Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives (2010)
By: Sam Bowron on February 6, 2011  | 
QC Cinema | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 91 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Israel Luna
Starring: Krystal Summers, Kelexis Davenport, Willam Belli, Tom Zembrod, Erica Andrews
Screenplay: Israel Luna
Country: USA
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The old saying 'boys will be boys' need not only be applied to the male species when describing Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives, a blatant homage/semi-send up of 70s exploitation movies sporting a title that immediately screams for the attention of an appreciative cult audience. For a film promising tongue-in-cheek defiance, spirited bloodshed and continuous sexual titillation as told through the eyes and actions of an exuberant gang of ass-kicking transvestites one would predict such a combination to be nothing short of a sure-fire success on every conceivable level with a rabid midnight crowd, especially those with a penchant for underground cinema. After all, how often do see a poster with the tagline 'It Takes Balls To Get Revenge'?

Despite the movie's immensely limited appeal (even by exploitation standards), part of me was really looking forward to this low budget effort. However, as my DVD counter passed the ten-minute mark it became painfully obvious that any chance the film had of sustaining my interest or, God forbid, entertaining me, was swiftly eradicated.

The film follows a group of five transvestites (Krystal Summers, Kelexis Davenport, Willam Belli, Erica Andrews, Jenna Skyy) who work at a small town nightclub. During an after shift gathering a pair of young Latin men (Kenny Ochoa and Geraldo Davila) trick three of the girls into meeting them at a disclosed rendezvous for sex, only to result in the setting of a malicious trap that leaves two of the girls dead and another in a comatose state. When the remaining girls discover the atrocity befallen upon their once close-knit group they devise a plan to exact revenge, specifically targeting backwoods hick 'Boner' (Tom Zembrod).

As is the case when assessing the potential merit of any film it is first important to take into account the context in which it was made. This is especially true of a movie like Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives as its intent to emulate a specific period of time in exploitation filmmaking is literally declared from its first frame, and continues through until the last. Ironically, it is within this desperate desire to replicate the magic a bygone era that writer-director Israel Luna fails most profoundly, thus causing every conceivable aspect of the film to derail almost as quickly as it begins. It's as if the cast and crew had only heard of grindhouse cinema rather than actually having had possessed a genuine knowledge and affection for it.

From a storytelling point of view Ticked-Off Trannies is simple enough: a vicious act of violence carried out upon unsuspecting persons, abused persons recuperate and find the strength within to strike back against attackers. However, as the introductory prelude to their violation illustrates, the posse of transvestite women cast as the avenging angels in question are not only frustratingly uninteresting they're also just plain dumb, even for a movie of this type.

For example, the girls' decision to travel out to an abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere and meet up with two glaringly suspicious sleazeballs they only just met at a nightclub, all for the purpose of satisfying an "empty asshole" is a stretch to say the least. Moreover, any dialogue they throw at each other consists almost entirely of insults, either with regard to physical appearance or sexual politics and the result inspires far more groans than it does laughter. Perhaps most problematic though is the fact the girls are never seen wallowing in any degree of torment or despair post-attack, nor do they ever appear particularly heartbroken by the deaths of two of their best friends; an experience most other people would no doubt be shaken to the boneafter having endured. Consequently, the request for an audiences' willingness to find sympathy for these gals is more than just difficult – it's downright demanding.

Needless to say the totality of the performances on show are nothing short of dreadful.

In keeping with its lazily simulated imitation of the 42nd street glory days, the production design of the movie is appropriately cheap and nasty but in no way complimented by the unskilled DV camera work and murky cinematography. Every action set piece and fight sequence is so sluggishly staged and devoid of inspiration that any potential for excitement or applause is done away with quickly, if not killed off altogether. Luna and Co even go so far as to artificially age their movie with projection imperfections such as film grime, missing reels, burning frames and title cards informing the audience of changeovers (much like those evidenced in Rodriguez/Tarantino's Grindhouse) but instead of coming off as charming they simply end up being derivative.

I am by far within the majority of folks who are not a fan of this movie but as hard as I try I can't convince myself that Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives is quality entertainment. Luna no doubt made the film with the best intentions, however their misguided approach to what could have been potentially amusing material is ultimately what sinks this mess deep in muddled mascara.
The movie is presented in its intended 1.77:1 aspect ratio and is perfectly adequate for a digital video production.
Portions of the dialogue in film are at times a struggle to make out, especially due to the blasting soundtrack during the nightclub sequence. That said the 2.0 surround mix is pretty sharp and remains so throughout the majority of the madness.
Extra Features
Not a bad package a low rent cheapie of this type. First up is a commentary with director Israel Luna, producer Toni Miller and stars Krystal Summers and Willam Belli, albeit a pretty yawn-inducing one at that. There's also a 25-minute behind the scenes featurette, the missing 4th reel of the movie (and no, its omission wouldn't have made the movie any better) bloopers and an uber-silly compilation of interviews entitled 'The Nacho & Chuey Show'. It could have been a lot worse.
The Verdict
There's worse out there but not much worse. Don't waste your time.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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