'Big Easy Queens' Ain't Riding on a Streetcar Named Desire
Fab phenoms linger around a French Quarter gang war, talking about their loves and practicing some voodoo.
Big Easy Queens is currently playing on the festival circuit.
There are a few contradictions about the glam-horror-musical Big Easy Queens, which aren’t exactly detrimental as much as they are oddities. First and foremost, the film is set in the New Orleans underworld of the famous French Quarter but was primarily shot in Florida. Second, it’s described as horror but is mostly a melodrama-noir with little blood and guts. Taken together, these elements could be seen as disappointments, give or take. I see them as celebrations that go far and above to make a decent bowl of gumbo out of some cans of grocery-bought soup.
A talkie most assuredly, Big Easy Queens would be a confusing mess without its great length of banter and charmingly cute dialogue. Sure, the conversations border on grating at times, going on and on without capturing an ounce of the scares or action expected, but it would be a grave disservice to skip through or miss a moment. The three main characters, all performed in fabulously proud drag, discuss gang wars and vengeance between one another, with Southern camp and nightclub style. For a New Orleanian, watching these conversations take place between the glitz, glitter, and glamour of a French Quarter that’s ever so hyper-heightened and all too unreal, is revelatory and fun. Is this how people see the city as being like, or rather how they’d prefer it to be? Heck, it’s how I’d prefer it to be.
Love affairs, territory killings, mysterious murders, and a little zombie magic make up the story of Minnie and Mimi, the estranged sisters who must contend with a cloaked figure and the might of Poodles Makenzie, a queen of her gang. Jennifer McClain plays Poodles with heavy spunk and true dedication to the bit, making sure everyone grasps the sheer brightness of her power and personality. McClain is the central source of joy of Big Easy Queens, playing up a fantasy of New Orleans and the glam production of the movie with devilish glints in her eyes and a smile that indicates how much of a pleasure this is for her.
However amusing, Big Easy Queens doesn’t live up to the implications of its chosen genre. There’s some blood that gets spewed. There’s a small sequence involving some voodoo. There is a machine gun-decked bra that blows away a bad guy, but it’s a fleeting appearance. All in all, the film is more talking than walking. Still, this is not what I would call disappointing. Instead, I’d treat its occasional splatters of chills and thrills as delicate spices added to a big boil. Talking, talking, then GORE! Talking, talking, then VOODOO! It has just enough flavor to be a tasty dish.
Throw me something good, mister. Big Easy Queens? That’ll do. 3/5
Sincerely Yours in Moviegoing,
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