THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD is a neon-drenched, blood infused love letter to the grindhouse. One that manages to change up just enough to feel fresh while staying true to its roots. Writer/director Orson Oblowitz as crafted a revenge saga rooted in the glitz and grime of strip clubs and mobsters, but with its own style.
Mary (Rosemary Hochschild, Oblowitz’s mother) has run her strip club for the past twenty years. It’s become her home, her life, and even her identity. On her 60th birthday, however Duke (Roger Guenveur Smith THE BIRTH OF A NATION) a mobster and former lover turns up to call in an old debt. One for which he plans to take her club as payment.
Her refusal to hand it over leads to a journey through the underworld of Los Angeles, a journey of introspection and revenge.
The obvious twist here is the protagonist being a sixty-year-old woman. This at first had me concerned that it would come off as unbelievable or be played for laughs. Thankfully it is pulled off convincingly, in great part thanks to an incredible performance from Hochschild. Both in the intensity, she projects and her appearance. With her cane, fishbowl sunglasses and leopard print coat she looks, at times, almost like an old school pimp ready to defend their turf. The fact she’s mostly had smaller roles before this is a shame.
Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice Michael Parks (KILL BILL, RED STATE) in his final role and the director’s father, director Michael Oblowitz (THE BREED, OUT FOR A KILL) in a small role.
While primarily a noir film, THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD pulls inspiration from other genres as well. The scene where Mary sits in a theater watching footage of her son, (played by Oblowitz), being tortured is very reminiscent of the scene in HARDCORE where George C Scott sees his daughter performing in a porn film. There are lighting and touches of style influenced by Argento, and Hermann Kopp (NECROMANTIC, DER TODESKING) contributed to the score. It adds an extra layer of darkness and dread to an already dark genre.
This is the director’s first film, though he’s worked as a cinematographer and has a producer’s credit on CORBIN NASH. Oblowitz already has another film completed, HELL IS WHERE THE HOME IS, a home invasion horror movie. Given what he’s done in his debut film, I’m very curious what he can do with that genre.
THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD theatrical release begins October 12 in Los Angeles. The film will be available On Demand October 16 from Dark Star Pictures.