A promisingly nasty chiller-comedy, THE GRANNY becomes less effective the farther it ventures into horror genre territory.
Bitter old Anastasia Gorgoli (Stella Stevens) has borne three children, but only Kelly (Shannon Whirry) cares for her and thanklessly tends to her. The rest of the clan are cretins, and during a Sunday dinner, they poison Anastasia's soup so they can get their hands on their inheritances. What
they don't know is that she has taken a potion, given her by the mysterious Namon Ami (Luca Bercovici), intended to grant her eternal youth; what she doesn't know is that it has been exposed to sunlight, which corrupts its effects. After Anastasia's death, her will (which has been altered to cut
Kelly out) is read and the family holds a reception in Anastasia's house. But Anatasia returns as a zombie with supernatural powers, and proceeds to knock off her greedy children, grandchildren, and in-laws. Albert (Sandy Helberg) is hacked to death; Andrea (Pat Sturges) is devoured by furs come
to life; David (Brent Van Hoffman) is castrated; wrestler grandson Junior (Ryan Bollman) is pulverized; Antoinette (Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst) is possessed and attacks Kelly, but is dispatched by the arriving Namon Ami. He in turn is stabbed by little granddaughter Amy (Samantha Hendricks), now
under the control of Anastasia, who then attacks Kelly. Kelly lets the rays of the rising sun in, destroying Anastasia. But Amy remains under the old woman's spell....
Up until its title character's return from the dead, THE GRANNY has a nicely wicked edge, playing like a horrific variation on GREEDY as Anastasia's loathsome brood bicker, snipe at, and cheat on each other. Writer-director Luca (GHOULIES) Bercovici plays these scenes with the right venomous
spirit, and keeps things just exaggerated enough that the proceedings don't become distasteful. Unfortunately, the characters are so hateful that once they become victims in the second half, there's no way to sympathize with them and thus there are no real scares. Instead, Bercovici plays the
mayhem for gruesome, but also silly and forced, humor.
Stevens (made up to look almost as bad before her zombification as after) appears to be having fun, and Whirry's sympathetic performance gives the story what gravity it has. But the fact that Kelly is the only relative with any true feeling for Anastasia is ignored, as she becomes just another
target of the ghoulish old woman's wrath. Moreover most B-movie fans will be aware of Whirry's association with erotic thrillers, and know that it's just a matter of time before her glasses will come off, her hair will come down, and she'll become a lithe woman of action. (Graphic violence,nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: A promisingly nasty chiller-comedy, THE GRANNY becomes less effective the farther it ventures into horror genre territory. Bitter old Anastasia Gorgoli (Stella Stevens) has borne three children, but only Kelly (Shannon Whirry) cares for her and thanklessl… (more)