Thursday, May 22, 2014

She-Devils on Wheels (Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1968)

Two fully-clothed orgies, two abandoned runway motorcycle races (the winner gets first dibs when the time comes to select the kind of cock they want to penetrate with their pussy), one poetry slam session, one airport runway adjacent biker brawl, one missing belly chain, and a whole lotta funky vests: Welcome to the feminist hellscape that is She-Devils on Wheels, a.k.a. Man-Eaters on Motorbikes. Ah, I couldn't help but notice that your eyes lit up when I alluded to the fact that this film may contain a plethora of funky vests. Well, my friend, your ocular luminosity is totally justified, as the vests in this movie are to die for. Coming in a wide array of colours (including leopard print!), the vests worn by the Man-Eaters, the toughest all-girl bike gang the mean streets of Medley, Florida have ever seen, are the hot ticket item of the season. Boasting a picture of a fang-heavy pink kitty cat wearing a bow-tie, the vests are only given out to those who are willing to live by the Man-Eater code. A strict doctrine that primarily involves abusing members of the male gender and repeatedly sticking it to The Man, the Man-Eater code, if broken, can lead to serious consequences. In other words, joining the Man-Eaters may be hazardous to your health. On the plus side, you do get to participate in sex parties, motorcycle races, rumbles, and, most importantly, you get your own vest!

I wonder what the Man-Eaters' policy is on allowing men to join their gang? What am I saying, of course men can't join, they're Man-Eaters, not the Man-Lovers.

Hmmm, this puts me in a bit of a bind, as I desperately want one of those vests.

Do they accept cross-dressers? I mean, if I showed up wearing teal hot pants, gold go-go boots and a long blonde wig, would they let me join? Actually, I think they would show my ass the door just for wearing teal hot pants with gold go-go boots. Seriously, what was I thinking when I put that ensemble together? God, I'm such an idiot. Here I am, trying to join a gang that only allows exceedingly attractive women to join, and I blow my chances almost immediately with a major fashion faux pas.

Okay, I realize that some of you might have spit out your prune juice the moment when I said, "exceedingly attractive women." But I won't back down from that statement. Just to prove how sincere I am, I'll say it again: The women who appear in She-Devils on Wheels are exceedingly attractive.

What I liked about the Man-Eaters was that they looked authentic. And it turns out, they are... authentic, that is. What I mean is, they're really bikers. Sure, they probably don't belong to a bike gang, but they're definitely the ones who are riding the motorcycles in this movie. That's right, no stunt doubles or cute camera tricks, these chicks are the real deal. Besides, Herschell Gordon Lewis isn't kind of director to hire expensive stunt performers or employ camera tricks, cute or otherwise.

Now, I'm not implying H.G.L. is cheap or lacks know-how. I'm just saying he brings a no frills approach to filmmaking that is rather refreshing.

Other than having your film be about an all-girl biker gang who wear flashy vests, one surefire way to get in my good graces to open your movie with a catchy song. And She-Devils on Wheels does not disappoint in that regard as it gives us the classic, "Get Off The Road" (words by Herschell Gordon Lewis, music by Robert Lewis), right out of the gate. If the movie turned out to be nothing but seventy minutes of Pat Poston's Whitey doing naked jumping jacks, I still would have given the movie a passing grade based solely on the awesomeness of the film's theme song.

"We are the hellcats nobody likes. Man-eaters on motorbikes... Get off the road!"

Long legs! Black boots! Puke green hot pants! Motorbikes! A scrappy theme song. This is how you start a biker movie. No, forget a biker movie, this is how you start every movie.

Leaving her place of residence in a beige skirt and getting into a red automobile, Karen (Christie Wagner) is up to something. Chucking the beige skirt for a pair of puke green hot pants and trading in the car for a motorbike at an undisclosed location, Karen obviously doesn't want her mother to think she's in an all-girl bike gang. Hence, the elaborate deception.

On top of making the changes I already alluded to, Karen also dons the vest of the Man-Eaters.

Meeting up with a fellow Man-Eater named Terry (Ruby Tuesday), a dirty blonde with a ferocious sneer, Karen rides to Man-Eater headquarters (a dilapidated shack just off the Interstate). When they arrive, we see that Whitey (Pat Poston) is fixing her Harely. The reason she's fixing it is because the Man-Eaters have a race coming up. You see, the Man-Eaters race one another to determine the pecking order of who gets the first pick out of the many low-life studs they have stashed away in their harem.

Judging by the way Queenie (Betty Connell), the leader of the Man-Eaters, is thrusting her bountiful crotch to-and-fro, it's obvious she's not happy about something. And wouldn't you know it, the cause of this unhappiness is Karen-related. The thing is, Queenie is wary of what she sees as Karen's lack of enthusiasm for the Man-Eater lifestyle. This wariness on the part of Queenie plays an important role in how the film plays out, as every action usually has something to do with the tension between the two bikers.

You would think, given her preference for tight-fitting trousers, that Queenie would be in danger of exposing the shape of her labia. However, that's not the case at all, as not once did I notice anything that came close to resembling the toe of a camel. And believe me, I looked long and hard to try to uncover some kind of vaginal indentation, but came up vag-empty every time.

Anyway, it's race time. And you know what that means? It's time to meet the other Man-Eaters. This scene, the one that takes place moments after the race is finished, is critical to learning their names, as you won't get another chance. It's clear that Queenie is the leader, Whitey is second in command, Karen is the reluctant biker and Terry is the one who sneers a lot.

As for the rest... Well, you see the spunky one with strawberry blonde hair, that's Honey Pot (Nancy Lee Noble), she's not a fully-fledged member of the Man-Eaters, but she hopes to be one someday.

The two brunettes are Russian (Joani Kramer) and Supergirl (Donna Stelzer) and the two redheads are are Deita (Roz Cohen) and Mac (Laura Platz). I'm afraid that's it as far as names go, as I couldn't quite make out what Honey Pot was saying when she identified the other Man-Eaters (she was in charge of keeping track of what place each Man-Eaters came in during the race).

Though, using deductive reasoning, the blonde in the gold pants has to be Poodle (Donna Testa). I mean, let's get real folks. Blonde hair + Gold pants = Poodle. It's that simple.

Pay close attention to Poodle's body language during the stud selection process, it's clear as a day that she would rather be out hitting on chicks at one of  Medley's numerous dyke bars.

After the stud selection process is complete (the suspense surrounding which piece of low-rent man-candy Whitey will chose is palpable - I guess there were no chubby chasers in the house), a clothed orgy ensues. Well, actually, a clothed wrestling match ensues, as the style of groping they engage in wasn't even close to being sexual. If I had to list one gripe about this movie, it would be the lack of nudity. The film would have so much better had the two clothed orgies had been more pornographic in nature.

Did anyone notice that I used the word "gripe" in the above paragraph? No? Well, it would seem that gripe was a popular word in 1968, as not only does Whitey use it in this film, so does Big Shim in the classic film, She Mob. To make matters even more factual, they use it in the exact same manner. As in: "What's the gripe?"

Sporting his trademark use of colour (like I said, the Man-Eater vests come in a wide array of colours and Queenie's crotch is always draped in brightly coloured fabrics) and boasting a couple of effective gore moments (a man's head is severed at one point and another man is dragged face down behind a Man-Eater motorcycle), Herschell Gordon Lewis has made a–get this–feminist(!), proto-riot grrrl masterpiece with She-Devils on Wheels.


  1. If a woman ever gets elected US president, she needs to walk out to give her acceptance speech to the tune of the Man-Eaters theme song. That's what I would do anyway.

    1. Either that or Lee Aaron's "Whatcha Do to My Body."