Hard to Die (1990)

Hard to Die is marketed as a female Die Hard. In a time where gender reversal reboots are gaining popularity, a female Die Hard sounds like a brilliant idea. After all Die Hard is one of the greatest action movies of all time. However, calling this a female Die Hard is so inaccurate you might as well call it a female Shrek.

Released in 1990, Hard to Die is a slasher, action, thriller about a group of women working overtime at their lingerie office? Boxes need to be moved and so they work late into the night to move them boxes. However there is a creepy janitor guy wandering around mysteriously (or just working), and one by one they get attacked. Can they survive? Who is the killer? What’s stopping them from just leaving?

The background of this film is almost as mad as the plot. Director Jim Wynorski made a film called “Sorority House Massacre 2” which, as the name suggests, is about a massacre that takes place in a sorority house (possibly for the second time). This film was made for Julie Corman, wife of legendary B Movie maker Roger Corman and when Roger saw the flick he wanted Jim to do it again for him. This time instead of a Sorority House, he had access to a few office based sets which was used for another one of his films, “Corporate Affairs”.

The following is a quote from the poor guy hired to write the script, Mark Thomas McGee:

“This change in locale presented Jim and I with a problem—how to get the women out of their clothes and into their underwear. (Try to imagine someone like David Lean or William Wyler wrestling with a dilemma like this.) Not that women would ever run around in their under- wear regardless of the location, but it was a little easier to swallow when they were in a sorority house.”

The sequence where these ladies become so excited when they discover these frilly and sexy undergarments (and just can’t wait to try them on) is as ridiculous and infantile as anything you can imagine. But half-naked women is just about all that a film like this has to offer.”

McGee, Mark Thomas (2016). Katzman, Nicholson and Corman – Shaping Hollywood’s Future. Bear Manor Media. pp. 249–250.

As you can tell from the poster, the allure of the film is not only is it a action movie, you’ll also see boobs. The poor hard working women get so dirty moving boxes around that they all need to take showers and put on clean clothes. But the only clean clothes is lingerie. My eyes rolled so far back in my head I could see down my throat. To top off the absolute ridiculousness of this scenario, you are shown each of the ladies, taking it in turns to shower. About 10% of this movie is women showering. It just feels like it was made by people who didn’t have the nerve to make a full porno. How dare you, I don’t make porn I am an artist!

Orville Ketchum

As well as remaking the premise of Sorority House Massacre 2, they also used the same cast. The female actors played different roles however Peter Spellos played Orville Ketchum the janitor (a mixture of the terminator and Treeger from Friends) in both. To explain this they basically played 5 minutes of clips from Sorority House Massacre 2, turning this from a remake into some sort of bizarre shared universe. The film took place in Los Angeles but the lead character Dawn had an incredibly strong Yorkshire accent which added to the strangeness of the film.

Oh, there is also a voodoo element. Some ghost in a box meant for some stuffy professor makes its way to the wrong address. No one seems that concerned about this.

Looking for a Positive

I don’t want this blog to be a series of posts of me shitting on movies so I do try my best to look for and highlight anything I think is a positive. Shower praise in the right place. With this film, I just have no idea. Strong female characters seem like the obvious but these women are beyond useless. In Die Hard, John McClane has to rescue the hostages while remaining undetected. He can’t leave as it puts a lot of lives in jeopardy, including that of his wife. In this film, there is no reason any of them can’t leave. In fact, after two of the characters die they order a pizza.

Would I recommend this film?

This film was made for no money, by people who knew what they were doing was shit, but thought tits and guns is enough to make some sap pay money for it. These types of B Movies aren’t branded as in the same league as diasterpieces such as The Room and Mac and Me because it lacks sincerity. Those are movies that tried their best and failed badly whereas this film didn’t try. Because of that it isn’t as enjoyable as other bad movies. You may get lured into thinking it sounds quite sexy but after they put on their lingerie, they get quite dirty (literally covered in dirt, not the naughty kind) and start crying. There is nothing sexy about this film. It sells you sexy action and gives you mediocre admin.

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