Lesbilicious watches Lesbian Vampire Killers so we don’t have to.

// 23 March 2009

Lesbilicious Editor and former F Word blogger Milly Shaw has taken the plunge and reviewed the latest schlock from Horne and Corden, Lesbian Vampire Killers:

I admit I was already prejudiced before I sat down, and that I had a hunch that it might be more of a lad’s-mag boob-fest than a sensitive and subtly nuanced portrayal of lesbianism. But I was in for a surprise.

Lesbian Vampire Killers surprised me by being far far worse than I could ever have imagined. It’s not just a spoofy excuse to leer at faux-lesbians, it’s a cold and deeply unfunny 86 minutes of hatred against women.

Read the full review here.

Comments From You

Anna // Posted 23 March 2009 at 4:03 pm

‘The lesbian vampire queen, who is in fact the only one of the vampires who seems to genuinely be a lesbian rather than just a generally lusty vampire, can only be killed with the sword. It’s a subtle moment, so let’s rephrase: the lesbian curse is only lifted when the lesbian is penetrated by the cock sword.’

Did that remind anyone else terrifyingly of the ‘corrective rape’ post about the situation in SA?

Lynsey Rose // Posted 23 March 2009 at 4:15 pm

Sounds REALLY bad and i hate those two anyway. I called them out for their homphobia on my blog a long time back. WHO finds them funny? I don’t know anyone.

Anna // Posted 23 March 2009 at 4:43 pm

I found them funny, in a laughing at them not with them way – they’re just two stupid, unfunny assholes who are painfully unaware of the fact.

Lara the Second // Posted 23 March 2009 at 5:11 pm

Anna, that is exactly what I thought of when I read that part.

Kez // Posted 23 March 2009 at 5:11 pm

I know I seem to be in a minority on the F Word, but I liked Gavin & Stacey for lots of reasons. I’m really disappointed that these two guys have turned out to be such a let-down, both in this awful-sounding film and in their dire sketch show. James Corden clearly can’t produce anything worth watching without Ruth Jones as co-writer.

Sabre // Posted 23 March 2009 at 5:30 pm

Kez, you’re not alone, I thought Gavin and Stacey was OK. Take away the ‘Stacey’ though and you have something quite disappointing left over. Horne and Corden isn’t particularly funny and this film looks awful! When I told my boyfriend about it he actually thought I was lying, it’s that bad!

Anne Onne // Posted 23 March 2009 at 6:59 pm

Excellent review. I hope anyone considering watching it to see if it’s as bad as they fear decides to rent instead.

I found it interesting that the random review I read in some paper (can’t remember which newspaper, but it wasn’t the Mail, for a change) said that the film was ‘borderline’ misogynistic. Borderline? Because a film in which two supposedly ordinary blokes go around killing lots of sexually voracious women (who happen to be lesbians, I’ll come back to that later) who have gone all crazy is borderline misogynistic? What does a film have to do to fall neatly in the ‘misogyny category? Because from where I’m standing, I see plenty of people willing to say something’s ‘slightly misogynist’ or that some aspects are, and relatively few who are willing to examine this aspect, or confront it head on and say ‘yes, this is misogynistic, and here’s why’. It’s like they want to get a cookie for noticing that there’s obviously something very wrong, but then hedge their bets by saying that it’s not that wrong, really, and it’s sort of funny, and it could concievably be worse so that’s OK.

And I was astounded that they didn’t even mention homophobia! concerning a film about vampires who are all lesbians, where the problem is that they are turning all women gay. That women being lesbians is a curse that can be cured with a phallic object, that women have to be saved by men from non-heteronormative sexuality, and that lesbians can’t be reasoned with and should be killed. Not the direct message they were intending, but the fact that this is seen as entertainment is deeply worrying, and a manifestation of the same homophobia and misogyny which punishes lesbians for not existing to please men, and not caring to pander to their needs.

