Fans of SOV horror will rejoice with the Blu-ray release of Donald Farmer’s 1995 lesbian vampire classic Red Lips. This trashy erotic epic follows recently converted vampire Caroline whose lust for blood is met with an unsatiable desire for love no matter the cost. With an unbelievable cast starring Ghetty Chasun, Michelle Bauer, and Kitten Natividad this SOV classic is an ambitious horror flick that launched the 90’s erotic horror boom. The Blu-ray from Saturn's Core and Vinegar Syndrome features a respectable A/V package and plenty of special features for fans to relish. For Fans Only.
“It’s given me a strange appetite.”
Cash-strapped twenty-something Caroline (Ghetty Chasun, Gorotica) is donating blood to make ends meet. The shady doctor (Mandy Leigh, Bloodscent) at the clinic signs her up for an experimental drug trial which immediately turns the young drifter into a pale-faced, blood-sucking vampire. She busts onto the busy NYC streets confused and ready to feed. After sucking face with a few hookers, Caroline runs into the newly single Lisa (Michelle Bauer, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) who just broke up with her buxom girlfriend Amy (Kitten Natividad, Stiff Competition). Lisa takes pity on Caroline and the two fall madly in love. Can the lusty vamp sustain herself on random bodies without harming her true love?
Red Lips is a trashy lesbian vampire love story soaked in grime and sex. Ghetty’s performance is magnetic, keeping us focused on her trauma and lust as the bodies hit the floor. She really commits to the snarling noises when feeding on a victim! Supporting performances from the list of cult actors are all memorable, rewindable, and quotable. Danny Fendley as Tony the pimp is the best actor here and it's funny how weirdly his character is framed during his few scenes. It’s top-notch work, but you can’t see anything.
Director Donald Farmer isn’t fooling anyone here pointing his unwavering VHS camera at the copious amounts of nude bodies flooding the feature. Coverage is never an issue. Thankfully we’re given some great emotional hooks to hang our hats in between the sustained shower scenes. Red Lips doesn’t shy away from nudity or sexuality but never lingers longer than it should. A fact that some SOV erotic horror flicks could’ve learned from before hitting the video store shelves.
Where the film falters is in the repetitive nature of Caroline’s exploits. After finding a random victim she seduces them, drinks their blood, and then runs off to Lisa to wallow in her shame of being a vampire. Rinse and Repeat. Thankfully Farmer gives us more emotional connections than we bargained for in the second half of the film utilizing Ghetty’s performance to keep the audience watching.
Utilizing large settings and spaces in NYC, Red Lips feels bigger than a typical SOV horror feature. Gore effects are surprisingly good with kill scenes sporting arterial squirts, believable makeup appliances, and Caroline’s shockingly good transformation when she feeds. Credited with launching the lesbian vampire boom of the 1990s, this is a damn good SOV feature well worth its cult status.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Red Lips arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Saturn’s Core and Vinegar Syndrome. The film is pressed onto a Region Free BD-25 disc housed in a transparent keepcase with reversible artwork. The disc opens with the Saturn’s Core logo before landing on the Main Menu screen with typical navigation options adjacent to scenes from the film.
The AVC encoded 1080p transfer for Red Lips is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio transferred from an original VHS source tape. As expected for an SOV feature the technical limitations are evident. Focus issues, bland coloring, noise, static, and all matter of analog fuzz are present here. The HD image is washed out not unlike the mom jeans worn by the actresses. Compared to other Saturn’s Core releases this one shows the most analog patina. For my money, this is a huge compliment.
Red Lips arrives with a single DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track that serves the feature well given the technical limitations of the recording equipment used. Hiss, fuzz, and pops are frequent but expected for the source material. Exchanges are muddy at times but clearer in medium and close-up shots. Intense rock riffs occupy most scenes giving the feature some much needed substance between the shower scenes.
I am consistently impressed with the features on these Saturn’s Core discs. Here we’re treated to enough new and archival material to please fans of the film. Start with the commentary track before moving through the featurettes.
Red Lips combines the appeal of a lesbian softcore feature with the fun of a zero budget horror flick. Fans of sleazy fare will feel at home with the SOV element adding an exciting tension to the feature. Saturn’s Core revives the cult favorite with plenty of archival special features and an HD transfer that never strays from the VHS source quality. For Fans Only.