She brought the pills. He brought the kills.
The Theta Girl (2017), directed by Christopher Bickel and written by David Axe, is easily the best horror film of 2017. And yes, that’s the year of Get Out and Mother. This indie slasher stars Victoria Elizabeth Donofrio as Gayce, a badass bitch, Shane Silman as Brother Marcus, a sociopathic churchgoer, and Darelle D. Dove as Derrick, Gayce’s partner in crime.
While Marcus proselytizes the town, enlisting more members for his cult, Gayce contributes to the local economy by slinging Theta, a hallucinogenic drug. With innovative kills, tasteful gangbangs, and punk music, this film delivers a mindfuck you didn’t know you needed.
What’s so refreshing about The Theta Girl is it gives us a much-needed break from the slew of big-budget sequels made for the sole purpose of helping horror directors pay off their student loans. The Theta Girl was made with a small budget, but it delivers more scares than the entire SAW torture-porn franchise. The Theta Girl subverts traditional horror tropes to deliver a genre-bending masterpiece that will be discussed for years to come.
In a very Tyler Durden way, the filmmakers warn you in The Theta Girl Trailer, “If you are disturbed or upset by depictions of terrifying graphic violence, hallucinogenic drug use, punk rock orgies, and nihilistic existentialism, you should NOT see The Theta Girl. If, on the other hand, you enjoy such depictions of frank, graphic, adult material … this is the film for you.”
Since I’m a nihilist with existential ennui who isn’t disturbed by fictional violence, I loved this film. As some of you know from my feminist horror column The Final Girl, I’m not a fan of misogynistic horror that subjugates women as objects for straight, white males to fuck. I was really impressed by the decisions Chris and David made to ensure this film was not created through the lens of the heteronormative male gaze.
What the hell do I mean? I mean that The Theta Girl does not randomly show female tits and ass, as so many slashers do when they are more POV-porn than horror. By contrast, The Theta Girl features intelligent, badass women and shows male nudity alongside female nudity. It’s almost as if the creators of this indie hit think women are equal to men. While that’s not a common ideology in the real world, The Theta Girl creates a new world, a better one, where the drugs are free-flowing and all orgies are created equal.
Our hero, Gayce, picture her in fishnet stockings, a plaid skirt, a fuzzy jacket, and a six-shooter aimed at your face. Picture a female horror character not arbitrarily sexualized, who has actual agency, and doesn’t have to rely on some ad hoc boyfriend. Besides, who needs a boyfriend? Haven’t you seen Scream?
Picture the men in the film like Brother Bobby (Aaron Blomberg) being big and tough, but nowhere near as courageous as punk band leader singer Yolanda (Quinn Deogracias). One of the best scenes in the film features the all-female rock band, Truth Foundation, with a sea of fans cheering them on as the Theta drug kicks in. I heard there’s also a ton of hot extras in that scene.
Filmed in the small town of Columbia, South Carolina, the film features local punk bands, cops, bars, and churches that the community can recognize. Our hero, Gayce, seems to have everything the modern woman needs, guns, drugs, and a badass partner who’s a cross between Malcolm X and Samuel L. Jackson. Only there’s just one small problem.
Gayce’s friends keep getting slaughtered.
First rule of advertising, you can’t have repeat customers if the customers are dead. Gayce and Derrell set out to solve the mystery as some lunatic slaughters enough people to qualify as a serial killer.
The Theta Girl is an eerie world where drugs provide a mind-bending, religious experience while making the characters more vulnerable to attack. If you’ve ever gotten into a drunken bar fight, just imagine fighting off an armed serial killer when the walls, floors, and ceilings have all switched, as DMT, LSD, and MDMA flood your system.
Will Gayce find the killer in time to save the innocent, yet extremely high victims? How long can you stare at a man’s penis without it damaging your masculinity? What’s it like to watch a gangbang that’s more tasteful than Picasso’s personal life? Watch The Theta Girl to find out.
Find local screenings here.