Bloody Bridget [Make Believe 2024 Review]

Richard Elfman made the classic cult film Forbidden Zone in 1980. It was outrageous, politically incorrect, and wildly entertaining. More than 40 years later, he hasn’t lost his touch. Bloody Bridget, which screened at the 2024 Make Believe film festival, is every bit as unhinged as Elfman’s fans could want. This horror-comedy delivers on the madness of its premise in a big way.

Anastasia Elfman (the director’s wife) plays Bridget O’Brian, a burlesque dancer in a seedy club whose owner abuses her, as does an unwanted suitor. She’s also got a boyfriend who cheats on her. During a mystical encounter with Haitian voodoo deity Baron Samedi (Jean Charles), she’s transformed into a “valentine vampire.” Using her new powers, Bridget becomes a defender of women, unleashing gruesome vengeance upon the men who torment them.

The style of Bloody Bridget is campy and over the top. Whenever our heroine becomes her alter ego, she appears naked, with animalistic eyes and hair jutting out of her head almost like bolts of electricity. Her preferred style of killing is to rip a victim’s heart out and eat it. Elfman films these sequences against hellish greenscreen imagery to emphasize the power of her wrath. The plot may seem like a repetitive revenge scenario, but it goes to unexpected places in the third act to keep things fresh. That includes a musical number finale.


The wickedly funny antics of Bridget are entertaining to watch, and the film is very much a feminist work that says abusive men deserve to be punished. A big reason why it works is the performance from Anastasia Elfman, who hits the exact right note of Jekyll/Hyde insanity. The regular Bridget is charmingly earnest, while Bloody Bridget visibly gets high off her own savagery. With all the crazy goings-on swirling around her, the actress creates a dual-sided character you actually come to care about.

Visually, the aesthetic is intentionally in the DIY realm. Richard Elfman’s origins are in theater; his stage troupe The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo spawned one of the ‘80s greatest alt-rock bands, Oingo Boingo. (His brother Danny Elfman provides music for the movie.) This is not a story that takes place in the real world, although it deals with real-world issues. Bloody Bridget takes place in a heightened reality where a simple burlesque dancer can become a murderous antihero. Everything in the picture reflects that larger-than-life idea.

Hilarious and gory in equal measure, Bloody Bridget is a bloody good time.

© 2024 Mike McGranaghan