Once the darling of sleaze movie houses, exploitation films have surged in popularity in recent years. In 2007 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez attempted to revive the genre with Grindhouse, but the three-hour double feature did not fare well with theatergoers, and the film was largely forgotten. With Bitch Slap, however, the old adage of “so bad it’s good” takes on new meaning … in a good way.

“It’s not a typical grindhouse movie,” notes Julia Voth, who plays Trixie in the film. “This one makes you think.”

Inspired by films like Faster Pussycat! Kill, Kill, a standard from an era long since vanished with the rise of home video, Bitch Slap is as a throwback to ’70s B-moviedom, with a slight touch of parody thrown in for kicks. The film follows three “bad girls” as they attempt to extort $200 million in diamonds from the leader of a criminal underworld (played by British actor Michael Hurst).

“Trixie is a down-on-her-luck stripper with a heart of gold,” Voth says of her character. “She even wears a little gold dress to match,” she jokes.

Under the manipulation of her two partners in crime, a drug runner named Camero (America Olivo) and corporate mover and shaker Hel (Erin Cummings), Trixie is forced into the situation against her will. What’s envisioned as a simple operation, however, soon spirals out of control. The girls turn against one another fast, with plenty of explosions, fight sequences and girl-on-girl make-out scenes added along the way. Who’s to say that trash is bad for you?

“Hel is the brawn, and Camero is the brains,” Voth explains. “Trixie is very naïve and pretty much does whatever they tell her to do.”

Hel and Camero are constantly at odds with one another, and with names like that it’s no wonder. In one scene in particular, the hellbent Camero catches the lustful Hel in a passionate embrace with Trixie. Now certain the two are in cahoots against her, an enraged Camero threatens to kill both of them. With her life on the line, and Hel rendered incapable by Camero’s indomitable rage, sweet little Trixie comes to the rescue.

“She’s kind of the peacemaker in the group,” explains Voth. “Even though she’s conceived as sweet and innocent and a whiner and complainer, in reality Trixie’s a strong woman.”

Given the nature of the exploitation genre and its appreciation for female skin, it’s easy to assume that the on-set carnage trickled into off set antics. But as Voth explains, she and her two co-stars became fast friends.

“A lot of people ask if there were a lot of cat fights on set, and I tell them there were but they were scripted fights,” she jokes. “Both America and Erin are amazing and talented individuals, and we all became really great friends.”

In order to fully understand her role as a gun-toting sex vixen, Voth immersed herself in ’70s exploitation trash. But rather than base her character off any one performance in particular, Voth set out to approach the role of Trixie from an entirely unique perspective.

“Let’s face it, some of the acting in the B movies isn’t that great,” she explains. “I tried to make my performance as original and believable as possible.”

In addition to the film’s grandiose pyrotechnics, viewers are also treated to futuristic worlds and magnificent cityscapes reminiscent of a sprawling science fiction epic. Much of the alternate reality created on screen is owed to the magic of green screen technology, which can prove to be somewhat of a problem for a relative newcomer to the craft.

“It’s definitely a challenge when there’s just green around you, and you’re screaming at something or looking at something and it’s not there,” Voth admits. “But I think for any actor, no matter what situation they’re in, they could make it work and it will be very believable.”

Filmmakers Rick Jacobson and Eric Gruendemann intended Bitch Slap to be the first in a trilogy. Without giving too much of the ending away, will Trixie return for either of the sequels?

“The script’s being written right now, but we don’t have any details,” she relays. “But I’ll keep you posted!”

Bitch Slap may not win any Oscars come award season, but it’s certain to propel Julia Voth and the rest of the cast into cult film superstardom. Trash is good after all, especially when it’s bad.

Bitch Slap releases in select theaters Jan. 8.