What adds an extra dimension to this is that the men end up killing an ex-girlfriend (who was supposedly such a ‘bitch’ for dumping a presumably sexist douchebag) particularly nastily. Playing having to kill someone you know because they are a vampire for laughs makes this nothing like Buffy, and everything like a distubring rape and murder fantasy. Which is all the more worrying considering that the tow main men involved were talking about how they knew it was aimed at teenagers and that made it somehow justifiable. Because we should let our teenage boys watch films that glorify violence exclusively against homosexuals, against women, and particularly at women who won’t give you what you want.

And then we wonder about the incidence of rape. Maybe if we didn’t glamorise violence against women, we wouldn’t teach young men that it’s funny and justifiable.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 23 March 2009 at 8:19 pm

In a word this piece of misogynistic garbage is pornography masquerading as ‘entertainment’. All the ingredients are present, namely women depicted as dehumanised sexualised masturbatory objects, plus the obligatory naked woman subjected to male sexual violence and lastly but most importantly, pseudo penis power.

But of course it is just harmless fun since male-centric ‘humour’ is harmless when it is directed at women and even worse when lesbian women are the targets of male hatred and contempt. Unlike racism and homophobia (which apparently means contempt and hatred for homosexuals not lesbians) which is not tolerated or deemed ‘humorous.’

Films such as this one promote the normalisation of male-centered heterosexuality and crudely reinforces the myth there are no lesbian women only women who have not experienced the magical powers (sic) of phallocentricism. This is why so-called ‘corrective rape’ claims to turn lesbian women into heterosexual women, because patriarchy and male supremacy believes phallocentricism is the only definition of what supposedly passes for human sexual expression.

Lesbians are increasingly the target of male hatred and contempt because lesbianism in itself means women who have no sexual interest in men directly challenges male supremacist claims, so they must either be eliminated or else ‘converted’ to phallocentric heterosexuality (male-centered sexuality).

polly styrene // Posted 23 March 2009 at 9:25 pm

The film has been universally panned as an unfunny pile of poo, but the misogyny has been missed by most of the reviews I’ve seen. Which IS surprising to me because the entire concept (Corden & Horne) killing masses of women, sorry vampires is fairly obviously misogynistic.

Fortunately I saved my cash by concluding that from the trailer.

Laura // Posted 23 March 2009 at 9:46 pm

Jennifer Drew – while I agree with much of your analysis, I think it’s pretty clear that racism and homophobia ARE tolerated and sometimes deemed humourous in our society – camp gay men in particular are a popular butt of jokes for a start – and even as a woman in a relationship with a man I see daily examples of racism and homophobia going unchecked.

It simply isn’t necessary to compare white women’s situation to that of ethnic minorities or gay men in order to prove that they suffer discrimination: let’s avoid the ‘oppression olympics’, please.

Kez // Posted 23 March 2009 at 10:12 pm

Jennifer Drew, are you seriously saying racism and homophobia are never tolerated or deemed humorous? Because if so, I can’t help wondering what planet you have been living on. It would appear to be one on which only women experience any oppression worth speaking of. Racism, and to a lesser extent homophobia, are nowadays somewhat less tolerated in the mainstream media than they were in the past. That is about the best you can say. Correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect you are neither black nor a gay man. You might have a different perspective if you were.

Colin // Posted 23 March 2009 at 10:23 pm

Ugh, the film sounds even worse than I’d imagined!

In addition to the rampant misogyny, there’s apparently some unpleasant ‘jokes’ about a gay werewolf in there as well.

George // Posted 24 March 2009 at 12:36 am

Anna – exactly what I was going to say. It really, really isn’t clucking funny.

Amy2 // Posted 24 March 2009 at 1:43 am

Oooh this reminds me of the Buffy season 8 comics. Half the vampire slayers are lesbian including Buffy herself (issue 3). Wtf?!

It gets worse, apparently 26 year old Faith is too ‘over the hill’ to be a slayer, and Xander makes a sexist remark every other speech bubble. I’m sick of the season 8 Buffy comics. It’s as if going off screen and losing women writers has meant they can be as sexist in their little dudely comic circle as desired.

