Troma fans rejoice: “Eating Miss Campbell” is the subversive studio at its titillating, taboo, trashy best…and it’s a total blast.
I’ve watched The Toxic Avenger (1984) at least a dozen times. My wife bought me the special edition DVD (with full, uncut head crushing scene) for one of my birthdays several years ago. I’ve also watched Cannibal the Musical (1993) several times and a couple of the Toxie sequels…and that’s pretty much it for me, as far as Troma goes.
I’m aware of Tromeo & Juliet, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Surf Nazis Must Die, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, but if I watched any of those all the way through, I must have been too drunk to remember.
I can’t really claim to be a Troma fan, per se, but I’ve had a sort of grudging respect for Kaufman & Co. ever since “USA Up All Night” with Gilbert Gottfried (RIP) was a thing.
That’s why I was excited to see that Troma Team was back at it with a titillating new film from the UK, pleasantly entitled Eating Miss Campbell (2022).
Written and directed by literal Yorkshire punk Liam Regan (MY BLOODY BANJO), this movie is everything a Troma production should be: Irreverent, gory, and a metric butt-ton of fun.
Even the IMDb synopsis is a gag.
“A vegan-goth high school student falls in love with her new English teacher and develops a problematic taste for human flesh.”
Perfect. That word “problematic” sums up everything this movie stands for and then some. Got a problem with that? Tough titty.
The film opens with an Easter egg (one of many) – fans of the director’s previous film will recognize the main character on a milk carton in the first frame. The whole point of this movie is to make fun of modern American culture, and it wastes no time doing so.
“There are moments in life you never truly forget – like your first school massacre, your first demonic possession, or your first suicide attempt,” the vegan-goth high schooler from the synopsis, Beth (Lyndey Craine, Book of Monsters) cheerfully tells us.
You can almost hear the virtue signaling Stateside Puritans squealing in discomfort.
There aren’t enough trigger warnings in existence to prepare every audience member who may be potentially shocked or offended by this movie.
Along with a cavalcade of bizarre characters who quickly usher in the nonsensical subplot (the Americanization of a British school by way of a mass shooting/suicide contest), we meet Beth’s parents (Charlie Bond, James Hamer-Morton), sort of; an overbearing but disgustingly in love couple who of course just don’t understand her.
Also introduced is the school douchebag Ethan Rembrandt (hilarious Alexander J. Skinner).
Beth, apparently hypnotized by lust for her new English teacher, the titular Miss Campbell (very well fit Lala Barlow), bites off the school douchebag’s index finger and later prays to her for guidance about what to do concerning the jerk.
Back in school and being tormented by bullies named…wait for it: Clarissa, Melissa, and Sabrina (including Michaela Longden from this year’s taut Scotland-filmed thriller When Darkness Falls), Beth loses it again and eats one of the bullies’ ears.
My favorite line in the movie: “Just let Clarissa explain it all.”
Don’t expect anything to make logical sense.
Like so many Troma films before it, Eating Miss Campbell is more about the gags than anything else.
The only reason to invite Ethan over for dinner is to hear him say “Mother of Fuck!” and promptly get a dose of his own date-rape-drug medicine.
The only reason Miss Campbell has for following the school creeper blindly into a dark place is to turn the tables on his rapey ass.
There are plenty of great one-liners (i.e., “The Sound of Music is my favorite movie about Nazis”), less-than-casual mentions of horror classics (Scream 3 and Child’s Play 3 among them), buckets of blood, bitten off naughty bits, multiple stabbings, point-blank gunshots, and…well, cannibalism of course.
And that’s just the first half.
Is it a comedy? A horror flick? A lesbian love story? A social commentary? All and none of the above depending on your perspective.
If you make it past all the trash, there’s a nice reward in the form of a performance by dark rock girl group The Midnight Rose, followed closely by the best set of on-screen knockers since Debi Sue Voorhees gifted the world with Tina in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.
This fourth wall breaking, sexploitating, gut-spilling, murderous, suicidal…dreck is about as much fun as you can expect to have with a low-budget horror movie.
What better pony loaf to premiere at GenreBlast Film Festival? It’s a fucking blast!