“Thanks for killing my mom.”
“Hey, no problem.”
— Kitty Carryall and Patch Kelly
What do you get when you shoot a film for less than $300 on Super-8 film with a bunch of your friends from the L.A. punk scene (Dez Cadena of Black Flag and DC 3, Jeff and Steve McDonald of Red Kross, Vicki Peterson of the Bangles)? You get Dave Markey’s amateurish — but much loved — campy mirco-classic about the rise and fall of punk rock band.
When the mothers of lead singer and guitarist Kitty Carryall (know your Brady Bunch trivia!; portrayed by screenwriter Jennifer Schwartz), bassist Bunny Tremelo (Hilary Rubens), and drummer Patch Kelly (Janet Housden; later became a legal consultant on films) decide that punk rock isn’t proper for young ladies, the trio runs away to fulfill their rock ‘n’ roll dreams.
Out on the (comical) mean streets of Los Angeles, the Lovedolls are forced to fend for themselves against gangs (Kurt Schellenbach of the Nip Drivers) and rival bands. Also working against them is their sleazy manager Johnny Tremaine (Steve McDonald of Redd Kross) who uses them for sex and his own personal gain, and a rival girl gang, the She Devils (Annette Zilinskas, then of the Bangles and later with Blood on the Saddle; became a film animator) who work at sabotaging the Lovedolls. The girls finally decide they had enough and decide to strike back at those who wronged them.
Director Dave Markey has made this available as a free stream on his official You Tube channel, along with the director’s cut of the sequel Lovedolls Superstar, also on his You Tube channel. You can enjoy a playlist re-creation of the soundtrack to Desperate Teenage Lovedolls on You Tube and an upload of the soundtrack to Lovedoll Superstar on You Tube. Both the DVD and CD of Desperate Teenage Lovedolls are readily available in the online marketplace, as well as used copies of the ’80s-issued VHS and LP versions. (Thank the analog gods for comic books stores renting odd-ball VHS titles, and record stores carrying used vinyl . . . why did I sell the album? Ugh! Oh, because of bought it for $10 and sold it for $80 because the car needed gas.)
You also also can watch Markey’s punkumentary, 1994: The Year Punk Broke — starring Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Babes in Toyland, and Dinosaur, Jr. — on Daily Motion and (as a 15-part upload) on You Tube.
You need more grunge flicks? Be sure to check out our “Exploring: 50 Gen-X Grunge Films of the Alt-Rock ‘90s” featurette chronicling a wealth of films from the era.
About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.