Same with this. Any woman with power has to be a hot lesbian to boot apparently. Power is written and given to females through the eyes of a dude, who attributes the male lusting for ‘sex objects’ with said power.

polly styrene // Posted 24 March 2009 at 8:14 am

I agree that homophobia is tolerated in society – the film seems all round homophobic (see the trailer for the line about ‘being bummed by a big gay werewolf’, and take Chris Moyles (please). The BBC generally, and Horne and Corden’s target audience, seems to think homophobia is hilarious.

Racism is certainly present to a huge extent in society, but expressions of overt racism are usually more condemned in the mainstream media witness Jade Goody’s obituaries, still going on about ‘Shilpa Poppadum’ even though Shilpa Shetty herself clearly isn’t bothered any more. There is certainly plenty of codified racism about – e.g. attacks on muslims, or ‘asylum seekers’.

But as I wrote a bit ago on seeing the trailer for this gobsmackingly awful film, I can hardly imagine an equivalent in which Sue Perkins and Jo Brand go to a village where they have to lift an ancient curse where all ‘their men’ are being stolen by gay male vampires. And kill them with a sword whose handle is modelled to look like labia.

Or indeed Horne and Corden making a film featuring ‘lesbians’ who didn’t look like they’d just escaped from Nuts or Zoo.

Giuseppe // Posted 24 March 2009 at 11:34 am

Even though I was no fan of Jade Goody when did she say anything racist?

Kez // Posted 24 March 2009 at 11:57 am

Giuseppe – Jade was involved in alleged bullying of fellow housemate Shilpa Shetty during Celebrity Big Brother 2007, some of which bullying was alleged to have a racist component.

There has been dispute about whether Jade was deliberately racist, though some of her comments were interpreted as such.

harpymarx // Posted 24 March 2009 at 2:47 pm

Mainstream film reviewers missed (not sure if they did miss it mind you..!!)the misogyny in the appalling film. But in saying that this review in Time Out (Tom Huddleston) wasn’t too bad:

“On one level, ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’ is just pitiful playground humour that assumes that face-pulling, swearing and the occasional flash of boob will compensate for a complete absence of actual jokes. But on another, far more worrying level, it’s the cruel and furtive revenge fantasy of two scorned adolescent nerds against the entire female gender. The women in the film are, almost without exception, manipulative, sexually voracious, man-hating monsters, and it’s hard not to feel queasy as they are dispatched in a

number of unimaginative , brutal ways.

Clearly aware of its own artistic shortcomings, ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’ is aimed squarely at the ‘so bad it’s good’ camp. But with its drab sitcom aesthetic, a script that might have been jotted on the back of a beer mat and a plot that feels overstretched at 86 minutes, this is so bad, it’s just bad.”

Anne Onne // Posted 24 March 2009 at 2:54 pm

I just want to clear up a couple of things:

– Whether someone did or did not take offense, or still takes offense at the comment is not connected to whether it was or wasn’t offensive. If it feeds into a narrative that others and discriminates against a group of people, it’s sexist or homophobic or racist or ableist etc.

– Likewise, whether someone intended to act in a racist way does not have a bearing on whether the comment was offensive the person on the recieving end, or to people in that minority.

Jade got a lot of criticism particularly because she was a working class woman widely criticised for being ‘stupid’ and therefore an all around scapegoat in a way the Royal family have never been for their racist comments. But, what she said was problematic, and that shouldn’t be minimised. We would say that a man using language that could easily be construed as being sexist against a woman in an argument would be seen to have acted in a sexist way, regardless of whether he says he intended to offend the woman on the basis of her sex.

And regardless of whether that particular woman found it sexist at the time, or forgave it afterwards, his comments would have been offensive to women as a whole, by strengthening narratives that paint women as less than.

Oppressive language is oppressive because it feeds into a wider narrative of othering. It doesn’t need to be a slur obviously intended to insult the person, and to acheive that result, to be problematic. That the incident was racist doesn’t mark Ms Goody as a particularly bad person, merely as a normal person who let their privilege get ahead of them as we all do. She was unfairly vilified, but this does not mean that there was nothing problematic about what passed in that incident.

