Ticked off Trannies with Knives is about a group of transwomen who are violently beaten and left for dead than proceed to exact revenge on those who harmed them. GLAAD has been very vocal about their disapproval of “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.” They feel the title is a slur against transpeople, especially since the film is directed and produced by a straight man, Israel Luna. The transgender community seems to be split on whether or not to be offended by the title of the film. To try and explain Luna’s intentions, every Tribeca screening of “Ticked off Trannies” comes with a pamphlet. I will summarize it, basically Luna says that hate crimes against transpeople have been on the rise and it makes him sad and upset. As a filmmaker and huge fan of 70’s blacksploitation and grindhouse films, he used a film as his way of expressing his outrage at hate crimes. He also expresses frustration that the LGBT community generally “reaches out” to their attackers to try to understand their actions and to “respond to hate with love.” Luna also feels that the transcommunity is the most “underrepresented and most misunderstood.” He ends the paragraph with “Is fighting violence with violence a good idea? Who knows – but then again, watching the characters of my movie fight back sure made me feel better.”
I decided to see the movie because I do agree with Luna on some level. The violence against the transcommunity is so prevalent and I would like to see queers bash back for once. While I may not think the title is the greatest, it is a throw back to B movies, such as “Snakes on a Plane” and “Foxxy Brown.” Also, the cast of the movie is made up of transwomen (and one drag queen.) So I gave it a shot.
I expected it to draw some elements of “The Brave One,” starring Jodie Foster. I expected the movie would open up with maybe a 10 minute scene of violence against the girls and then they would wreck havoc for the rest of the movie. I was so wrong. The movie was 110 minutes long, the girls got their asses violently beaten and terrorized for at least half of the film. The violence was very real looking and extremely explicit, as in, I couldn’t eat afterwards, it was so disgustingly graphic. Think blood, hair and gore on a baseball bat. Also, (SPOILER ALERT) two of the girls get killed, not just beaten and left for dead. They die and their best friends, the other girls, seem pretty ambivalent about their deaths.
The revenge that Luna said he was going to use to empower the transcommunity? That lasted about 15-20 minutes and the girls still got stabbed and punched as they were exacting their revenge. Like I said before, I don’t think the LGBT community has come to a consensus on whether or not the title of this film is truly offensive, but I would say that GLAAD jumped this gun. Watching this movie and then protesting it, would have been the way to go. It’s more of a wet dream for trans haters than it is a revenge fantasy.
Also, the acting was horrible. The main character, Bubbles Cliquot, played by Krystal Summers, is beautiful. So beautiful that you can almost ignore how wooden and unbelievable her acting is. Kelexis Davenport, who plays Pinky La’Trimm, is equally as bad as Summers. William Belli, who plays Rachel Slurr, is alternately awful and funny. He is the only one of the actors that is a drag queen instead of trans and I think that his part should have been given to Jenna Skky. The best acting, by far, came from Jenna Skky, who plays “Tipper Sommore,” unfortunately Skky only appears in the first 10 minutes of the film. Erica Andrews has an equally as short part as “Emma Grashun.” There, now you know all the names of the girls, which is really the most entertaining part of the film. That and Summer’s body. She’s gorgeous, but watching her get stalked repeatedly hit in the head, stabbed and violated in every way imaginable isn’t my idea of a good time. I hope it’s not yours either. I can’t imagine how this film even made it into the festival.