JULIE DARLING is probably my all time favorite “bad child” movie. This thing is sleazy as hell. It has Electra complexes, attempted rape, foiled rape, successful accidental killing of a mother in front of her child, murder of a child, imagined incest on the part of the young daughter, attempted murder and hired rape of step-mother, and a young boy being purposefully locked in a fridge. After all of this shit there is the jaw dropping shocker of a fucked up ending that you won’t even fucking believe. The whole film has an ominous feel to it. The bad seed Julie is always a bitch in the whole flick. The locations have the Cronenbergian (is that a word…never mind, it is now) not quite America feel to the “American” city.
Julie’s mom is ignored at home by her husband who is a doctor. Luckily enough her suffering is to be brief as far as the viewer is concerned. The dashing grocery delivery person has filled in twice for the regular guy and decides its time to slip her the hard salami whether she wants the delivery or not. Julie hears her mom fighting off her brutal would be rapist and gets her gun and draws aim on him. Then watches as she realizes mom is the source of competition with dad so she sits back waiting for the rape to happen and ooops mom gets killed. It’s as bad as getting a “C” for Julie. She’s not that torn up because momma bitch was going to have her hateful ass carted off to boarding school anyway and got rid of her pet snake so fuck off and die mom. Julie capitalizes on this and not only gets a mom free life but gets out of boarding school too (fuck yeah fair trade)! And to top it off, in order to rid herself of any responsibility she tells police she did not get a good look at her mother’s killer.
Julie is an evil child. All of her motivations are to keep her father exclusively to herself–in all ways emotionally and even sexually! Though her father has no such aspirations besides spoiling his bitchy daughter rotten, he would much rather be fucking his mistress and soon to be wife Susan. Julie is a creature of pure jealousy. She is so devoid of empathy for others that she locks Susan’s son in an abandoned fridge during hide and go seek. There’s a fucking reason those things need their doors taken off!
It just keeps getting darker and darker. Julie goes so far as to track down her mother’s would be rapist and killer and has set up an elaborate plan so everything takes care of itself and she is a hero. One of the wackiest moments is when she hires Weston (Paul Hubbard-whose scenes from A CHRISTMAS STORY were left on the cutting room floor the same year this came out!) to off her new stepmother by promising him money and telling him “you can rape her all you want before you kill her.” Even after all of this the last twenty minutes of this movie has to be seen to be believed.
JULIE DARLING is well enough shot, well enough acted, well enough written and well enough paced. It is a movie of middling to upper quality for the time but its subject matter pulls it back down to the gutters of the grind house gems. It is full of moments where the viewer will think “did that just fucking happen?” and the answer will be yes. It did just happen. The only critique I have is the clownish and hammy acting from the two girls Julie (Isabelle Mejias) and Michelle (Natascha Rybakowski). Anthony Franciosa (TENEBRE) and Sybil Danning (HOWLING II) give solid performances with Sybil shows off more than just her acting talents. It is not hard to believe that this is by the same man who wrote BOARDING SCHOOL and wrote and directed CHAINED HEAT.
JULIE DARLING is a Code Red DVD release that has interviews with Sybil Danning and Isabelle Mejias. Mejias absolutely savages the film; having not seen it until recently and thanks the viewer for watching “if they have absolutely nothing else to do” at the time they watch the film! The DVD comes with an allotment of Code Red Releasing trailers most notably MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS and DEVIL’S EXPRESS which look like a hoot.