I don’t want to turn this into a thread about past incidents, particularly considering Ms Goody just passed away, rather about how the arguments that ‘I didn’t mean to be offensive’ and ‘but so and so wasn’t offended’ are problematic because they are very often used as convenient excuses for discrimination.

I mean, Horne and Corden are probably going to say that they didn’t intend this film to be homophobic and misogynistic, just a bit of a laugh. And that some lesbians somewhere will find this film funny or won’t find it too offensive. This film doesn’t need to offend every lesbian woman to be homophobic or misogynistic, and Horne and Corden don’t need to have wanted to offend to actually offend.

Saranga // Posted 24 March 2009 at 4:11 pm

Well said Anne. Very nicely explained.

Annika // Posted 24 March 2009 at 4:49 pm

Ditto everything Anne Onne just wrote.

giuseppe // Posted 24 March 2009 at 5:43 pm

Jade Goody was privileged??

Johann Hari has written a great article on this, you should give a read.

Mephit // Posted 24 March 2009 at 9:33 pm

Privileged as in white privilege.

polly styrene // Posted 25 March 2009 at 7:48 am

Sorry for the thread drift, but to clarify, I wasn’t minimising racism (though as I didn’t watch the programme I have no idea how racist Jade Goody was or wasn’t generally, I’d say the quoted remark IS racist, no matter what the intent).

What I was pointing out was the perceived ‘need’ to condemn overt racism in the media (which is not the same as saying there isn’t a lot of covert/codified racism about) and using the Jade Goody incident as an example.

The point was not whether or not the incident was racist, the point is the prominence accorded to it.

Gordon Brown who was going on about how courageous Jade Goody was when she died felt moved to put out a statement condemning her at the time of the Celebrity Big Brother furore. Strangely he doesn’t do the same with his own ministers codified racism on the subject of ‘asylum seekers’.

In fact I’ve never heard Gordon Brown, or anyone else, condemning powerful male figures in the same way, (would he attack Jeremy Clarkson?) so I think it’s more a bit of ‘how right on am I’ posturing than any genuine concern. It’s safe to attack Jade Goody because she’s a working class woman who won’t find many defenders among the influential.

Whereas the BBC not only puts out the misogynist drivel of Horne and Corden’s sketch show, but endlessly defends Chris Moyles homophobic antics.

polly styrene // Posted 25 March 2009 at 9:04 am

Oh and Mephit, Jade Goody wasn’t white actually.

The Johann Hari article is here.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-she-showed-the-brutal-reality-of-britain-1651722.html

Anne Onne // Posted 25 March 2009 at 9:25 am

Whereas the BBC not only puts out the misogynist drivel of Horne and Corden’s sketch show, but endlessly defends Chris Moyles homophobic antics.

This. Right here. I couldn’t believe that the defense of Moyles ran along the lines of ‘But he’s edgy! He’s *irreverent* and that means that everyone knows what they will get when they listen to him, and people do like listening to him!’. So, if I make it clear I’m being ‘irreverent’, that therefore gives me carte blanche to say what I want about people, no matter how offensive or pointless? What do they even think irreverent means? I was under the impression that it meant to be critical of something that is revered or respected, to contrast with the general reverence of that person/object/etc.

Much like the un-PC crowd, the idea of irreverence doesn’t actually mean to be satirical, to level the privileged and the revered and mighty, it is normally used to insult those already the butt of society’s jokes. Since when are women and LGBTQI and POC etc so respected, so revered that being nasty about them is satire? People just hide behind the word ‘irreverent’ when they mean ‘insults everyone not like themselves’. And this is normally used to describe a white, heterosexual man normally more privileged than average.

Your remark about prominence really hit home. They really don’t feel an ownership over male celebrities as much as over female ones. There’s something about the media feeling women like Ms Goody were ours to applaud or boo, to talk about constantly in a way male celebrities aren’t portrayed. They don’t get called money grabbing for selling stories about themselves, they get a layer of respect that female celebrities don’t have, because they’re not constantly being objectified.

