Hot rods, aliens, zombies and pin-up girls inhabit the world of D.A. Sebasstian in his first feature film, Hot Rod Girls Save the World. The campy, but stylish B-flick is dominated by a rip-roaring soundtrack, original score (recorded by the director's band KsK) and enough hot rods to make any gearhead happy. While the film is somewhat of an homage to the rockabilly lifestyle, there are some things for genre enthusiasts to sink their teeth into.
When big city newspaper reporter, Vanessa Trojan (Lindsay Calkins), follows up on a story about two street racing legends, the trail leads her to Anywhere, WA. She has no idea that the group of misfit greasers, creepers and dames that "adopt" her will soon end up missing or dead. The shenanigans are led by the racing hottie duo-the boisterous Jo Leene Dodge (Melene Marie Brown) and her mute sidekick Betty Petty (Kimberly Lynn Layfield). The ladies, along with a slew of other characters, converge at a rockabilly house party where things take a turn for the worse.
A group of aliens living on the planet of Moosha Maa have developed a dislike for Homo Sapiens (mainly because their TV transmission is being interrupted by human "noise") and decide to zap a beam down to earth, which spreads a deadly virus that transforms everyone into zombie-like creatures. David, a young alien boy, touches down on the city of Anywhere and may have the answer to earth's problems. That is, of course, if Betty's blind grandma (famous for her bad cooking and badass record collection) or the swanky Detective Lloyd (Jimmi Davies) can't save the world first. [more Hot Rod Girls after the jump ... ]
Clearly, Sebasstian had a lot of fun making Hot Rod Girls, where he was able to combine several of the things he has a glowing affection for. And although it's obvious that he got together with a group of friends and fellow hot rod lovers to make the film, the gang doesn't skimp on their efforts. While certain additions to the low budget feature are charming, others are distracting and awkward. Low-fi transitions like high-contrast wash outs and the use of cartooning render tools are used to denote a difference in time and atmosphere, but distract from the visual flow. The director gets all his small budget goodies right for the sets of his alien world where industrial savvy machines and other DIY contraptions lend a surreal quality to the proceedings. Once again, the killer soundtrack helps maintain the right vibe -- Sebasstian is not short of talent in this department. Aside from the more obvious greaser culture appeal are subtle jokes and little homages to, what I imagine, are the director's favorite films. There's definitely some Twin Peaks going on and I even caught a Lost Boys reference. Our lead actresses who dominate the feature are all charming in their own way and once you get over the initial "hmmm ... ", the many quirks of Calkins performance are comedic and mostly adorable. The feature clocks in at a very long 122 minutes, which might be suitable in a group or theater setting as conversation will help carry things along, but watching it alone may find you checking your clock a time or two.