Apr 7, 2011


On March 4th of the year 2009, I had commented on a pseudo-obituary posted by favorite blogger Phantom of Pulp in which he described his first encounter with a man named James, who they later became great friends and shared film thoughts under a pseudonym. I don't wish to repost his sentiments as they are strong in their own environment and context but I was moved by what Mark Savage had to say about his dearly departed friend. I wanted to offer something, words of encouragement, maybe telling him that everything is alright and that James went on to a better place but I couldn't bring these ideas to fruition and instead left a comment promising him I'd return later with a response. Two years later and I still haven't done that. But I have, however, viewed one of the main topics of his post, Mark Savage's debut feature Marauders (1986). Opening with snapshots of the several actors in what could be interpreted as a slideshow presentation of the "Golden Years", Marauders unfolds rather quickly with the casually intertwined mornings of two sociopaths. J.D. gets his early morning nutrients by killing his mother for getting the police involved with a shady deal and Emilio murders his girlfriend over a simple misunderstanding. Played wonderfully by Zero Montana and Colin Savage (brother to Mark), these two punks represent the dark-seed of society, a lot that Mark Savage admitted to have mingled with. Can you blame him? As Marauders will later indicate, violence is surely an infectious act that will dissolve morality quicker than sugar in coffee.

Now, one thing to understand are the budgetary restraints on Marauders. To quote Mark Savage - "made for a bag of peanuts". For this reason, Marauders is visually unstimulated and would be aptly remembered as a punk rock soap opera. These aren't huge concerns of mine as the storytelling remains solid and the roughness, in the end, grants Marauders with such nihilistic charm that it has pass over minimal complaints. After the initial bouts of violence, J.D. waits on the street corner for Emilio to pick him up in his green automobile. Meanwhile, a bloke named David is on the move to pick up a girl he has convinced he loves in order to rape her at his father's cabin. Their paths cross in a most unfortunate manner as J.D. moves to cross the street and gets clipped by the fast-moving red vehicle which, in turn, creates one of the greatest amateur stunts in an independent production seen yet. Modesty cannot mask this remarkable feat. Actor Zero Montana's implied injury had to have been real as the bumper makes direct contact with the side of his legs, sending him spiraling to the ground, shattering a bottle in his hand. Call it stunt-work or youthful ignorance, Zero Montana could not have possibly walked away from that scene unscathed. Following the hit-and-run is what eventually boils into the exploitation meat of Marauders, the consequential forming of a lynch mob to take down these boys who know no innocence.

The reign of terror committed by these teenagers includes such irrationality as thieving (which my youth succumbed to) and deceiving women with intent towards molestation. Playing David's hopeful mistress for the weekend, Becky, is Megan Napier. Becky's character seems to be chastity personified, even going as far as gushing sweet nothings into David's ear via phone while he's in bed with two other women. This marks a definite sadness as Becky is just a little girl existing in a world of twitching members. Her virginal sanctitude has an expiration date but it hopefully it isn't today. For a truly humorous and cheap thrill, rival her performance of high school sweetheart with her short role in Beyond the Pale in which she swallows the load of a character beaten and burned unconscious. I always found Mark Savage to be a brother in regards to fetish and film and this scene, no, these shorts, cement this notion. Sadly, Marauders seems to suffer a drought from his trademark eroticism, albeit containing handgun irrumatio and a brief scene of rape. What really compliments these scenes of teenage hysteria is the performance of Colin Savage as Emilio. Zero Montana as J.D. represents the "beautiful" side of carnage, with what, his pretty-boy looks. Colin Savage's rude and lavish conservative punk demeanor plays off perfectly the vile side of the original marauders. Emilio is, for certain, the alpha dog of the duo and proves this during a scrappy test of friendship with the obligatory "loveyou" blows.

Marauders is certainly a calculated film. Opening with high-class and thought behind each shot, the result of careful calculation, Marauders soon boils into hectic tracking through an Australian forest as the film culminates into a violent explosion baring a high body count. In a sentence, Marauders can be summarized as a tale of two boys, far from home, angering the locals to the point of inciting citizenry into the titular "marauders". This unsurmisable hatred stems from the appearance of J.D., Emilio, and David onto these townsfolk's stomping grounds. This line of aggression is cast once these embers of oppression roar to life. It isn't just the naivety of J.D. or Emilio. No, David is also guilty of stealing a car and with intent to victimize a young girl. David will unwillingly become martyred by the script of Marauders and during the short solidarity of these three young adults, show you that J.D. and Emilio are, without facade, scared teenagers in a world that has finally to bite back. If justice existed in the world and finances were as they are uncommonly considered - scraps of paper - then perhaps this perfect world would give Mark Savage carte blanche as for his erotic grandeur be told the world over. Marauders is a labor of love; a work that can be attested to stemming from early shorts of Mark Savage's - particularly one titled The Violent Years - though that short contains Colin Savage in a similarly "savage" role, thematically it is worlds apart. The films of Mark Savage are rough diamonds to behold and his early short films are "Kern" without Kern influence. With Marauders in tow and the death of James heavy on my mind, it is no surprise as to why James admired Marauders so and with my long-standing promise of returning sentiments towards the unfair collection of a fellow cinephile, I present my review of Marauders - dedicated to James and the legacy of fertilecelluloid.


1 comment:

Phantom of Pulp said...

Thank you so much, mAQ.

What more can I say?