Friday, September 12, 2008

Switchblade Sisters (Jack Hill, 1975)

A bluntly-worded insult followed by a sharp blade-like object to the upper thorax is what you'll get if you mess with the Dagger Debs, the estrogen-enriched harpies that populate the point-blank netherworld of Switchblade Sisters (a.k.a. The Jezebels), Jack Hill's wonderfully hep ode to womanliness, free-and-easy knife usage, alliterative gang names, and denim short shorts. Taking no prisoners in terms of cleverly-phrased revilement, feminine formidability, and righteous indignation, this excessively badass film is an action-packed treat for the senses. Sadistic jail guards being throttled with toilet cleaning accouterments, urban combat - complete with armored cars and petrol bombs, a roller rink shootout, fro-friendly soul sisters quoting Mao, and a perennially-peckish knife-wielder with immaculate cleavage are just a pittance of the awesomeness on display here. Fusing together toxic dialogue and chaotic action scenes, this flick is one wild ride. A straight-shooting non-epic that follows the rambunctious adventures of The Dagger Debs, and their male counterparts: The Silver Daggers (a thick mane of black hair and a leather vest seem to be the only prerequisites). These two gangs have just acquired a new member, a feisty young go-getter named Maggie (Joanne Nail). The leader of the manly Daggers, Dominic (a virile Asher Brauner), as you would expect, desperately wants to put his penis inside the vagina of this eager new member.

However, Dominic's girlfriend, Lace (Robbie Lee), who just happens to be the leader of the Debs, is probably gonna be a tad upset by this turn of events. After all, it was Lace who helped shepherd Maggie into the gang in the first place. Anyway, this gangland love triangle threatens to tear apart the unisex collective just when they need to be strong and unified. 'Cause you see, the capitalistic fancy boys of The Crabs, a garish assemblage of rapists, bed wetters and drug pushers lead by a guy named, duh, Crabs (Chase Newhart), are moving in on their turf, and in the process, endangering the Dagger way of life as we know it.

Now, picking a favourite character from a film like Switchblade Sisters, while, on the surface, seems like it would be an arduous process. I mean, with characters with names like Muff, Patch, Bunny and Donut, I can't see how it wouldn't be a tough decision. Nevertheless, my affection went immediately towards Robbie Lee's Lace, the cutest li'l hoodlum on the block.

Don't get me wrong, Monica Gayle exudes an eye-patch-enhanced duplicity as Patch (the conniving puppet master of the gang), the delicious Kitty Bruce had a dignified air about her as the incessantly-bullied Donut, Joanne Nail provided the mandatory legginess (knee-high boots accentuated by a saucy pink top), and Don Stark (the permed neighbour from That '70s Show) oozed impotent sleaze as Hook.

There was just something about Robbie Lee's poignant portrayal that made me jump for abstract joy. Maybe it was the leather biker cap, or maybe it was her nasty disposition that won me over, either way, Lace was the shit in this movie. Boasting what has be the sexiest speaking voice on the planet (her tempestuous utterances were like a warm torrent of hobo piss careening off the side of a newly erected bus shelter), Robbie repeatedly poked and prodded at the contents of my kooky heart, creating a complex character that deserves a truckload of pity and an oversize thimble of love.

video uploaded by TrashDivine

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