BLOODY MALLORY, France in search of gender

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BLOODY MALLORY, a French-style Buffy who fights the forces of evil… An artistic and commercial failure, Julien Magnat’s feature film still deserves the credit for its ambitions.

At the movie theater, BLOODY MALLORY went relatively unnoticed when it was released in 2002. And for good reason, it was scheduled in July, a low period in terms of cinema attendance – in the middle of school holidays and after the boom of the Film Festival. This film would not have deserved more attention, given its passable quality, hanging it up in the subgenre of nanar. However, BLOODY MALLORY holds its interest in its production process and testifies to a time when France was desperate to shine in a certain fantastic and horror cinema.

Credit: Thibault Grabherr

In effect, BLOODY MALLORY is part of “Bee Movies”, an initiative born under the leadership of Fidélité productions, a French production company, then eager to give young directors a chance. This, with the aim of producing genre films at low cost, sometimes less ambitious than eye-catching. Thus, between the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s, four fantastico-horrifying films were released of a quality oscillating between mediocre and disreputable: Requiem, A children’s game, Maleficent and so, BLOODY MALLORY.

Buffy hard discount

If these four films were bitter failures, both artistically and commercially, BLOODY MALLORY nevertheless stands out from the lot by its intentions. We can only feel sympathy for the candor of its young director, Julien Magnate, then in his twenties, and armed with carte blanche to slip whatever he pleases into his film. A young warrior woman in red leather and short hair, Mallory fights the forces of evil in the shadows, accompanied by her acolytes: Vena Cava, the drag queen adept at explosives, Talking Tina, the telepathic girl, and Durand, a government agent. altogether banal.

Photo from the movie BLOODY MALLORY
Credit: Thibault Grabherr

The small band is obviously reminiscent of the cult series buffy the vampire slayer. In a somewhat outrageous way, since the pop culture of the early 2000s turns out to be deeply marked by female figures like that of buffyor even Xena the Warrior. Note also that the first episode of resident Evil in the cinema is not far… So many fantastic works presenting strong women in combat, with a leadership character, seducing both adolescent girls and their male counterparts. BLOODY MALLORY obviously intends to seduce this public, fed to the schedule of M6 programs.

A bit of merit

However – it should be recalled – the ambitions of BLOODY MALLORY are rare in France at that time. And it is surprising to see such a universe unfold in the French-speaking world, past and present. The movie of Julien Magnate does not become brilliant. Indeed, costumes and makeup suffer greatly from the lack of budget, so that the wigs seem, without a doubt, made up of 97% plastic. Likewise, where buffy turned out to be subtly written and skilfully balanced drama and irony, BLOODY MALLORY too often falls into a schoolboy humor out of step with its dark atmosphere, just as poorly controlled.

Photo from the movie BLOODY MALLORY
Credit: Thibault Grabherr

However, the idea and the intentions are there and it is amusing to see Mallory and her whimsical gang evolving in the heart of Paris, as well as in the French countryside. The abominable staging, the scenario paradoxically too dense and too superficial, but also the faults of taste attributable to the youth of the director, unfortunately make the result objectively indigestible. To the point that the repeated failures of bee movies buried the French genre for nearly a decade. The path was indeed long before the Palme de Titanium… However, it is clear that we still had a buffy tricolor and that it took some nerve to get her in shape in this slump.

Lily Nelson

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BLOODY MALLORY, France in search of gender – Analysis