Screenwriter David Axe brings his first feature length film, The Theta Girl, to the 2018 Boston Underground Film Festival and it’s a doozy. Billed as an existenploitation film, it’s a sci-fi/horror acid trip of punk rock, gore and some lite porn. (Can porn be lite?)
If you spent your early twenties looking for those rare video store rentals that were literal gems in the rough á la The Doom Generation, then The Theta Girl is your jam. Every few blue moons, a group of people come together and crank out some seriously amazing product on a modest budget and for some cinephiles this is the kind of thing that makes your bleak, black heart cry with joy. Granted, it may not be your own personal brand of awesomeness, but you can still respect and appreciate it.
Director Christopher Bickel impresses with his ability to create a very specific look and feel within the film’s budget constraints. In a gritty, any-town type of place, Gayce (Victoria Elizabeth Donofrio) is a no nonsense gal selling theta; a hallucinogenic drug that connects her, and anyone who takes theta with her, to a supreme being. When questioned why she sells theta, she explains that, “There’s a whole world the human race can’t see and theta just helps us get there.” With her group of friends, who also happen to be members of an all girl punk rock band called The Truth Foundation, they’re hoping to attain a higher, better level of existence. But you can’t have any “sploitation” without some murder and mayhem.
After Gayce finds her friends brutally murdered, she enlists the help of Derek to find the person(s) responsible. Some disemboweling, bludgeoning and castration are all a part of the numerous ways in which people are disposed of in the film. In fact, I feel compelled to tell readers that some viewers have walked out of screenings of The Theta Girl after a particularly gruesome home invasion. So, here’s the what: imagine Greg Araki, David Lynch and Ruggero Deodato brainstormed an 80’s-esque punk rock, sci-fi, gore porn film. Throw in some serious commentary on the Christian church and you’ve got yourself The Theta Girl.
Ultimately, you’re either going to love or hate the film, but hopefully, all will be entertained and appreciate what was accomplished. It’s clear that everyone involved in The Theta Girl approached it with love and 100% commitment and that’s a lot of what separates it from the dozens of other low budget indie films that come out every year. Why do I keep focusing on the budget? Because recently, a film reminded me that a group of highly accomplished people can easily be sidelined by a modest budget. On the flip side of that, a huge budget doesn’t always equal more awesomeness. The Theta Girl is a punk odyssey of hallucinogenic spirituality and gore-tastic revenge fueled by the most powerful of all energies: girl power.
Lisa Fremont | Twitter: @lcfremont