1996’s Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? was a bad movie. It was a “so bad, it’s good” movie! When we, the die-hard fans of camp-tastic Lifetime Originals movies, learned that James Franco was remaking the classic film, I think we all anticipated a trashy homage to the original. Franco aims for kitsch cult classic, but unfortunately, his stake misses the heart.
In fact, this movie can barely be called a “remake” aside from the fact that it shares the same title as the original. Oh, and Tori Spelling. Spelling plays the titular “Mother” in the 2016 version (having played the titular “May I” in the original), and is the one bright spot in the film. Spelling’s career owes a lot to Lifetime movies (who can forget Co-Ed Call Girl? Hell, it made me want to be an undergrad escort), and it’s her understanding of the genre that keeps this ego-driven monstrosity afloat. Her widowed socialite character always seems to be on the verge of tears. Spelling aside, the movie can be reduced to a two-word punchline:
Yep, you read that right. Lesbian vampires. Franco serves up Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? version 2.0 with a twist: the twist being, he’s replaced every element of the original film with cringe-worthy male-gaze lesbian softcore and fangs. Actually, while he was at it, he should have called it Mother, May I Queer Bait? If you’re hoping for lesbian vampires a la The Lost Boys meets But I’m A Cheerleader, you will not enjoy this film. This is Twilight meets Where The Boys Aren’t 5, the shitty “lesbian porn” film for straight men that I paid $1 for at the musty “adult store” off Route 11 during my freshman year of community college. The vampire gang is predictably goth and blandly sexy, as if the characters were drawn by an 8th grader taking an Intro to Manga sketching class. The Sapphic attractions have as much plausibility as a Carl’s Junior commercial taking place at a car wash to the tune of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl.” Which is to say, none. The concept of sexy lesbian vampires sounds bulletproof, but these vamps should never have seen the light of day.
It’s hard not to flinch during the scene pictured above, wherein the lesbian vampire gang paw unconvincingly at Leah (Leila George), whose bored and disaffected eyes silently plead for director Melanie Aitkenhead to yell “CUT!” so she can hit up the craft services table for some lukewarm cantaloupe. Leila George and Emily Meade bring as much passion to their roles as star-crossed lovers as you might expect from a pair of strangers cast as a married couple buying a minivan in a local commercial for a used car dealership.
Franco’s MMISWD v2.0 is to the original classic as your health-nut cousin’s carob oatmeal protein balls are to Pepperidge Farm Sausalito cookies. To even compare them is an affront to everything that is good in this world.
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