Rabid Grannies (Les mémés cannibales) (Stomp Visual) (1988) (NTSC)

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Released 16-May-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Menu Animation & Audio
Introduction-Lloyd Kaufman (President Of Troma)
Audio Commentary-Emmanuel Kervyn (Director)
Featurette-Tour Of Troma Studios
Trailer-Terror Firmer
Featurette-Interview: Dario Argento On The Stendahl Syndrome
Trailer-Troma Comics, Troma Montage
TV Spots
Gallery-Photo
Featurette-Producer Johan Vandewoestijne
Outtakes
Additional Footage-Gory Footage
Featurette-What The Hell Happened To You?
DVD Credits
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 88:29 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Emmanuel Kervyn
Studio
Distributor
Troma Team
Stomp Visual
Starring Catherine Aymerie
Caroline Braeckman
Richard Cotica
Danielle Daven
Patricia Davia
Robert Du Bois
Florine Elslande
Anne-Marie Fox
Franklin Steward Granvel
Paule Herreman
Bobette Jouret
Françoise Lamoureux
Le Pepe
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.95 Music Jean-Bruno Castelain
Pierre-Damien Castelain


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   You know it, the age old story: every year, two rich old grannies hold an annual family reunion, a chance for everyone to catch up. Give gifts. Plot the grannies' demise. Net their wealthy inheritance. But this year is going to be different! All the back stabbing and ill will is going out the window, as a very special package has ended up in the hands of the grannies. A package from the very depths of Hell, guaranteed to bring out the granny's inner demon! Or, actual demon, as both turn into zombie-demons, that proceed to tear their guests limb from limb, feasting on their delicious insides as everyone runs screaming into the night!

Les Mémés Cannibales, or Rabid Grannies in English, comes from the extremely limited Belgian-zombie-grandma genre of film, picked up and distributed by Troma, and is, unfortunately, a complete waste of a premise. This is a flat-out horrible film. A completely transparent bore: at every moment you can tell what the film is trying to do but it lacks the competence to actually pull it off, and subsequently lacks any kind of real ingenuity. It begins with a lengthy sequence introducing the family members, hoping to build their characters and make us care for them, before throwing them all together and making disaster strike. The surviving family members are separated and then mauled by the monsters (who barely resemble grannies after the first couple of "horror" scenes, further defecating on the premise) essentially using every flaccid cliché in the book and depleting any kind of fun that would have been had with this film.

The craft of the people making this film is absolutely stunning. There's no continuity, shots don't lead into each other, there's no rhythm in editing, nor any pacing, you have to strain to tell exactly what is going on. Astonishingly horrendous - it's the kind of thing you see inexperienced student filmmakers make, and then get expelled for. It's beyond amateur, and despite the fact that Troma work in low budget B-grade films, there is still a lot of talent that goes into making those, and making those look like real movies. Rabid Grannies looks like a failed student effort, and for that, it's a waste of a great, disgusting premise.

I advise you to actively avoid this movie, even if the premise interests you. Even gorehounds will find no appeal in this film - its MA rating is a mystery to me, since there's nothing at all here remotely frightening or realistic or sleep-deterring. Also, this film doesn't get better with alcohol, or any substance at all. Just avoid it. Turn away, pretend it never happened. Nothing to see here!

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The video is presented in cropped 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

   Let me start by saying that this is possibly the worst transfer I have ever seen on a DVD, ever. The aspect ratio is the first problem - this film was shot in 2.35:1 and has been cropped. Not panned and scanned. Cropped. Since you're missing a huge portion of the screen, long sequences of the film are completely incoherent because the action is out of view. Characters are often talking to other characters who seemingly don't appear in the scene. Running from zombie grandmas that seemingly aren't there. It's almost unwatchable.

   The video itself is a complete mess, beginning with lesser issues like telecine wobble (most noticeable during the opening titles, one example at 2:11) then proceeding to nasty, nasty film artefacts that make it appear like the film was dragged through the mud, attacked with a cheese grater, then run over several times. It's not even worth listing where some of the more notable defects are - just watching the first 10 minutes of the film, you'll notice that almost no shot is without some kind of horrible scarring. Although there is less of this as the film goes on, it still remains an issue.

   The level of grain is awful, and the film rarely looks sharp, as if much of it was shot out of focus. Black levels are also terrible, with very little detail - if any at all - in the darker scenes, which doesn't help considering the very dark last half of the film. (see 42:37 for a scene with no detail in the top half of the screen, followed by some nasty low level noise at 42:47).

   There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   The audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

   Despite supposedly in stereo, it sounds more like mono-mix put through stereo, with little feeling of depth or surround. There is no surround or subwoofer usage.

   Probably the best thing in the film, the hilariously out-of-place classical theme for Rabid Grannies sounds great as it echoes from the speakers, but doesn't last. The remainder of the music is an unfortunate bore, failing to build up tension in any moment of the film.

   But the worst part about this entire DVD package is the dialogue, which is entirely, awkwardly dubbed. I will not submit you, the reader, to a longwinded diatribe about my hatred for dubbing, but in this case it's important to note that there is no original language track on the DVD, only the English dubbing. Most DVDs that choose to include a dub track at least have the original language with subtitles, but not so with Rabid Grannies. The dubbing isn't bad, for what it is, but every unfortunate stutter and horrible pronunciation kills what pitiful hope the film had of creating an atmosphere, like a big neon sign pointing to the poor sync. The fact that some of the cast did speak English while recording to the film doesn't help matters; further, the dubbing mix is sometimes inaudible to go with unwatchable, with the mix drowning it out and ultimately making the film a very trying experience.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Animated Menus with Audio

   The menus are animated with a cute skeletal hand, backed up with that lovely Rabid Grannies theme song. Essentially, they give false hope that this might be a good film - just watch the DVD menus instead, ok?

Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman

   Much more fun than watching the film, Lloyd's short introduction tells the story of how the two creators of the film wrote to Troma with the script and asked if they'd distribute the film if it was made. It's one of those off-the-wall stories that Lloyd tells so well and gives a nice introduction to the unbearable film.

Commentary by Writer/Director Emmanuel Kervyn

   You get a good sense of what's coming with this commentary when Emmanuel Kervyn advises us not to show the film to children, because once he saw Natural Born Killers and a man had brought his son who cried the whole time and was probably scarred for life. Um.... okay? He then says that he hates DVD commentaries in which filmmakers spend the entire running time explaining what is onscreen, and then proceeds to spend the entire running time doing just that. There are occasional pieces of actual information in between various shout-outs and explanations, but it's not interesting or entertaining at all. It's frustrating and soul-sucking. On the other hand, it will give everyone hope that they too can make a film, no matter how untalented, meandering or insane they are.

Interactive Tour of Troma Studios

   The same interactive tour as seen on many of the Troma DVDs, this is great fun for fans with several sections to explore. Features extreme violence and gratuitous sexual content!

Terror Firmer (0:53)

   A short trailer for what appears to be the ultimate Troma film, Terror Firmer, it features Lloyd Kaufman yelling at his cast and crew with clips of everything from dismemberment to Toxie to Ron Jeremy, complete with thumping music. And nudity! It's sold me on Terror Firmer, that's for sure. Presented in 1.33:1.

Dario Argento on The Stendhal Syndrome (10:45)

   Lloyd Kaufman talks to horror legend Dario Argento not just about his film The Stendhal Syndrome, but a variety of interesting questions. Lloyd isn't shy at all - my favourite is "What was it like directing your daughter in a rape scene?" It's lowbrow, complete with annoying camera movements and "creepy" music, but it's certainly interesting. I don't know what it's doing on this DVD, but it's much more fun than the feature. In Tromaville 1.33:1.

Troma Comics

   Still advertising comics by Troma.

Sgt. Kabukiman Takes Matters into His Own Hands (2:48)

   A PSA about masturbation, by Sgt. Kabukiman. At first just immature, it gets extreme quickly and then reasonably amusing, ending with nudity! All in all: the perfect example of what a DVD extra should be. In 1.33:1.

Hotel Room Fraud PSA (3:48)

   An excerpt from Troma’s Edge TV offering 90 seconds of uncut gratuitous nudity as a solution to those trapped in a hotel room unable to afford the cost of inhouse pornography.

Aroma Du Troma (2:00)

   An extremely violent two minute montage of Troma clips advertising their most infamous films, with all the nudity and gore you can poke a stick at. It ends with a car flying through the air into a boat and exploding.

Autobiography of Lloyd Kaufman (1:16)

   An advertisement for Lloyd's autobiographical book, All I Learnt from Filmmaking I Learnt from The Toxic Avenger. Short and sweet.

Radiation March (0:53)

   An extremely strange, surreal dance clip that’s really a public service announcement against pollution. I have no idea what this is doing on this DVD, aside from being very clearly in the vein of Troma, it’s a bizarre though enjoyable addition to the package.

Family Photo Album

   A photo album of images from the film and production.

The Origin of Rabid Grannies (3:08)

    Executive Producer Johan Vandewoestijne discusses his film, from inception to creation. He's not very articulate, and the sound is awful, taped too loud and giving a lot of nasty echo. Also includes some behind-the-scenes footage, which looks awful. Presented in 1.33:1.

Rabid Outtakes (8:28)

   Outtakes from the film edited to loud Troma music, it'll please fans. Interestingly, the shots shown here are better than those chosen for the film - they're coherent, for one, and fun to watch. This is the section the gorehounds should see, with a better cut of the infamous dinner table head-eating scene. Full of artefacts, as you'd expect, but definitely a fun watch. In 1.33:1.

Rabid Granny Gory Footage

   Selections from the outtakes but edited together, this is almost entirely worthless, as the terrible jarring editing here mirrors that of the film. What's the biggest reason the film doesn't work? It's because the editing is so fast and unwatchable. Regardless of how poor most of the shots are, the poor framing is made worse when you don't get enough time to see what's in it. Best just to watch the outtakes in their entirety.

What the Hell Happened to Your? The Original Rabid Granny (2:25)

   An unfunny, uninteresting interview with the "original rabid granny" that ends with the interviewer beating her to death. Much less entertaining than it sounds, it's cheap and lame. In 1.33:1.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The R1 and R4 are identical except for the same omissions plaguing other Aus Troma releases - the Troma Intelligence Test and Trailers are missing - I'd recommend whichever is cheapest, unless you HAVE to own the two extras.

   However, there is an R0 SE German edition that includes an Ultimate Final Cut, this Troma version, and a Dutch version of the film with subtitles, plus more extras - if you have to own the complete package, get that.

Summary

   Hate hate hate hate hate Rabid Grannies.

   The video and audio are both awful.

   The extras are plentiful and are better than the film.

   This is the worst DVD I've ever come across.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Friday, May 25, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG LH-D6230, using Component output
DisplayBenq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationLG
Speakers B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)

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