In my experience, when Tasmanians make genre short films, they tend to very strongly root their films in Tasmania itself, to the point where you could call it a ‘genre + Tasmania’ formula. Rebecca Thomson’s Cupcake: A Zombie Lesbian Musical, released in 2008, goes one better, mashing up trashy zombie flicks with trashy burlesque musicals and rooting it in the city of Hobart (that’s longtime ABC News host Peter Gee as himself in the opening scene, for one thing). Genre exercises just for the sake of genre exercises tend to bore me over a long enough period of time; shoving two completely unrelated genres in the one short film means it never has the chance to run out of steam the way these things usually do, and the fact that both genres tend to revel in trash means that it feels more unified than it really is – Thomson has a deep bench of trash cinema to draw on, and both the melodramatic musical elements and the violent gore are delivered with complete conviction.
Sadly, “No Penis Between Us” has aged pretty terribly*, which is a shame because the idea of singing the word ‘penis’ to such a wonderfully soppy melody is inherently hilarious; the gore includes both a vibrator through the head and a dismembered vulva. There’s a delightfully unpolished vibe to the whole thing, too, the same splatterpunk vibe as the stories she’s riffing on; when the plot fall apart in the last third, it reminds me of the same thing happening in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Plans to make a feature-length version of the film (in which, amongst other things, Thomson hoped to get former Greens leader Bob Brown cameoing) have sadly fallen through; thankfully, this film stands on its own pretty well.
*Full disclosure: I’m friends with Thomson, and given the things she’s been a part of the past few years, I suspect she’s more aware of trans issues and would have written the song differently were she writing the same thing today.