Sometimes people ask me, “Where are all the great exploitation movies today, Joe Bob? You know, the great low-budget horror films?” They’re on the Lifetime network! I love the Lifetime network.–Joe Bob Briggs
When I heard film critic Joe Bob Briggs utter that statement during the Halloween Hootenanny on Shudder’s The Last Drive-In, I completely shrugged it off. I mean, c’mon, how could great exploitation flicks exist on Lifetime? Surely, a channel devoted to programming content for and featuring women wouldn’t stoop to 70s-esque exploitation and grindhouse cinema tactics, right?
Growing up in the 90s, I thought Lifetime was the channel that featured wimpy stuff like re-runs of Designing Women (which is actually a guilty pleasure of mine) and holiday specials where little girls befriend a reindeer. They wouldn’t show—gasp—sleaze on that channel, would they? So, the fool I am, I laughed it off and thought Joe Bob had temporarily lost his goddamn mind.
But I’m here to tell you that Joe Bob was 100% right and you need to drop everything—and I mean everything—and start watching these movies. You thought Season 2 of The Mandalorian was the next exciting prospect on the horizon? Think again. Lifetime is where it’s at. And I’m not joking. These are so-bad-they’re-good masterpieces in the vein of movies like Tammy and the T-Rex (1994), Blood Diner (1987), and Miami Connection (1987). They will have you scratching your head while simultaneously laughing your ass off.
Seriously, just read these titles:
- Psycho Granny (2019)
- Deranged Granny (2020)
- Dying to Be a Cheerleader (2020)
- Sinfidelity (2020)
- Ruthless Realtor (2020)
How do you NOT watch those?! Those titles almost guarantee that the movie will contain cheesy dialogue, overt innuendos, and over-the-top, bad acting. If schlock is your thing, then Lifetime is where it’s at.
But what caused my sudden change of heart, you ask? Well, as we all know, we’re currently living through the Hellscape that is 2020, and new horror movies are a rare breed. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, studios have delayed the release of films like Candyman, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, and Saint Maud. If you want to watch a new horror movie, you’re going to have to scratch the bottom of the barrel.
So, a few nights ago, I was doomscrolling through Hulu when I came across something called Pool Boy Nightmare (2020). “Hmm,” I thought. “It’s in the horror genre section, but it’s produced by Lifetime. I’m skeptical. That title though . . . I have to admit that I’m interested.”
Now, it may have been the Coors Light I’d been drinking, but I could almost swear that I heard Joe Bob beckoning me, “Stop dragging your feet and just watch the dang thing, Anthony. It won’t disappoint.”
What ensued was an 86-minute horror/thriller involving a recently divorced woman trying to hold down her high-stakes job; her 18-year-old daughter who is ready to mix and mingle, if you know what I mean . . . and I think you do; and a “hot” pool boy turned stalker/murderer/psychopath. I don’t want to spoil anything on this one, but the pool boy wants the mom, not the daughter.
Yeah. It’s THAT type of movie. In all honesty, it felt like a MILF fantasy from Brazzers where they accidentally cut out all the porn.
And I was hooked.
The next night, I set my sights on Her Deadly Sugar Daddy (2020).
Let me lay the scene: a sexy, 21-year-old writer, Bridget, is tricked into becoming the personal assistant for a sexy, older businessman, Anthony Gloss. They wear sexy clothes and meet sexy people at parties. When Bridget can’t get a job at a famous online blog, she decides to write about her sexy experiences as a sexy sugar baby. Bridgette’s sexy best friend, Lindsey, even tags along a few times and encourages Bridget to have actual, real life sex with Anthony. But when Bridget realizes her sexy boss is mixed up in some shady deals all sex is off the table and she’s in a fight for her sexy life.
The funniest part about this whole movie is that Bridget isn’t in an actual sugar baby/sugar daddy relationship with Anthony. He’s trying to pimp her out to his clients and not actually have sex with her. So, the movie messes up its central premise which is phenomenal and everything you want in a movie like this.
Also, throughout the entire movie, Bridget is being stalked by her not sexy former boyfriend, Zach, and when things get complicated with her boss, the boyfriend helps to save the day and she ends up going back to him. That’s a really messy message to send to female viewers about how they should handle their relationships. In an ideal world, she would have ditched her stalker boyfriend and gone forward on her own as a successful writer.
This may seem to contradict my prior statement, but the one downside to Lifetime exploitation flicks that there ain’t any nudity. There’s barely any implied nudity either. It’s on network TV, so I get it, but these movies would be a whole lot better with some boobs, butts, and erection-free ding dongs bouncing around. That’s all I’m saying.
If you’re looking for a ridiculous movie to take your mind off current events, then look no further than Her Deadly Sugar Daddy. As ridiculous as the plot is, it’s entertaining and hilarious in all the unintentional ways a so-bad-it’s-good movie is supposed to be.