Welcome to another B-Movie Enema, my dear Enemaniacs!
It’s Mother’s Day weekend here in the United States again. Last year, we celebrated the day as I, a good son, should by covering the killer mother thriller movie from 1995, Mommy. We follow that up again this year with the sequel, Mommy 2: Mommy’s Day. Now, despite it being a considerably lower budget film than the first, let’s talk about how this came to be.
1995’s Mommy was a surprise hit and had a great deal of good reviews, particularly for Patty McCormack in the titular role and young Rachel Lemieux as Mommy’s darling daughter Jessica Ann. I would go so far as to say that the movie works more on Lemieux’s performance than McCormack’s because a great deal of that first film hinged upon us really liking Jessica Ann. Writer/Director Max Allan Collins got the opportunity to make a sequel and he acted upon it. For the most part, the cast returned. The only holdout was Jason Miller who wouldn’t return due to a lowered payday.
Biker flicks were pretty popular between the mid-50s to the mid-70s. But not like the hero rides around on a bike and is bad ass and saves a little town from, I dunno, Nazis or something. No, some of these movies featured down right psychopathic killers on bikes who come in, drink your beer, rape your women, and, I dunno, wore Nazi paraphernalia. Wait… Anyway, here, in America, bikers kind of represented this “take no shit from anyone” kind of attitude that screams conservo-libertarian “shove your rights up your ass, my rights are more important” mindset.
They were a menace to more normal sensibilities of the typical suburban set. So much so, it got to the point where if you wore too much denim or not enough sleeves and didn’t wash your long hair and beard often enough, people were probably thinking you were a biker and probably going to bust heads. Look, I know I’m kind of shot out of a cannon here for the start of this week’s B-Movie Enema review, but I’m catching up to the thread here again.
Okay, so the origins of the “outlaw biker” films go back to Marlon Brando’s The Wild One in 1953. That was the movie that kind of revealed the subculture of biker clubs that had existed for a few years prior. While the success of that film would lead to a lot more movies, and even a book by Hunter S. Thompson about the most famous gang, Hell’s Angels, it really was our ol’ buddy Russ Meyer who made Motorpsycho in 1965 and turned this into a more exploitation type of biker gang flick. By the 70s, biker flicks were exported to the United Kingdom. Maybe our most popular example is this week’s featured flick – 1973’s Psychomania (originally released as The Death Wheelers in the United States).
This week, we have a film from British cinematographer and director Freddie Francis – Girly. Now, this one was more commonly known as Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly in the United Kingdom. We’ll come back around to the utterly bizarre plot of Girly in a bit. First, we should talk about Freddie Francis.
Francis is best known for his work with Hammer Film Productions on films like The Evil of Frankenstein and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave and from Hammer rival Amicus Productions on The Deadly Bees and Tales from the Crypt. But, in truth, Francis was a very keen cinematographer. He twice won Oscars for 1960’s Sons and Lovers and 1989’s Glory. Beyond those films, he has a ton of other significant films he shot like 1980’s The Elephant Man directed by David Lynch, Karel Reisz’s 1981 film The French Lieutenant’s Woman starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, and Martin Scorsese’s creepy as hell 1991 remake Cape Fear.
He also shot Lynch’s 1984 version of Dune, so… you know… they can’t all be winners.
I suppose I should give a little bit of a content warning to this review as our feature, Tomcats, is one of those 70s exploitation flicks that deals with some pretty gross stuff. You’ve got a situation where a group of ne’er-do-wells, okay, I guess I can call them “thugs”… Anyway, you’ve got this group of nogoodniks who gang-rape and kill young ladies. They get off on a technicality so it leads to one of the victims’ brothers deciding to go on a good old fashioned revenge tear to get the justice he was robbed.
So, yeah, content warning on this episode. These are unsavory situations to be sure. I do want to say that this does feel a little like a mix of movies we’ve seen before like Steel and Lace and the all-time classic revenge film I Spit on Your Grave. If I’m being fair, I’ve long wanted to do I Spit on Your Grave, but considering how dark that second act gets, I’ve yet to really go for it. So, instead, we’re giving Tomcats a try.
Welcome to this week’s B-Movie Enema. When I say this was a long time coming it’s because I’ve known of this movie for a long time, had a copy of it, and have always wanted to find some way to talk about it because it exists in a peculiar time of exploitation in the movies – the 1980s. In addition to that, it also has some not insignificant people in the cast. This week, I’m going to be digging into the Danny Steinmann film Savage Streets starring Linda Blair.
I’ve been looking for a way to cover this movie somehow. I got it with the possibility of it being featured either here at B-Movie Enema or as part of a theme month of movies with the word “Savage” in the title over at Film Seizure. However, considering I have an extensive backlog of movies to feature here, I decided I needed to pull the trigger and clear this one off the list. By the way, A LOT of next year is going to be clearing backlog, but I digress. Let’s start looking at the people involved with this movie, beginning with director Danny Steinmann.