I will say that I think Gordon Brown was in India at the time, so I suspect the pressure of being in Ms Shetty’s country of origin at the time of her on-air bullying had something to do with it. I don’t know if it would have happened had Ms. Goody been male, but I can understand his wanting to be diplomatic about something that angered significant amounts of Asian people.

Anne Onne // Posted 25 March 2009 at 9:36 am

Privileged as in able-bodied, cissexual, heterosexual, and in this case, being British. Whilst she was mixed race by descent, the element of racism she would have experienced as someone who many people would ‘read’ as being white, would also have been entirely different to someone who people interpreted as a PoC. She would undoubtedly have experienced racism, as well as learned a lot about racism from her family, but these things affect everybody differently, and it is perfectly possible for one PoC (even if she did identify as one) to be in ignorance of the way another group of PoC are treated.

Kez // Posted 25 March 2009 at 9:51 am

Jade may not have started out as privileged, but by the time of Celebrity Big Brother she was a wealthy and famous young woman (admittedly so was Shilpa Shetty), so in that sense she was privileged. And although I know she was in fact mixed race, I would imagine that most people perceived her as being white.

Ellie // Posted 25 March 2009 at 10:04 am

Ahem. Totally o/t but I wanted to chip in and disagree with Amy2 about her Buffy season 8 analysis. There are exactly 2 lesbian slayers that we know of in an army of over 1000. Buffy had a one night stand with one of these but is not gay. Lots of ‘staright’ women have had same sex experiences, give her a break.

Faith, at 26, would only be considered ‘over the hill’ because most girls get their powers during adolescence and die before they hit their early twenties (and I can’t honestly believe its meant without being pretty tongue in cheek).

And Xander makes sexist comments? Er, where?? I’ve never ever noticed this.

Saranga // Posted 25 March 2009 at 3:24 pm

Yeah, what Ellie said! too tired ot formulate my own answers, sorry.

Lara the Second // Posted 25 March 2009 at 9:56 pm

Ditto to Ellie’s comment – I was so confused by what Amy2 said! We must have been reading different graphic novels!

Amy2 // Posted 25 March 2009 at 10:59 pm

sorry for continuing the OT’ness!

Ellie, Xander’s comments (in issue 3) tend to objectify Buffy & co. A number of speech bubbles are to do with finding the women ‘sexy’ when they’re preparing for combat, combatting, and trying to lead. Sexiness to men is what we constantly need to hear and think about. Buffy is an international jewel thief which ‘is, sidebar incredibly sexy’ to Xander. He’s portrayed constantly as ‘what am I meant to do in this sea of women more powerful than me?’ Instead of a cool guy just getting on with it as in the TV series.

Faith was referenced as over the hill by a Warlock, who explicity referenced how she should have died before she started to ‘sag a bit’. Call it tongue in cheek, i’d call it bringing in sexist humour with no safety net for its huge female audience.

Issue 2 also references how great it is to play around with dirty old men. Generally touches the whole young, hot, i’m- male- get- me- a- tissue- powerful female cliche and didn’t feel female friendly at all. Ooo two bad slayers taking a bath together. (for no reason).

Anyway it’s as if things like this have to have a lesbian vibe. As if to stand a chance at female power you have to be gay and have ‘non – adherent’ qualities. Same with this stupid film.

Tongue in cheek sexism, YAY! Add that to the list of other acceptable ‘sexisms’ …

Ironic, relatable sexism etc!

Meg Mansworth // Posted 25 March 2009 at 11:03 pm

I liked Gavin & Stacey too. However, the recent sketches of Horne and Corden and this subsequent trash-fest of a movie have deeply disappointed me.

“Gordon Brown who was going on about how courageous Jade Goody was when she died felt moved to put out a statement condemning her at the time of the Celebrity Big Brother furore. Strangely he doesn’t do the same with his own ministers codified racism on the subject of ‘asylum seekers’.

