Oct 7, 2011

Savage Streets


Considered by few to be a masterpiece in exploitation, Savage Streets is first and foremost a vehicle for Linda Blair to "professionally" bare her breasts. Even though this scene only stretches about a minute long with a slow and calculated pan across a bathtub, it is painfully obvious that her impunity paired with attitude was the second mark to meet. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if production of Savage Streets was funded simply from the premise of Linda Blair in leather wielding a crossbow, cleavage absolute. Caught on the rebound by director Danny Steinmann, who would later direct the runt of the Friday the 13th series (A New Beginning), Savage Streets pumps up the vigilante formula with effervescent colors, leg-warmers, and a typical 'tude to tease and flaunt a harsh and particular sexuality on the winners ground. Opening with a contrast of the Satins and the Scars, even adhering to a Venn diagram of sorts in comparing and contrasting the extremities of pack formations, in this case suburban violence - Vince is first introduced duping his parents into believing he's pursuing honest intentions, only then trading his would-be letterman jacket for a leather jacket. These actions justify a means, the obligatory summation of "do you know where your children go at night?". This (presently) pointless question is soon answered as we witness Vince jump into the back of a Bel-Air convertible, rendezvousing with his gang, The Scars. These boisterous boys are heeded only by their ignorance for at first they seem as if they could fit the archetype of being generally rowdy, even playful. But the light soon parts and their darker intentions are shown in a serious of shakedowns which include ripping off the shirt of a buxom blonde in front of her boyfriend. It was a shame Steinmann didn't seize the opportunity or the advantage while he had it. God knows how much good would have came out of a single tear streaming down her cheeks as her breasts are groped by strange men. More-so, a simple look of dismay did not emphasize what could have been an above excellent (as well as arousing) scene. Note of interest - why not rape the beautiful aforementioned blonde rather than the timid, handicapped sister? Then again, power is the play and the Scars have more than enough sexual curiosities to work out.




With the Satins at the core of the story, we are indebted to enjoy the company of Brenda, Francine, and Heather, Brenda's deaf sister. The several hilarious and tragic (maintaining hilarity) confrontations between the sexes can have ample blame rerouted back to the Satins. It is them who strike first by stealing the convertible of the Scars while busy attempting to collect a nigh mentioned sum of money from the local jocks on account of "blow". Never mind the scene in which The Scars almost hit Heather with a car. Why the imperfect vessel of chastity is trotting around decrepit city streets at night with a gang of collected loose inhibitions is beyond me. It would appear that the Scars terrorize while the Satins tease, giving both sides a gender-specific lethality - men control and abuse while women seduce and destroy. That's not to bring the role of Heather into this mix though. That's not to say I don't believe in inklings of innocence. The fact of the matter is, Heather is cattle. Created by a Norman Yonemoto, Heather's character is a senseless shell serving a strict purpose for rape. She exists solely to be violated, thrusting our cast of women into a level of aggression and panic. As comes the revenge, so must the inciting incident. Soon enough will the Scars repay a small slight against their street credibility by raping a deaf/mute girl and as per aged rape-revenge talents, will force the runt of the group to savage their forcefully seized property.




An interesting aspect of The Scars is their general homoerotic behavior, frequently at play. You'll see the leader of the Scars, Jake, grab the crotches of his kinsfolk as well as tugging the pants down off Vince in a heated fury. Gearing Vince's libido towards a potential victim, sure, but the spark in Jake's eyes as well as his lecherous stare either suggest that the character in which Robert Dryer portrayed fostered homosexual condolences or Robert Dryer himself found himself an on-set muse. Do I even need to mention the locking of lips as a form of taunting, of which was allegedly improvised, so stated Danny Steinmann in an interview? I like to consider Dryer's part of improvisation to concede towards a form of theatrical subconscious submission. The frothing hyper-sexuality of the Satins intermittently clash with the flamboyantly feral Scars, as well. To bring about, again, the questioning of the Scars motivations - I find it interesting to note the choice of victim on Jake's part. The Scars definitely succeeded in hand-selecting the mousiest and most timid girl of all, somewhat resembling a creature from The Secret of Nimh. If Savage Streets were to be acknowledged for anything other than a brief spurt of crossbow vigilantism or Linda Blair's dirty pillows it would be for a neon-bathed battle of the sexes in which the body count outweighs the potential requirement for a viewing. I found the city of Savage Streets to boast clever flickers and splotches of light, fruitful characters whose moral scale has been past compromised, and enough hearty violence to spread evenly across 93 minutes. However, I cannot place a crown on a film unworthy of exploitation royalty, especially one whose smoldering legacy refuses to burn out after left to the elements. Babes, bolts, and badgering - Savage Streets is a silly relic of simpler times. I won't cut the ribbon of approval yet but I wholeheartedly agree its investments into revenge have more benevolence than that of the wavering vigilante pool that is modern cinema.


