It's rare that a three-and-a-half-minute trailer tells you just about everything you need to know about a movie, but in the case of "Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives" the movie is everything you see in those few minutes but more... and worse.
First and foremost, this is a really bad movie, but clearly intentionally so. The film is artificially "aged" and made to have a look similar to the "blaxploitation" films of the early 70's, complete with low-budget production, film imperfections, and missing reel notices.The overplayed transgender stereotypes are blatant and ludicrous, but it's the titling and the marketing of this film where the biggest mistakes have been made.
Anyone who sees this movie understands something about it in very short order: This isn't a movie about transgender women, it's a movie about drag queens. Not that any confirmation is needed once Pinky La'Trimm, Emma Grashun, Bubbles Cliquot, Tipper Sommore, and Rachel Slur (no, I'm not kidding) are introduced to the viewer, but there's even a scene in the movie where one of the characters defines herself and the other queens with her as "gay men in dresses."
Immediately after seeing this movie I remarked to someone who'd already seen it that if they'd titled this movie Ticked-Off Drag Queens With Knives probably no one would have batted an eye, but thinking about it now I'm not so sure. The biggest problem with this movie is that the concept just doesn't work, no matter what perspective you view it from. You can make a campy movie about drag queens or you can make a film about hate crimes, but you can't do both in the same film and expect it to be seen as credible on any level.
Director Israel Luna's attempt to meld these completely and utterly disparate elements into the same film results in nothing short of disaster, with the campy, comedic scenes undercutting and perhaps even completely discrediting whatever anti-hate crimes message he may have been hoping to convey. At the same time, the graphic and gory hate-motivated violence ruins whatever comedic value the film might otherwise have had. Hate crimes, after all, just aren't funny, not ever. For all too many, that bloody baseball bat has been real. Including graphic depictions of anti-transgender hate violence in a movie that's clearly being played for camp and comedy comes off as complete ignorance of the reality of anti-transgender hate violence at best and outright mockery and denigration of transpeople and the hate violence perpetrated against us at worst.
The transgender community's reaction to this film is understandable. This low-budget hackfest employs just about every tired transgender stereotype out there and doesn't even do a decent job of mocking itself as you'd expect a film like this to do. Despite the mostly generic hairstyles and clothes that are presumably supposed to reflect the styles of the early 70's, the queens are seen in a late-model convertible that couldn't have been built more than than a few years ago. This film fails even the most basic tests of consistency and good writing.
Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives is so bad on so many different levels that it's even schlock when compared to other schlock. It's almost like Israel Luna set out to do an early John Waters film (right down to the Divine-like "mama queen") but just didn't have the chops to pull it off. The hate crime element, while perhaps well-intentioned, seems like an afterthought, just an excuse for the drag queens to comically kick some ass rather than an attempt at any sort of truly serious statement about hate crimes. This aspect of the film comes through clearly even when watching the trailer so it's not surprising that many transpeople and allies find it disparaging and offensive.
Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives tries to succeed as a comedy while making a statement about something as deadly serious and unfunny as anti-transgender hate crimes, and therefore fails miserably at both. Honestly, I wonder what the folks at the Tribeca Film Festival saw in this disjointed, poorly-made mess of a movie. Fortunately, real transwomen can take heart that this film is such an unremitting and unadulterated piece of shit that once Tribeca ends it's highly likely that this film and its director will quickly fade back into the obscurity they so richly deserve.