Dir. James Balsamo (2015)
The same dude from From Dusk Till Bong is caught between a vampire cult and the lesbian Mafia, all while trying to get his GED at night school.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I enjoy James Balsamo’s films so much. The movie literally opens with a parody of Addicted to Love (Addicted to Blood) that’s all about the movie, and from the very beginning you know that you’re in for a clever, funny, ridiculous film. Not that Balsamo would dare have his name attached to anything else. Tony Canoni is a millionaire who has gained and lost his fortune as well as his girlfriend, and he’s left with no money and no education. Herschell Gordon Lewis makes an appearance as Tony’s grandfather, who is disappointed in him for never having graduated from high school. He encourages Tony to get his GED by hitting him repeatedly with his cane while threatening to cut him off from his inheritance. This sends Tony on a quest to New York, where he seeks to spend everyone else’s money and finally get his high school diploma. Along the way he runs into vampire lovers, lesbian gangs, and arguably the best high school teacher of all time. The plot is relatively loose, but it all ties together in at least somewhat identifiable ways. There are seemingly random scenes at times, but there’s a narrative flow that does let it all tie together, and it’s slightly less random than Dusk. As Toni progresses through getting his GED to avoid losing his inheritance, many of the scenes involve him asking celebrities and friends for money, with an elaborate reason why he lost the previous money that they had loaned him. It injects a little bit of humor into these unnecessary scenes, but that unfortunately doesn’t avoid the fact that these scenes aren’t particularly necessary. But, again, if you’re watching this film for the humor, which you definitely would be if you chose to watch a Acid Bath film, these scenes will scratch the itch that caused you to check out the movie in the first place. The randomness of the humor can often be out of place, but the absurdity of some of the lines are stellar and great for those with a sense of humor that’s just a little bit “off.” After all, “your GED is your best weapon against lesbian militants.” The production value of this one is a little lower than From Dusk Till Bong, but it retains the same clever sense of humor that drove Balsamo’s later film. It also has some delightful gore and, of course, copious and gratuitous nudity. It also has Spat, the hilarious vampire bat/Muppet from Dusk as well, who is hilarious and amazing. The gags come at breakneck speed, and if you like the type of humor in this film, you’ll likely have to watch it several times to even catch them all because the humor is nonstop. The major downside of the film is the audio mixing, which sounds echoey and is difficult to understand at times. By the same token, this film’s budget was 80k, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the half a million that Dusk took to make. This is a film that shows a bit of Balsamo’s growing pains, but he still manages to get across his unique brand of humor and dumps some of the batshit insanity that is in his brain onto the screen. You always know what you’re getting into with an Acid Bath film, and this one is no different. It’s funny, entertaining, and interesting at times, but it does lack some of the production value that you’ll find from other films and even Balsamo’s later works. The audio could use some work, the narrative structure could use some refinement, and there are many scenes that would have been better off being left on the cutting room floor. But the bones are there, and Balsamo’s sense of humor is intact and as effective as ever. It’s difficult to throw too much criticism at the film, because if you’re watching one of these movies you more than likely are looking for exactly what it offers: juvenile humor, lots of tits, and a story that you can at least follow all the way through. Bite School delivers all of that in spades, and you can’t ask for much more than that. Who this movie is for: Acid bath devotees, B-movie fans, Keytar enthusiasts Bottom line: As with the rest of Balsamo’s filmography, he was shooting for “bad movie with charm,” and he knocks that goal right out of the park. Tony Canoni is a fun character, and I will watch anything featuring the adorable and hilarious Spat. While the film could definitely use some improvements, and would more than likely be much better if Balsamo remade it with his more recent technical prowess, it’s fun, entertaining, and genuinely funny. Worth a watch, check it out if you get the chance.