-mAQ

1 comment:

DIONYSOS ANDRONIS said...

"SAVAGE STREETS" IS A UNIVERS CLODE TO THAT NOVEL :
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« Guerriers amoureux » un roman de Jean-Louis Costes (2013) Éditions Eretic, pp.285

Ce quatrième roman de notre performer préféré Jean-Louis Costes est le deuxième à être présenté par nous. Son « Un bunker en banlieue » a reçu notre critique positive à son époque. C’est une histoire pleine d’imprévus de trois amis qui décident de fuir la banlieue pauvre parisienne puisqu’ils se sentent « étranger(s) chez les immigrés » (op.cit. page 6). Pour souligner notre exception qui n’est pas commune avec Costes je vais emprunter les mots de son premier héros : « pédé est le pire tabou dans la cité » (op.cit. page 19). La force d’anticipation du récit s’accentue avec les fautes de frappe intentionnelles et poétiques qui reviennent sans cesse est dont la meilleure serait « la bitte» (avec deux t). Ces fautes de frappe intentionnelles attribuent une dimension authentiquement underground au roman. Nous étions le premier à écrire sur son court métrage « Saul et la magicienne » de 1997, un film qui se déroule également en Guyane comme la première partie du roman.
Patou le kabyle et blanc est amoureux de la haïtienne et noire Darlène à Sant Denis et il rêve de lui offrir un meilleur avenir en faisant appel aux dons de la « bombe atomique de la magie » (op.cit. page 41). Il part en Guyane, dans la forêt amazonienne, pour écouter « la chanson favorite de Hitler » (page 65) sifflé par Klaus, le colosse blanc et allemand qui cherche aussi à faire fortune dans les mines d’or clandestines de la région. Ce dernier ferait mieux de diriger « une bande de scouts dont le chef serait Charles Manson » (op.cit page 105). « Tant pis s’il était antisémite » (op.cit. Page 93), pour honorer la passé de son pays, puisque le vrai pouvoir ce sont les incas donc impossible pour Klaus de faire fortune dans cet endroit. Mais malheureusement ce dernier sera tué par Pepita, une paysanne de la région qui fait des rêves de partir avec Patou en France. Infecté dans ses périples dans la jungle ce dernier sera accueilli et soigné par une famille de Hmongs.
Momo le beur, fraichement sorti de prison, arrive en Afrique dans un pays qui serait le Tchad ou le Sénégal : «l’équipage de l’avion qui le transporte porte des uniformes français » (op.cit. Page 201). Mais un malentendu important sur le nom de l’aérogare de départ « hall £5 » (op.cit. page 205) sera modifié six pages plus loin en « gode SS » (op.cit. Page 211) . Cela nous aide à faire des équations simplistes mais pourtant « l’amour sera changé en haine » (page 204) et la police militaire viendra ramasser Momo. « Un doigt sur la gâchette de Famas » (modifié intentionnellement page 212). C’est en arrivant sur cette page-clé que nous réalisons que « bitte » et toutes les autres fautes de frappe étaient vraiment intentionnelles.
Darlène la noire arrive à Brooklyn pour témoigner sur la présence de l’ange de l’Apocalypse Israfil, un ange qui appartient à la religion hébraïque. C’est sur place qu’elle constatera le déclin sioniste de l’empire américain et notera l’arrivée du « Christ avec des zombis noirs » (op.cit. Page 251). Nous laissons les derniers mots de conclusion au Grand Intellectuel Laurent James : «Jean-Louis Costes est un des plus grands écrivains catholiques de France…S'il se couvre le visage de boue et d'excréments sur scène, c'est parce qu'il sait que l'homme a été créé à l'image divine, et qu'il convient de déguiser le visage de Dieu…Pour nous rappeler qu'à l'instar de nos ancêtres paysans, nous pouvons nous aussi redevenir des nègres » dans la revue Cancer n.8, automne 2003.

Écrit par Dionysos Andronis