Don, a chauffeur, makes a living by driving snotty actors and crew members to and from movie sets. A movie fan himself, Don's dream comes true when he gets to be the chauffeur for Riversa Red - his favorite Scream Queen. With rumors about Riversa's stalker being at the movie's location, Don becomes a body guard as well as her personal driver. When his obsession for the actress meets with his ill temper and willingness to use violence the result is a bloody massacre when Don finally snaps.
Unquestionably, Ryan Nicholson's "Star Vehicle" or rather, "Bleading Lady", has been anticipated by us at Film Bizarro along with plenty of others for some time now. Though, even as he went into production for "Bleading Lady", Nicholson was already warning everyone that this was going to be a very different movie for him and Plotdigger Films. After the unexpected and polarizing flick among fans that is "Hanger"; the comment about the movie being different left a lot of mystery as to how it would turn out. As it stands, "Bleading Lady" is indeed a very different movie but for the better, I say.
By now I'm sure everyone is aware of the story being about Dan Ellis's character, Don Q. Cardini, and how he is a chauffeur for the actors on a horror movie set. In particular, he becomes the personal driver for the stunning red head and legendary Scream Queen, Riversa Red, whom Don is infatuated with. Though Don is a man with a short temper and is more than willing to use violence to solve his problems, and when he finally snaps from being mistreated by cast and crew alike. He decides to make to his own horror movie.
Yes, technically "Bleading Lady" is one of those 'movie-shoots-gone-bad' scenarios that I was just complaining about not to long ago. Here though, it doesn't feel like all the other ones we've seen before. Instead it feels like a new take on the concept. Possibly because the 'movie being made' aspect of the story isn't a focal point but rather a sort of catalyst to the real story of Don and Ms. Red. Or maybe it’s because they aren't simply poking at and ribbing genre movies because they're an easy target. There are some jokes made but for the most part, the movie seems to serve as a bit of commentary regarding horror movies - both new and old, horror fans, filmmakers, and women in horror movies. That very well could be an over analysis though. Then again maybe the story felt like a fresh idea because it isn't about revenge. It's about a person who's not willing to be abused and isn't going to take shit off of anyone - though taken to an extreme.
The movie is also different in another way - it isn't another over-the-top campy sleazy exploitation flick that Nicholson seems to have become known for. In fact I'd say this is his most 'mature' effort since "Torched". The comedy is left to those few and far between moments about the making of a b-movie. Then the most surprising thing is that there isn't much of a focus on the gore either. Don't get into a panic, Nicholson still provides his signature gore 'n sleazy into a few scenes since that's what he loves, along with his fans. So don't fret; there's a great decapitation, jaw removal by crow bar, vicious-bloody stabbings, and plenty more. The movie just doesn't linger on these scenes for too long though, is all.
As far as I'm concerned though, "Bleading Lady" shows Nicholson's ability to tell story with some interesting characters. From the start we know Don doesn't have a problem with killing people, especially when he's angry or fed-up, but the movie doesn't become about him picking people off one by one in slasher fashion. Instead we wait and watch as a movie buff that has the chance to be around a woman he has an obsession over reaches a boiling point, and what happens when that obsessiveness meets a short-temper. Where "Live Feed" was a blood bath, "Gutterballs" was a sleazy slasher, and "Hanger" was an absurd trashfest. "Bleading Lady" is a methodical piece of hate fueled horror; it's a little more grounded in reality than previous efforts. That's what I liked about it though, is that believability mixed in with the over-the-top Plotdigger quality that we're use to. While the gore and nudity maybe drawn back a bit in comparison, it is placed properly throughout the movie that it keeps you entertained while waiting for the inevitable massacre at the end.
But like his other movies, "Bleading Lady" is another slick and good looking low-budget indie horror with some nice production value. Naturally, Nicholson knocks it out of the park when it comes to special effects. Even though it's not the splatterfest that some might be expecting; when Don starts hacking up people with a giant machete or cutting heads off. Your inner gore-fan will be as giddy as a school girl. And what's a Plotdigger film without Dan Ellis? His character maybe nuts and quick draw with violence, but again, Dan brings the charismatic character to life that makes for another memorable performance. Add that in with some hilarious lines as well, and you'll actually find yourself cheering on the crazy bastard. Though not to sell new comer Sindy Faraguna (Riversa Red) short as she too did a phenomenal job, especially towards the end, and I hope this isn't the last we see of her.
With all this talk about how different this movie is from past Plotdigger Films, one thing remains the same and that is "Bleading Lady" is one piece of kick ass independent horror. Certainly it will disappoint some folks since it's not another "Gutterballs" but it's hard to deny the quality that's in "Bleading Lady". It's a solid movie with two characters that you can actual give a damn about, as opposed to waiting for them to be killed or do some killing. Not to mention both characters are backed up by solid performances by Dan and Sindy. Plus "Bleading Lady" features a great and entertaining story of what happens when a person has finally have had enough, especially since we've all been there at least once in our lives. I think Nicholson and Co. have shown that they can do something beyond campy 'sploiters and has me amped up for what they have in store for the future. I'm looking at you "Murder Mack".