Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Savage Streets (Danny Steinmann, 1984)

In the gritty realm of this unbelievably gritty film, thoughts of revenge may sprout while you're immersed in a tub of a warm water, but when that vengeance pierces the night air, and has properly toweled itself off, penis owners the world over better watch their back, or, in this case, they better watch their front. Why is that exactly? Well, a grim-faced chick named Brenda is straight-up irritated by all the wanton rape and murder that's been befalling those close to her as of late. The equivalent of an unclean hand slapping against your wart-covered inner thigh whilst perusing the results of your ex-girlfriend's chlamydia test, Savage Streets (a.k.a. Straße der Gewalt and Zombie Brigade) is cinematic filth at its finest. Exploding with tactless dialogue, synthesizer-enhanced metal riffs, stupefying shower fights, outdoor strutting, gratuitous camera angles, and the most intrusive boom microphone in movie history (Edit: I'm happy to report that the intrusive boom microphone is nowhere to be found on the new DVD), this trashy flick from writer-director Danny Steinmann (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning) is a raw and ugly look into the tightly-garbed underbelly of teenage gangsterism. Pulling no punches when comes to depicting a society so obsessed with sex and violence, that it can no longer protect its citizens from experiencing both on a semi-regular basis, the barely competent highly entertaining film gingerly sets the stage for its unabashedly full-bosomed champion to implement her unique brand of urban comeuppance. And when that juicy retribution is finally distributed, I have to say, the satisfaction I felt went way beyond the normal constructs of conventional giddiness. So much so, that I kinda wish she could have killed some of them more than once.

Sporting her trademark curvaceous body, a healthy mop of wild yet manageable hair (only the sauciest of headbands dare tame this ample mane), and the foulest mouth this side of Wilshire Boulevard, Linda Blair is a festering cauldron of unmitigated sexiness as Brenda, a scrappy as fuck, crossbow-wielding juvenile delinquent who takes on a smallish throng of leathery hooligans called "The Scars."

Proving yet again that she is one of the most accomplished thespians of her generation, the vivacious Linda Blair is literally seeping toughness as Brenda, a no-nonsense mega-babe who isn't afraid no-one. Take the opening scene, for example, it shows her aggressively prancing up and down Hollywood Boulevard with her gal pals. Solidifying her toughness, her strutting style is awash with an unfermented feistiness. Sheathed in light blue satin trousers (which is apt, since her gang is called "The Satins"), a light blue, chest-enhancing tube-top, and a light blue headband (as you probably guessed, light blue is her preferred colour for this evening), Brenda, and, to a lesser extent, her friends, stalk the streets looking for trouble.

As they're walking down the street (window shopping, perusing smutty magazines, eating ice cream), trouble actually finds them in the form of The Scars, a gang lead by Jake (Robert Dyer), an ill-tempered thug with a Boston accent. Coming close to running over her deaf-mute sister Heather (Linnea Quigley) with their convertible, this near tragedy causes Brenda and Jake to pepper one another verbal insults. Realizing that he was in wrong, Jake apologizes to the girls. Well, actually, Jake makes Fargo (Sal Landi), the strongest member of The Scars, apologize -- you know, since he was driving. Either way, the two gangs go their separate ways.

Unsatisfied by the way the altercation with The Scars played out, and still reeling over the fact her sister was nearly killed by a bunch of contemptible lowlifes, Brenda devises a plan to get back at them. Okay, I wouldn't exactly call stealing their car, going for a joy ride, and filling said car with clumps of Hollywood trash when they're finished with it the kind of action that needs a plan. But that's precisely what the girls end up doing. Of course, the whole joy ride episode upsets The Scars like you wouldn't believe. Sure, their car, other than being a little smelly from all the garbage, is still drivable, but you could totally tell they were not going to let this go.

