Calling Nurse Meow: Indie Film Friday
Dir. Kitty Kiss, Joe Cash, & Jason Impey (2022)
Nurse Meow headlines a vicious and hilarious anthology that spans genres, starring the whole cast of Screaming Screening characters.
CAUTION : MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Debuting September 24th at Dead Northern Film Festival in York, England, Calling Nurse Meow is the fourth film from Screaming Screening I’ve gotten a chance to watch. I reviewed Carnal Monsters, and I checked out two of their shorts as well. They’re known for their entertaining and extremely low-budget indie films, and this one is their biggest budget feature yet (and still somehow only cost three grand to make). The film relies largely on minimal production design, but what’s our motto here at THR? Lack of money isn’t a critique! Interestingly enough, Nurse Meow follows exactly the path that I think more indie filmmakers should follow: if you want to make a feature film but you don’t have enough of an idea to fill up the hour-and-a-half-or-so runtime, make an anthology film!
Calling Nurse Meow is, indeed, a meowthology film, telling several tales that involve the interaction between the titular Nurse Meow and various other creatures and storylines. There’s something intriguing about a heroine (and often anti-heroine) who only meows as a form of conversation, but Kitty Kiss is somehow understood despite her horrible skills as a conversationalist. Mixed with the stellar and creepy score, there are some genuine moments of terror throughout the shorts, along with some great moments of gore (and even a psychosexual torture porn sequence). Kiss can be scary, and there’s something genuinely unsettling about a humanoid cat playing in and licking up blood…
As with most anthology films, some of the shorts work better than others, and like most indie films, there are plenty of callback characters from Screaming Screening’s other films. They all populate within this make-believe world that seems to exist as the next-town-over from Tromaville, so many of the characters are ones that you’ve run into before if you’re familiar with Joe Cash’s SS filmography. There’s a lot of clever humor mixed in with the typical juvenile fare, including a hilarious plug for Carnal Monsters (which you can buy right from Amazon, as the film makes sure to tell us.) While I can honestly say that Dr. Dilf (Ian Sen) is one of the dumbest characters in cinematic history, he’s also fascinating and a somehow-compelling character that I find myself wanting to see more from. I enjoyed Carnal Monsters, but Calling Nurse Meow is a much more enjoyable experience, and it feels like the action is tightly paced while avoiding a lot of the wandering around from that previous effort.
Nurse Meow is an adorable character, one that could easily become the Screaming Screening mascot in much the way Toxie has for Troma. She’s funny, sexy, and endearing, and she’s the perfect character to base a movie like this around. While the film does occasionally have an amateurish flair, the fact that they got all of this done for $3000 is utterly insane. The camerawork is fantastic, the direction is more than competent, and the actors fit every role like a glove. You can’t ask for a whole lot more than what you have with Calling Nurse Meow, at least not for a film with this conceit. I can’t wait to see more from Cash and Screaming Screening, and I’m delighted to get to watch this one before it officially releases on September 24th.
Who this movie is for: Indie film lovers; Troma fans; Feline enthusiasts
Bottom line: Anthology films are hands-down the best way to do no-budget indie horror, and Calling Nurse Meow knocks the format out of the park. It’s heading to festivals now, so anyone interested (especially those in the UK) will have ample opportunity to give it a look-see. It’s genuinely funny and scary at times, exuding a creepiness when its demanded and a corniness when that fits the short better. It’s a highly enjoyable film, one that I expect to see great things about as it heads into the festival circuit.