Tag Archives: Lee Demarbre


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FEATURING: Beatrice Beres, Sam Kellerman, Jade London, Samnang Tep, Mark MacDonald, Phil Caracas, Natalia Moreno

PLOT: A kung fu proficient drag-queen detective investigates a missing dog, which leads to a hidden treasure, an Aztec mummy, and zombies.

Still from enter the drag dragon (2023)

COMMENTS: In a movie so silly that the lead is played consecutively by three different actors—Crunch gets a drag makeover and a whole new look each time she awakens in the hospital after a trauma—it’s hard for even the anti-wokest viewer to take offense. (The film’s disclaimer that it was shot on land stolen from the Algonquin and Kanein’keha:ka Nations may raise some colonist ire, though).

Detective Crunch and roller-skating delivery girl/hot cis chick Jaws live in an abandoned (and haunted) movie theater owned by Fast Buck, where they screen old kung fu flicks 24/7 for training purposes. They are opposed by F.I.S.T. (Fearsome International Spies and Thieves), a cabal of ersatz Bond henchmen led by Gorch. There’s also an ancient Aztec mummy to deal with. The story may traffic in occasional immorality, but not amorality; it’s irreverent, but too goofy and harmless to be offensive, and it’s surprisingly chaste when it comes to sex. The heroes are loyal and determined, and the villains all reap the rewards of their infamy. Take off the drag, lose the dildo wipes, and tone down the gore and nudity, and it’s a wholesome adventure the Hays Office would gladly pass. (Instead, the poster informs us, it was “rated X by an all straight jury.”)

This is, if you haven’t guessed yet, an extremely silly movie. There’s lots of Z-movie gore—the kind where zombies pretend to yank intestines out of their victim as the actor plays dead, or people get telescopes slammed through their eye sockets. There are a handful of cheesy kung fu battles, which actually look like the choreography has been slowed down rather than sped up. There are minor cult cameos from ,  and from pal . We also get musical numbers, poison bosoms, laser hula hoops, a character named Dick Toes, and lots and lots of deliberately lame jokes, many involving dildos or kicks to the nuts. The location manager found some really keen outdoor locations to exploit, with mossy cliffs, waterfalls, and shallow caves, and our heroes even get a skydiving scene (in drag, of course). No one in the large cast can really act, or shows much interest in trying to. In other words, Lee Demarbre (best known for 2001’s similarly campy and transgressive-adjacent Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter) throws everything he can think of at the screen without breaking the bank, having a blast in the process. The results are in the vein, but with less mean-spiritedness or jagged satire. It’s woke trash, to be sure, though perhaps not as woke as it pretends to be. Drag Dragon does fully deliver the trash, however, just like a drag queen delivers a nunchuck dildo upside a bad guy’s head.


“…high camp where comparisons to the work of John Waters are apt, especially when logic is dropped for gags and the performances have an awkward stiltedness to them.”–Addison Wylie, Wylie Writes (contemporaneous)


DIRECTED BY: Lee Demarbre

FEATURING: , Sasha Grey, Jesse Buck, Michael Berryman,

PLOT: An incompetent horror director discovers he can make realistic gore effects by killing

Still from Smash Cut (2009)

his critics and co-workers and using their severed body parts as special effects.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: With Smash Cut, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter auteur Lee Demarbre pulls back the weirdness and takes a step towards the conventional (to the extent that a comedic tribute to Herschel Gordon Lewis’ cheesy gore films, featuring a main character who considers a dead stripper in the trunk of his car to be his muse, can be considered mainstream).  The results are, frankly, a little boring, though camp gorehounds might find some entertainment here.

COMMENTS:  The one sentence plot synopsis tells you all you need to know; there are very few story surprises as Smash Cut unspools.  You can figure out that the diabolical director starts to enjoy killing as his megalomania grows, finds it increasingly difficult to cover his tracks as the bodies pile up, and is eventually thwarted by the clean-cut young heroes.  Since we know what’s coming, it’s crucial that Smash Cut deliver on the gags (especially the weird gags), and unfortunately this is where the movie falls down on the job.  The best parts are the two films-within-the-film, perhaps because they push their deranged style to its limits and stay true to their own madness.  The first is director and future serial killer Abel Whitman’s trashterpiece Terror Toy, featuring a ragdoll clown murdering a busty psychiatrist with an ink pen and one of the worst “dangling eyeball” scenes you’ll ever witness.  The second featurette is a silent art film created as a mousetrap to try to play on the felonious filmmaker’s sense of guilt.  In between those two highlights are some interesting, mildly absurd touches—for example, a “suicide” by harpoon and a minor character who sets army men on fire—and a lot of deliberately unconvincing, campy gore effects (though the scene where Abel extracts eyeballs with a box cutter delivers a significant cringe factor).  The acting is inconsistent, which is not necessarily a problem in the overall spoofy enterprise, but Continue reading CAPSULE: SMASH CUT (2009)


DIRECTED BY: Lee Demarbre

FEATURING: Phil Caracas, Maria Moulton, Murielle Varhelyi

PLOT: The Son of God recruits retired Mexican wrestler “Santos” to help him defeat the

Still from Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)

vampires who are preying on Ottawa’s lesbian population.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST:  It’s defiantly odd, but not consistently funny or entertaining enough to rank among the all-time greats.  If you saw any two-minute stretch of JCVH selected at random, you might be convinced that this was a work of camp genius; but string 45 such segments together, and the comedy value runs a little thin.  It’s a hard movie to peg: in its own way, given its low budget, its a sort of masterpiece, and at the same time it’s sort of a disaster.  I think that if it had offered us one less overlong kung fu battle, and one more song and dance number, it might have had a shot at exalted weirdness. Ultimately, though, just as the tone is more irreverent than blasphemous, the style is more zany than weird, and that should keep it off this particular List.

COMMENTSJesus Christ Vampire Hunter is a stew of pop-cinema leftovers, mixing kung fu with horror, Mexican wrestling and even scraps of blaxploitation, all seasoned with a hint of sacrilege.  Like all peasant cuisine, it will be comfort food for many, but offend some refined palates—it’s definitely an acquired taste.  The technical aspects effectively evoke the feel of late seventies/early eighties exploitation movies, with drab urban cinematography, sound obviously added in post-production, and even a cheesy “waka-waka” funk theme as the heroes cruise down the highway. The action scenes are a problem here: for one thing, there are too many, and they’re too long. They’re just competent enough to remind us that they’re not quite up to snuff; Phil Caracas’ Jesus shows reasonable high-kicking athleticism, but he’s no action hero, and it would have been funnier and more endearing if he’d been clumsier. At any rate, the movie can’t be accused of false advertising. The campy/sacrilegious title scares off the squares and the fundies (though it’s obvious the filmmakers are clearly fans of JC’s philosophy of love and tolerance, if not proponents of his divinity). More to the Continue reading CAPSULE: JESUS CHRIST VAMPIRE HUNTER (2001)