“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 1989 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Dan Hoskins / Actors: Jamie Rose, Catherine Carlen, Lycia Naff, Vicki Frederick, Kristina Loggia ... / DVD released 2000-11-27 at Troma Inc / Features of the DVD: Letterboxed, PAL „
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Jamie Rose as Dede
Catherine Carlen as Rox
Ed Gale as Bob Littleton
Billy Bob Thornton as Tommy
This 1991 example of mind-boggling silliness in the form of a biker and zombie exploitation movie comes to us courtesy of the incomparable Troma Entertainment, infamous for such cheesefests as 'The Toxic Avenger' (1985), 'Class of Nuke 'Em High' (1986), 'Redneck Zombies' (1987), 'Teenage Catgirls in Heat' (1997) and dozens of other 'so-bad-it's-good' cult classics, spanning from 1971 to the present year. I love their films, which never fail to have me rolling on the floor in disinhibited maniacal laughter at their ridiculousness, a pastime I very much enjoy as you may have guessed from the majority of my film reviews.
This one, however, is particularly notable for featuring the great Billy Bob Thornton in one of his earliest roles, with more hair than we're used to seeing him with.
The film starts with a tough female biker gang called the Cycle Sluts descending upon a small desert town as the opening titles roll. They park up just outside town and their leader Rox gives them a pep talk. 'Okay! Everyone put your colours on! You're The Sluts! Try and act like it!' So, putting on their jackets displaying their gang name and colours, along with a whole lot of attitude, they start their engines again and head for town.
The ladies stop off for a bite to eat in a small café, and meanwhile we cut to scenes depicting two other interesting groups of people: first a busload of angry and sarcastic blind teenage students whose schoolbus has broken down just outside town, standing around being all hysterical and insulting while their beleaguered driver tries to figure out what to do next. One of the teenagers reveals that the driver happens to carry around an Uzi 'for sentimental reasons'. Uh-huh. Then we go to the exterior of a remote dilapidated mine from which a vast number of zombies are breaking the door down to escape. Their arms protrude and wave through the holes they've smashed in the door, and as the door finally gives way, they pile out to the accompaniment of cheery music: 'We'll have some fun and fool around, la la la la la', they sing.
We are then treated to a scene of a mad doctor with his dwarf assistant Bob sitting and talking in their laboratory, together with two dead bodies sitting propped-up in chairs. 'Bring back the dead? You're mad, they said!' Mad Doc recounts bitterly to Bob about his frustrations in being taken seriously. In his conversation with Bob, it is revealed that he is the one responsible for the horde of zombies in the mine: he owns the mine, and he has murdered numerous random townspeople simply for the purpose of making them into helpless zombie slaves to work for him as miners.
So, how do these various very different groups of individuals figure together in the film? All I'll give away is that the escaped zombies run amok in town, and both the Cycle Sluts and the blind Uzi-wielding teenagers feel compelled to do something about this unpleasant situation.
I really like this film, being a big fan of Troma for their distinctive style of ultra-cheesiness. Their wacky plots, crazy characters, corny dialogue and hammy acting always leave me chortling helplessly. Troma films are made with a huge sense of fun and with tongue really wedged into cheek - they're not the sort of films that were made in all seriousness but turn out to be terrible and unintentionally funny, these are actually intentionally made to be terrible and funny from the start. Being an old female biker from way back, I also enjoyed the film for being based around a female biker gang, though I'm not a patch on the toughness and brazenness of these gals! Basically, if you share my taste for cheesiness, so-bad-it's-goodness, totally off-the-wall humour and just plain weirdness, you'll love this film, but if not, you'll probably hate it!
In true B-movie style, the cinematography and direction are cheap and shabby - it has much the look of a 70s exploitation film. The print has a sort of somewhat faded and pinkish cast to it; I don't know if this is intentional or not, but gives it a dated feel that very much makes it appear like something from the 60s or 70s. The acting is true exploitation-type, a mixture of amateurishness and over-exaggerative ham. The characters are all total cliches and stereotypes: the Cycle Sluts are convincingly larger-than-life sluttish, the sarcastic blind teenagers are ultra-scathing and contemptuous, and the mad doctor and his dwarf assistant are straight out of every 1930s and 1940s horror B-movie. I love it.
And of course, the icing on the cake is a very young Billy Bob Thornton in one of his first-ever roles. Here he plays a redneck in the small town, where he proves to be an on-again-often-again boyfriend to one of the Cycle Sluts. He looks endearingly boyish and gormless, with his full (ish) head of hair and chubby cheeks.
This film has a good hard rock soundtrack, as a biker movie should have! There are no extras on the DVD I have, which has the same cover as the DVD depicted at the top of this review - mine was released by Troma via Prism Leisure and dated 2002.
Rated 15 - there's a fair amount of swearing and rude subject matter.
Also on Ciao as thereddragon.