I Saw a Film!
Herschel Gordon Lewis piloted this turkey, and he’s got a long list of some of the worst films ever made. Rambling, incoherent, seemingly constructed of used parts, and without defined characters or plot. Not all of that is true here, but certainly is of Monster a Go-Go, and Blood Feast, and who could forget 2000 Maniacs? All of us could! The stuff is eminently forgettable.
In this film we’re offered the promise of a hard-core all lady biker gang (just look at the lobby card!), immoral and loveless, out for kicks and beholden to no one. What we actually get is not very much like that. While it includes some pointlessly vile action, including one of the little ladies getting badly beaten to death, and a decapitation of the rival gang-leader, the film meanders mostly around the ladies in their pastel colors, behaving like goofy kids at a birthday party. There’s crappy limericks and other random posturing for the camera ( which is often planted and the ladies drive up to it dismount and gambol around). The gang is called “Man-eaters”, but don’t get the idea that you’re going to be treated to lots of careless sexy play. Their wild-life is basically partying with some willing dolts at a club house love-shack, smoking a lot of cigarettes and dry humping. As usual the brand of “outlaw” being depicted looks more like the sad parent’s basement of a high school “bad girl”. They race their bikes to decide who gets first pick of the louts that are willing to shack up with them.
Like most of these BDSM flavored, Dominatrix-flirting “battles of the sexes” (binary, of course) films, much of the story revolves around the ladies who don’t quite fit into the gang’s “rules” and are abused by the women. One of the rules, just like in The Million Eyes of Su Muru (same year) is no love! So I can imagine a kind of immature toddler-appeal of a push-back on love in 1967’s “Summer of Love”, but this silly crayon sketch of a bunch of muppets on motorcycles just ain’t it. No matter how tough the Queen tries to come off it’s hard not to see the cameraman aiming at her rump, and the snickers of the assembled actors. When the ladies get into an actual brawl with a male biker gang, they somehow manage to win the altercation without a single power of their own, no particular skills or tools for turning that tide! We’re supposed to imagine it’s based on will, like a kind of pro-wrestling match where the baby-face becomes empowered by the enthusiasm of the audience. Though our poster keeps imploring us to “See!” we really don’t see much.
There’s no one to cheer for, no identity to admire. There’s no stake to overcome that really matters except the revenge for their poor friend. Is there a way of life we’re admiring? How do they finance themselves? Who pays the rent? Is there any benefit to the all lady gang that allows them to succeed where their male counterparts fail? Some box of pain they can stick their hands in and avoid the gom jabbar?
The usual fantasy of women just behaving with the careless selfishness of immature men, is barely alluded to and in fact even pushed back on within their gang! Love matters! And she does love despite the orders. Instead of playing that story out however (and there might have been a tad more, but it’s like trying to read smoke signals at night) the film flits between attempting to titillate and attempting to shock. Unfortunately the film mostly just amuses.
This could be fun stuff, but it’s so poorly executed it touches nothing. Even when the climactic violence plays out, the overall feeling is one of resignation. The film ends abruptly with the ladies being arrested and just sort of giving up all together.
This is a freebie on Prime but unless you’re interested in getting a feel for HG Lewis’s exploitative efforts to make a buck on the drive-in circuit you should really steer clear. If you decide you want to attempt it, check out the hilarious folksy song opening, sung out of tune to establish your gang!