John Miller’s $kumbagz is the kind of film you’d love to watch with the whole family, if your entire clan were made up of filthy ratchet queens, drug dealers, pimps, and whores. As the title suggests, the film is rife with the lowest of lowlives, their penchants for violence, drugs, booze, and generally scraping the bottom of the metaphoric barrel of life.
The film revolves around Stephanie (Krystal Pixie Adams, Franklin: A Symphony of Pain, Die Die Delta Pi) a 25-year-old who still lives at home with her parents, much to their dismay. We learn that she’s worked a slew of low-end jobs, and can keep none of them. Her father desperately wants her out of the house, but she seems like she has no interest in going anywhere.
When she arrives at her low-level job that day (making tacos…or is it burgers, now?), her filthy boss propositions her for oral sex, which she’s not below performing, but his further, filthier requests are denied, getting her immediately canned. Crying and upset, she meets a man outside of the restaurant who offers her a lift home, with a stop at his place for her to get ‘cleaned up’ and maybe have a drink, naturally.
After being locked away in his house and drugged, Stephanie is forced to have sex with other degenerates from the neighborhood, all while he constantly counts out his money while men have their way with her in another part of the room. It’s not long, though, before a neighbor – a drug dealer with a ‘heart of gold’ – convinces her that she’d have a much better life working for him, having sex with only the men she wants, and earning stacks of cash. Everything goes smoothly until a rival gang made up of pimps and drug dealers realizes that they’re not getting cut in on any of the action, and things soon turn harsh and violent.
The story follows Stephanie as she works her way from flipping burgers to superstar pimpdom (if there is such a thing), running her own hoard of girls. Throughout her story, Stephanie is put through some seriously degrading things on her way to the top, including multiple graphic rapes and beatings. Director Miller clearly has an eye for beautiful women, though, and it’s not always violent, as we are also treated to some (very real) XXX girl-on-girl action at one point, too, between Adams and newcomer Niecy Nice, who plays a spy for a rival gang. So it’s not all brutality, there’s also some T&A (and P), too.
I have to say that the acting in this very underground feature, which currently has a release through TheSleazeBox on DVD, was surprisingly good. Featuring some twisted turns by Bob Glazier (Franklin: A Symphony of Pain) as Samir and Joe Makowski (Make Them Die Sleazy!) as Reo, $kumbagz features only the best of the underground horror scene. Adams herself is no newcomer to the world of acting, having appeared in 7 low budget horror films in the last 3 years, with 2 more in varying stages of pre- and post-production. Put in the right roles such as this, where she can show off her acting and ability to lead a dark, dirty film, Adams could easily climb her way to underground scream queen…or in the case of $kumbagz, perhaps it’s sleaze queen.
With its dark, dingy lighting, superb editing, vile, seedy-looking locations, and phenomenal group of independent actors, John Miller’s $kumbagz is a perfect example of what the real underground of cinema has to offer, if only you’re willing to get a little dirty yourself.