wandered in from a porn movie, so we'll call him Porn Guy) and Julie's mother asks him to get rid of the snake. Julie comes home from a camping trip with her dad and is furious that her mother got rid of the snake. Porn Guy returns the next day with more groceries and more on his mind. He gets the feeling that Julie's mom wants to get vertical with him and begins to rape her. Julie is upstairs and hears the commotion. She grabs her hunting rifle and runs outside to see her mom being raped. She takes aim and is about to shoot Porn Guy but her mother spots her and stops her from pulling the trigger. Suddenly, Porn Guy bangs her mom's head against the tile and kills her. Realizing what he's done, he flees the scene leaving Julie and her mother's corpse behind.

Julie is happier now because she can spend most of her time snuggling with her dad and the rest of the time cutting out her mother from all of their pictures. What she doesn't know is that dear old daddy had a mistress, Susan (ably played by the lovely Sybil Danning from The Howling 2 and Chained Heat), and he plans to marry Susan and adopt her son. The news hits her like a ton of bricks and their first meeting is definitely a cold one. On their first night together as a "family", Julie hears her dad and Susan making love and sneaks down the hallway to watch them. This is the best scene in the film because not only do we get to watch Danning's excellent breasts bob about, but disturbingly enough Julie starts to imagine herself being fucked by her dad! The next morning she realizes she has to get rid of this bitch so she decides to play nice and be friendly with her dopey new stepbrother. Her dad and Susan see how well they are getting along and decide to go into town and leave them playing. During a game of hide and seek, Julie locks her stepbrother in an old fridge and leaves him there to suffocate. We start to see now what a cruel and evil little bitch this darling little Julie really is. Fortunately, dad and Susan return and rescue the boy before it's too late.

Susan sends the boy away to spend time with her grandma, because she is starting to suspect that Julie is a burgeoning serial killer. Meanwhile, Julie continues to play nice, while thinking of ways to get rid of her new stepmom. The dad is oblivious, of course. Through a crazy twist of fate, Julie tracks down the Porn Guy rapist and threatens to expose him to the cops for the murder of her mother unless he does a job for her. She wants him to kill her stepmother, make it look like a robbery, and she'll forget all about him. Porn Guy agrees but has an agenda of his own. Julie, whose mind is like a crazy steel trap, has already thought two steps ahead of him. She invites a friend over on the night that the Porn Guy is supposed to break in and sends her home later in her coat. Porn Guy mistakes her for Julie and kills her under a bridge in the dark. That fact that Julie set up her best friend is chilling enough, but then Porn Guy shows up at the house and we see Julie hiding in a closet watching him. Then Susan returns home and all hell breaks loose. I won't ruin the ending for you, but the film's final 10 minutes are a taut and bloody mess that includes shotgun blasts to the guts and beer bottles in the groin. Plus there is a great twist at the end that redeems Julie's madness, too!

This German-Canadian co-production has been a rare film to find, but the good news is that it will be coming to DVD soon, depending on when you read this. I suggest tracking this film down if you enjoy a good game of chess or just like seeing Sybil Danning's ample bosom heaving. It may start a bit slow, but as soon as Julie's mom gets raped, the film slides into exploitation mode and becomes a clever mix of cat-and-mouse suspense, serial killer drama, and incest sleaze. It also helps that everyone is so believable in their roles, making the thrilling third act not only bloody but very realistic. This isn't your typical horror film, but the honesty that Mejias brings to Julie and the plot, work together to create a truly frightening experience. If Lex Luthor or Jeffery Dahmer were a teenage girl, they would've been Julie.

  - Jose Prendes

 

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