Madonna: A Case of Blood Ambition (1990)

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2011-11-07 03:18

Written by: Brenda Newman, Harriette Vidal
Directed by: Alain Zaloum
Starring: Jamieson Boulanger, Gordon Day and Pascale Devigne

Reviewed by: Brett Gallman

At least once or twice a year, I come across a movie thatís either marketed as a horror movie or is bundled with another one but only barely manages to really qualify as one. The latest culprit of this trick is Madonna: A Case of Blood Ambition, which is the B-side to Voodoo Dolls, which very much is a horror flick in more ways than one. Code Red has unleashed this long-forgotten Canadian duo on DVD, and Madonna should have especially remained buried since itís basically just tacked onto the release by being marketed as a thriller to seemingly compliment the top-billed flick. In reality, the only things these two movies have in common is that theyíre shitty and Canadian.

Though the plot synopsis of Madonna hits some high points involving a vengeful daughter avenging the jurors who sentenced her father to death (which really does sound like a horror/thriller), the movie doesnít play out like this. Instead, audiences kind of aimlessly wander through yuppie Michaelís sleazy, illicit affair with a model named Laura who is probably insane and may be connected to an opening scene that sees a guy waste his own father in a diner. Dots begin to be connected by a supremely clueless PI that realizes Lauren has been involved with a whole bunch other recent murders. After about 75 minutes of tedious, bumbling procedurals, we finally realize that Laura is indeed trying to murder the people involved in sending her father to prison, where he was murdered himself. Or something.

I imagine youíd be pretty much completely lost without reading the plot synopsis for this movie beforehand; it seemingly spoils the movieís twist, but, really, itís almost like a roadmap that guides you through all of the boring, sluggish events. Seriously, between the shoestring budget, battered women, clandestine romantic twists, neglected children, nutty jezebels, and the climactic knife-laden catfight, youíd think this was a bad Lifetime movie (which, of course, is a redundant turn of phrase). Admittedly, it mostly makes perfect sense once itís all said and done, but that doesnít rescue this from its hideous soap opera trappings that come complete with wooden performances, flat dialogue, and a mountain of clichťs.

Madonna does at least start off with a murderous bang, which would be doubly great if the opening scene didnít go unreferenced until late in the game; itís at that point that we realize Lauraís M.O. is a foolproof plan that involves seducing and sexing guys until they find a way to off themselves. Maybe. Actually, Iím not quite sure what her plan is with Michael; apparently, it entails turning him into a complete asshole by giving him this sweet red robe that, well, just kind of makes him look like an asshole. So, mission accomplished, I guess. She's also aided by a guy who looks like a cast-off from a New Wave band; no one could have been more dismayed about the end of the 80s than this guy. Really, Laura herself could have been a decent insane femme fatale because Deborah Mansy does occasionally infuse her with a sort of clingy, psychotic resolve. Itís just too bad that doesnít make a whole lot of sense because she actually wants Michael dead, despite the gift-giving and numerous sexual favors. Her attack is quite cerebral, not that it would take much to coerce this dope, who only married his wife because he accidentally knocked her up.

Consider that this movieís title seems to be a cheap ploy to cash in on the singer Madonnaís album, A Case of Blonde Ambition, and I think youíve got a good idea of what youíre working with. Anemically funded and incoherently scripted, this shows very little ambition, and itís barely bloody at that. As for what Madonna has to do with anything, well, I guess you should be left with one thing to discover if you ever lose a bet that results in you being forced to watch this. I canít recommend you doing so under any other circumstance that doesnít have you on the business end of a gun or knifepoint. Youíll perhaps be greeted with one genuinely funny part that involves an old lady asking our dawdling detective if he has anything stronger than coffee; proving that his alcohol reflex is quicker than his wit, he produces a flask that might explain why heís having so much trouble cracking this case.

So, fair warning: Madonna is barely a horror movie, if it is one at all. Itíd be more accurate to consider it a pedestrian drama with few shocks. Imagine a cast-off subplot from daytime soaps, right down to the production values, which are at least faithfully reproduced by Code Redís release. Part of ďMariaís B-Movie MayhemĒ series, itís got a pretty blurry and interlaced 4:3 transfer, and the dialogue is quite muffled, which might be the result of Cinefilm recording all of the dialogue through a tin can. As supplements, you can watch an introduction from the lovely Maria as well as her new music video, which would actually be preferable to watching the movie. Trash it!

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