The world of horror is vast. With so many films across the spectrum of budget, studio involvement, quality, availability, and, above all else, pure scare-the-living-shit-out-of-you-ness, it helps to have trained professionals parse through some of the older and/or lesser-known offerings. That's where Team Fangrrls comes in with Deep Cuts, our series dedicated to bringing the hidden gems of horror out of the vault and into your nightmares. Today we're examining fun feminist horror-comedy Chastity Bites.
They say that in horror movies, the virgin is the only one guaranteed to live to the end of the film, but that's not exactly the case when the villain of the story preys on the purest among you. In 2013, a little indie horror-comedy decided to take that trope on head first.
Chastity Bites was the brainchild of writer/producer Lotti Pharriss Knowles and her husband, director John V. Knowles. In its 90 minute runtime, the film takes on mean girls, teen sexuality, a surprising amount of discussion of second-wave feminist theory, and, of course, an immortal, psychotic serial murderer using Red State politics as a tool in her centuries-long quest to murder countless virgins the world over.
What? Is that last part not normal?
Oh yes, in the world of this film, abstinence-only sex education isn’t just bad for teen pregnancy rates and overall teen sexual awareness and health, it’s actually the work of devil worship.
And just who is this evil sex ed teacher? Why just the 400+ years old Blood Countess herself, Elizabeth Bathory.
You see, Liz Batho (as she now prefers to be called) has been run out of her native country of Hungary for an undisclosed reason, but probably because of all the murder. So now she’s here in the United States taking advantage of conservative values to meet her five virgins per Equinox quota. Why does she need five virgins? Because Liz, much like the legends tell, murders them in a Satanic ritual, drains them of their blood, and bathes in it to keep herself young and beautiful despite her advanced centuries. You know, like you do.
The movie manages to touch on topics of teen sexuality—both from the “virginity is sacred and should be protected at all costs” and “teen girls who are too open to sex are just as bad as those not open to it at all” perspectives—middle-aged vanity, LGBT issues, racism, and others I’m certain I’m missing, all while also managing to be pretty damn hilarious in all its gruesome gore (mostly blood, light on the viscera).
The key, of course, is not just a good story, but a really fun cast as well. Louise Griffiths adds her charm and seductive bearing to the role of Liz Batho, while Warehouse 13’s Allison Scagliotti takes on the witty, sarcastic, and headstrong Leah. Genre fans will also find plenty of familiar faces elsewhere, like in the head mean girl, played by Amy Okuda (The Good Place, The Guild), and her underling played by The 100’s Lindsey Morgan.
This movie really only made the rounds at festivals here in the US, but like most things, it is available to stream all over the internets. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s campy as hell, and who doesn’t like a little fun, feminism, and a whole lot of virgin sacrifice on a Saturday night?