In fact I’ve never heard Gordon Brown, or anyone else, condemning powerful male figures in the same way, (would he attack Jeremy Clarkson?) so I think it’s more a bit of ‘how right on am I’ posturing than any genuine concern. It’s safe to attack Jade Goody because she’s a working class woman who won’t find many defenders among the influential.”

Polly styrene, thank you so much for that comment, it’s something I have long agreed with, but you phrased it perfectly and have helped me to clarify my thoughts. Cheers!

JenniferRuth // Posted 26 March 2009 at 10:00 am

Well, call me a humourless feminist but frankly I do think this film is homophobic and sexist. I applaud Milly for sitting though it and not walking out. The “cock sword” sounds like a horrifically homophobic image. The worst of it is that that white, male and straight privilege these two benefit from probably prevents them from even knowing it.

On the subject of comics, I have to agree with Amy2. I gave up on the Buffy comics pretty fast – they are nowhere near the quality of the tv show. They are plainly drawn for the male gaze and the dialogue can be very sexist at times.

I say this as a woman who has over 2,500 comics and is a massive superhero geek. I usually have a high tolerance for sexism in comics (you can’t escape it in the superhero genre – but the explosions and kicking ass keeps me coming back for more) but I guess I just expected more from Buffy so was thoroughly disappointed.

If you want a good comic with a female hero, I recommend Huntress: Year One

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Huntress-Year-One-Ivory-Madison/dp/1848561318

Buy this and I promise that you will not regret it. Written by a woman, art with no “sexy poses” and pro-feminist.

Qubir // Posted 26 March 2009 at 11:12 am

When I first saw the film title in a SciFi magazine before any reviews or trailers I read it as ‘lesbian, vampire killers’ so I was actually quite surprised to find out it was ‘lesbian vampire, killers’.

There is an interesting article in Death Ray (http://www.blackfishpublishing.com/) about the film (although they haven’t got a review to next issue).

The magazine asks one of the writers (Paul Hupfield) what he thinks about the fact that the film will upset ‘real’ lesbians because of the way it portrays them as a sexual object and a threat.

The reply they receive is “Well I can see their point. We wanted teenage boys to ogle some pretty women; we wanted to sell loads of DVDs and make some money. So, I suppose, in that sense it is objectifying women a little bit. But I think when they actually see it they will realize out tongues are firmly in our cheeks…’

It is an interesting article to read because it confirms what you would expect about the film. I don’t really like to comment from reviews but I don’t particularly want to see the film itself.

Kez // Posted 26 March 2009 at 11:32 am

For some reason, I had assumed this film was written by Horne and Corden (maybe because Corden co-wrote Gavin & Stacey) but it seems it was written by some characters called Hupfield and Williams (men, needless to say) who some years ago were “challenged to come up with the most commercial film project and title ever” (thanks, Wikipedia). Horne and Corden seem to have been a later addition.

Given that the reviews have been almost universally dire, it may not turn out to be as much of a money-spinner as they hope. “We wanted teenage boys to ogle some pretty women” – wow. How… stunningly original. It’s not like plenty of other films etc don’t encourage them to do exactly that.

Really hoping my teenage son doesn’t decide he wants to see it. I don’t look forward to the inevitable conversation about why this is a Bad Thing.

Saranga // Posted 26 March 2009 at 11:19 pm

@ Amy2: Thanks for the response. I will go back and re-read the issues with what you have said in mind.

Kez // Posted 6 April 2009 at 10:11 am

I liked the Guardian’s mini-review – it said something like “Will suit people for whom Sex Lives of the Potato Men didn’t contain enough homophobia or violence against women”.

Phyllis Tyne // Posted 14 June 2009 at 1:15 pm

Most of you seem to be missing the point by taking this film too seriously. Aye, it is laddish and rather misogynistic. So was the Borat film. Half the point is it “leave your brain at the door” funny, executed with perfect comic timing. The other point is the Vicky Pollard-esque “ooh my gawd, I can’t believe you just said that”. It’s supposed to be offensive, but in such a stupid way that no-one should take the sentiments expressed sincerely.

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