Unamused by the fact they're being forced to exercise (they get plenty of cardio stalking the streets of Hollywood on a nightly basis) in the school's gym, Brenda and her friends, Rachel (Debra Blee), Francine (Lisa Freeman), Stevie (Marcia Karr), Maria (Luisa Leschin), and Stella (Ina Romeo), move their shapely bodies with as little enthusiasm as humanly possible.

Speaking of shapely bodies, while Linda Blair gets the majority of the attention in the film, and justifiably so (she wields a crossbow in skintight clothing), I thought Marica Karr (Killer Workout) was the most attractive member of Brenda's gang. The sight of Marcia (who's a dead ringer for Gina Gershon) hopping around in that cut-off tank-top (which, in actuality, was an altered Specials t-shirt that was not cut-ff but rather cinched above the waist), striped leotard bottom, and those black footless tights (the clingy material pressing snugly against her tender thighs) during the exercise sequence was a thing of erection-based beauty.

We're introduced to two more female characters in the form of Cindy (Rebecca Perle) and Valerie (Kristi Somers), two blonde, bubbly cheerleaders. Taking exception with the fact that Wes (Brian Frishman), her purported boyfriend, was flirting Brenda while she pretended to exercise, Cindy confronts her in the girls locker room and basically tells her to stay away from him. A fight breaks out, which eventually moves to showers. Surrounded by a weird mix of clothed and naked girls, Brenda and Cindy battle it out in the school's steam-laden girl's shower room (a couple of naked girls can be seen fighting with one another in the background, but the exact nature of their beef is unclear).

Meanwhile, back in the gymnasium, as Brenda and Cindy are being reprimanded by Principal "Go Fuck an Iceberg!" Underwoord (John Vernon) in his office, the Scars are laying a nasty trap for Heather. As the punk-infused Red (Scott Mayer) plays nice with her (he's pretending to be an upstanding gentlemen with, albeit, creepier-than-usual overtones), the rest of the Scars, which include the aforementioned Jake, the vest-wearing Fargo, and the pint-size Vince (Johnny Venocur), the only Scar who actually still goes to school, wait for their opportunity to strike.

What takes place next is a brutal gang rape, which obviously sets the stage for Brenda's revenge. Of course, she doesn't know who's responsible for the crime, so she ends up spending most of her time brooding at a local nightclub and getting in fights with Cindy, the cheerleader (in a classic scene, Brenda forcibly removes her rival's top during a science class dust-up). However, when she does find out, the Scars better watch out, because Brenda takes her revenge seriously. How seriously? Well, let's just say, she has an already outfit picked out for the occasion (when seeking retribution, never, and I mean, never, underestimate the importance of fashion).

Whether calling an insensitive gang member a "motherfucking moron," or pulling at the hair of a blonde adversary, the pugnacious Linda Blair exudes a genuine quality that comes across like a burning sceptre floating in a mound of mucus. In other words, when the contents of her right fingerless glove make a fist, you know every rapist in town will be expelling a fair amount of pee come judgment day.

video uploaded by Tony


  1. The opening scene you mention, with Linda Blair strutting down the street like an awkward extra in a Miami Sound Machine video, is one of the greatest movie moments I've ever witnessed.

    Seriously...I think I rewound that scene at least a dozen times before I could even get on with the rest of the movie.

  2. "An awkward extra in a Miami Sound Machine video..."

    Not just an extra, but an awkward extra. Well put. :D

  3. I have been dying to see this one, and ordered it from eBay but then the seller said it was damaged and returned my money. :-( I need to see Linda in a role where she is not the meek good-girl getting her butt kicked by Sybil Danning, or a reasonable facsimile.

  4. You haven't seen Savage Streets?!? I'm actually a little shocked by this. Anyway, yeah, you need see this flick...asap. Oh, thanks for the reminder to check out Chained Heat. :)

  5. I had to order it yesterday. I am not sure how I have avoided it for so long, however I have never seen cultural staples Top Gun or E.T. either.

  6. Best 80's soundtrack ever