Debbie Rochon + Western Setting + Silly Horror= Happy Bug

There are a ton of great scream queens out there, but there's only one in my heart. The lovely Miss Debbie Rochon. Ever since I spied Debbie as the new Mulva in Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape, she stole my heart away. With her alternately goofy and beautiful persona, Debbie is the reason I've sat through all manner of crap. So when I spied this flick on my radar, I knew I just had to see it. It had all the hallmarks of a film I would really like. It was a western. It had overtones of zombies. It had Billy Drago, and most importantly, it had the chance to see Debbie Rochon in a period costume.

Fort Doom (2004) Starring Debbie Rochon, Billy Drago, Rich Washburn, and Joshua Park.

It's 1867 and in the wake of the Civil War lots of folks are looking for the promise of a new life in the untamed west. Among those folks are a madam, Lacey Everett (Rochon) and her girls. They set out on a train for the territories and Fort McMillan. They meet up with hapless photographer Jason, and when he hires out a guide to take him to the fort, the madam and her girls tag along. Along the way, Jason strikes up a mild romance with Lacey's sister, Kate, who is not a working girl. The girls trudge their baggage through the woods on a 15 mile hike to the Fort, but they do take a stop along the way for a skinny dip in a pond. Unfortunately, while ogling the girls, the guide gets killed.

They finally find the fort and it's been abandoned by the troops. Some folks have stayed around and are attempting to form a town. We meet up with the usual array of western characters. The sheriff, the cow hands, the jovial Doc, and the creepy creepy Undertaker (the excellent Billy Drago who was priceless as the heavy in another western genre piece The Adventures of Brisco County Junior). The girls set up shop in a nearby house that Lacey has inherited. In the woods, bodies start dropping with gaping hatchet wounds, and Kate and Jason discover the first one. The suspicion is of course placed on Indians even though the Sheriff has already stated there are not many around there. When one of Lacey's girls goes under the axe, it's time to get down to the bottom of the mystery of Fort Doom. It looks like the creepy undertaker is up to no good (are they ever), but he has a secret that causes the movie to take a turn into a rock-em sock-em "zombie" shoot em up in the third act.

There are several good things to say about this flick. Billy Drago is the epitome of creepy in his role. When he goes to one of Lacey's girls and explores his necrophilic side, it's disturbing, but not nearly as chill inducing as his monologue as he menaces Kate. There are moments in his performance that brought to mind some of the creepier roles of Vincent Price. The original score was also very good, and I only mention it because it really gave the movie the feeling of a classic movie western setting. There are a few detractions as well. There are one too many long pointless shots of the panorama of the wilderness, and while the movie was not shot poorly, John Ford it wasn't. The "zombies" were drug addled confederate soldiers, and it seemed like there were about 10 of them who just cycled through. My other big problem is the costuming, specifically Debbie Rochon's costumes. The first outfit they put her in looks like a Halloween costume's idea of a saloon girl outfit, and then when she settles in town, I had to wonder where she found a frontier Gap store to buy her clothes.

Overall it was a fun ride. The plot was fairly original, although rather disjointed. The twist that comes along is kind of out of left field, but the swerve into action sequences saves it. I would say that if you're in the mood for some mindless fun; then give it a shot. I'd also like to add that if you are a Debbie Rochon fan like me then you'll want to stick around until the end of the film for a brief but much needed topless scene.

Bug Rating

I couldn't find a trailer of Fort Doom for you folks. So I'm going to leave you with a bit of the goofier side of Miss Rochon. Enjoy until next time. This is the Lightning Bug signing off.

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