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Killer Barbys (1996) - Blu-ray Review

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Killer Barbys (1996) - Blu-ray

4 beers“Son of a bitch.” Those are the words mouthed by the freshly decapitated head of a gore-gore dancing member of a punk band called The Killer Barbies.  They aren’t your average brand of punk but she, after being chased naked through a dense spot of trees for the night by a lunatic (Santiago Segura) with a scythe, is your average horny teen.  And, unfortunately, she’s just another victim in this sexploitation horror slasher from the prolific Jess Franco, a Spanish film director, writer, composer, cinematographer and actor, who was celebrated for his stylish and low-budget cult films.

Soaked in heavy fog, Franco’s Killer Barbys features a static shot with an angled view of the steep climb up the stairs that lead to, of all things, a castle.  The shot is repeated several times throughout the course of this cult charmer as different band members arrive to the oddly located château after their van gets stuck in some mud along the way to their next concert.  And the shot – as off-kilter as it is – is absolutely perfect in bridging the gap between the old and the new styles in horror that Franco brings together for this release.

There’s plenty of sex and gore in Franco’s flicks and this one is no different.  It’s the comedy and use of black humor that has been elevated.  The reverse A-framed shot as our killer peers between the legs of a woman he’s just hung by her ankles is one example.  And, as the teenagers – minus their instruments – are being lured into the estate of Countess Olga Lujan (Mariangela Giordano), who must dine on the blood AND SEMEN of young men in order to remain youthful in appearance, there’s sufficient room for both.  (And, yes, Franco goes where your perverted mind just went.)

But let’s not get too far ahead of the game here.  Killer Barbys – even if the name IS spelled differently than the band featured in the movie thanks to Mattel – was a bizarre promotion for the rather successful gore-punk sounds of the band who find themselves bumping uglies with the queen of the damned.  That’s right, The Killer Barbies and the main members - Silvia Superstar (Silvia García Pintos) and Billy King (Antonio Domínguez) – are playing themselves.  And the band, after releasing a trio of successful albums, would do it again in Franco’s The Killer Barbeys vs. Dracula

This film shouldn’t work.  It should be bloody awful and I know it.  For my tastes, though, Franco absolutely nailed EVERYTHING about this gross-out cheap flick; it’s as if an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! somehow came to life in an X-rated manner.  The trashy tone matches the punk soundtrack and, as Franco was a master for exploiting his locations in an effort to squeeze every ounce of seediness out of them, the absolute bizarreness of a REAL punk band facing an age-old threat of horror seduction deep within the walls of European gothicism makes for a memorable movie.

Hell, even their manager Mario (played by Charlie S. Chaplin and, yeah, he’s the grandson of that famous silent star) gets in on the gore-punk fun as he literally steamrolls – because the slow-moving vehicle with a roller just happens to be in the right spot at the right time – a heinous villain chasing the sexiest member of the band, Silvia.

There’s simply no way you forget a flick like Killer Barbys and the ridiculously awful English-dubbing only heightens the experience.  Cheap but expressive, this is a riotously artful good time of sheer rock and schlock shenanigans.  Killer Barbys is available on Blu-ray thanks to Redemption.  Now, I just need to track down their albums...

Killer Barbys (1996) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
87 mins
: Jesús Franco
Patxi Irigoyen
Santiago Segura, Mariangela Giordano, Aldo Sambrell
: Horror

Memorable Movie Quote: "son of a bitch"
Theatrical Distributor: United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 26, 2017
Synopsis: While driving on tour late night through a lonely road in the countryside of Spain, the van of the punk band "Killer Barbys" has an accident and breaks down. A creepy old man invites the group to spend the night in the castle of Countess Von Fledermaus and presents himself as her secretary Arkan. Arkan explains that the mechanic is located 62 km far from the location and he tells that the Countess loves youths. Flavia, Rafa and Mario accept the invitation but Billy and Sharon stay shagging in the van. When the musicians meet the Countess, they find that she is the ancient artist Olga Luchan and they question how she could keep so young. But sooner they discover that the Countess needs blood of young people to keep her beauty.

Killer Barbys (1996) - Blu-ray


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Redemption
Available on Blu-ray
- September 26, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
: English
English: DTS 2.0; Spanish: DTS 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Newly restored from a 4K scan of the original film elements doesn’t exactly mean you are going to get the best print possible.  As is the case with this release, there’s just no saving the low rent production costs.  Interiors are strong thanks to the darkness of the nightclub scenes but the 1080p transfer is a bit of a letdown.  Blues aren’t as deep as they could be and there’s an inconsistency in the image due to the production values.  Shadows wobble and lines are never thick enough to hold their edges.  The soundtrack features a DTS 2.0 English and Spanish version.



  •  Thankfully, film historian Troy Howarth provides some information about this release that Franco fans will want to hear.

Special Features:

  • None

Killer Barbys (1996) - Blu-ray

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