CRAZY FAT ETHEL *** U.S.A. 2016 Dir: Brian Dorton 81 mins
In 1975 Nick Millard wrote and directed a film known as CRIMINALLY INSANE (a.k.a. Crazy Fat Ethel). It is a film that experimented with off the wall ideas and gave the world a killer that has major anger issues. A sequel called CRIMINALLY INSANE 2 (a.k.a. Crazy Fat Ethel 2) followed in 1987, although the majority of the sequel is reusing footage from the first film. The sequel has mainly been forgotten about but the original has gained a cult following through the years.
So along comes Brian Dorton in 2016 who remade CRAZY FAT ETHEL, and it is a remake that gives nods to the original while expanding on the story of Ethel. Ethel has spent time in a mental institute due to suspicions that she killed her Uncle Joe. While at the institute she is also being treated for her obesity as well as her various issues. When she is raped by two orderlies she uses the evidence of the rape to blackmail her way out of the institute. Released to the care of her Aunt Joyce, Ethel soon becomes a burden on her Aunt due to the excessive amount of food she eats. With very little income coming in Aunt Joyce locks away the food, much to Ethels dislike, so much so she kills her Aunt. As Ethel becomes hungrier the kills escalate but its not long till a police detective is on the case of the missing people and the only lead is Ethel. In hindsight CRIMINALLY INSANE may seem like an odd film to remake but remade it they did and it is quite well done. Dixie Gers excels as Ethel, bringing her own mannerisms to the character while emulating the actions of the original Ethel (Priscilla Alden). The way it is shot is also on form and keeps the low budget look and feel of the original with just a few modern touches thrown in. Bringing dark humour, gross out moments and well shot scenes, Hollywood should pay attention as this this is how a remake should be done.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins