Once again in the tradition of such releases such as the nurses collection and lethal ladies one and two , Shout Factory has seen fit to give us four films from long ago. Perhaps the first thing you will notice this time however is that aside from an R rating, there is no common theme which unites all of the offerings in this set. Even though two of the films are indeed women in prison pictures (yay) the other is a biker film from the day when that was a valid subgenre. Also included is a rare musical comedy about a pretty woman’s talking vagina. Join with me in this random gathering of forgotten films and see if we can’t make some sense of it all?
Angels From Hell (1968)
This is yet another story about a Vietnam Vet comes home from service only to find out that times have changed. Mike is a freshly discharged veteran who dreams of uniting all of the various California gangs and having a 500 biker army for purposes which is assumed to be that of criminal mischief and general mayhem. Admittedly this isn’t much of a dream, but seriously what do you expect from the protagonist of yet another biker movie from the late 60’s? Unfortunately for Mike the town sheriff named Bingham insists that all citizens behave in a legal, decent and law abiding manner at all times. I know that sounds sarcastic, but it even comes across even more onscreen as Bingham is played by Jack Starret, the only actor to play some sort of corrupt cop on every single TV show from the eighties including KNIGHT RIDER, THE A TEAM as well as his memorable portrayal as yet another bent lawman in RAMBO FIRST BLOOD. In this film however, Starret does his best to make peace with the gang and give them as much leeway as he possibly can until they murder an innocent hippie girl in cold blood for no possible apparent reason. I think it’s a shoddy movie about rebels when it actually makes you root for the town sheriff, but this film does exactly this. The fact that the main character looks like the most unflattering mix between Sonny Bono and young Chuck Norris is enough to give most viewers just enough reason never to emphasize with the main character whatsoever. This film is rated R though I can’t begin to tell you why as most of the scenes of sex and violence aren’t even up to par with a recent episode of SONS OF ANARCHY on expanded basic cable. As such these ANGELS FROM HELL are “Born to be Mild”
A humble but pretty beautician named Penelope (Candace Rialson) has just finished making love with her boyfriend Ted as her hoo-hah starts saying suggestive, demeaning and offensive things to him. Because her lady part (named Virginia) speaks with the exact same voice as Penelope, her lover wrongfully assumes that it is she berating his performance and breaks up her at once. Throughout the movie this joke is repeated again and again as lonely Penelope seeks the understanding of many other people throughout the course of the film only to have her talking vagina either make them angry, or want to have sex with her immediately thanks to Virginia’s constant (and stupid) bawdy remarks which passerby assumes came out of her Penelope’s own mouth. In time she sees a psychiatrist named Irwin Corey who talks to Virginia during a therapy session and realizes that she has a gift for singing. He does the least likely thing possible as a licensed therapist and becomes their agent at once, getting her jobs singing on variety shows, game shows and even securing a five picture movie deal. I suppose there is a theme of cute feminist undertones which state that a woman’s expression of her innermost sexual wishes is a complicated thing in a society, yet by the third time a certain vulgar slang word is used to describe either Penelope or Virginia interchangeably for the third time, even the most ardent female viewers may similarly refer to this movie as "the story of an insufferable attention seeking cunt…and her talking vagina".
The Naked Cage (1986)
From the director of CHAINED HEAT comes a similar but less severe story about women’s prison movies that neither punishes nor pleases as much as the original film. Angel Tomkins plays Diane, a young girl who ends up kidnapped by her junkie boyfriend Willie when he and his new escaped convict girlfriend Michelle rob the bank where she is working. Before you can say “wrongfully accused” Willy is shot dead behind the wheel of the getaway car and the two women are charged and ultimately sent to the same prison which quickly devolves into the same old visually meaningless women’s prison staples such as communal shower scenes, a rapist sleaze ball guard, a warden who is a ravenous lipstick lesbian and the inevitable riot at the end during which time Diane will prove she is just a nice girl after all by instigating a fight to the death with Michelle for lying about her role in the bank robbery and getting her sent to prison of the first place. Yet as a typical woman’s prison depiction of “hard time”, the lack of any capable evil characters ability to live up to their stereotypes and expected actions toward Diane whatsoever just came off as…flaccid.
Savage Island (1985)
I reviewed this exact movie for Full Moon here.
This is the exact same movie, but it appears to be remastered and a slightly more vivid print of the film itself.
As someone who has way too many movies that no one should own yet with rapidly diminishing shelf space to show them off them proudly in the most garish possible fashion, I usually like the slim-line three film packs from Shout Factory. All previous triple feature sets revolved around a common theme which makes a particular film them easy to find, even if you have an immense film collection. Moreover, truth be told, no one includes as many extras on a disk as Shout Factory. Yet with this installment we get four unrelated films that few people remember, let alone recollect with little or any fondness. In addition, for the first time on a Shout Factory DVD sent to me there are no sorts of extras whatsoever. Yet the movies themselves are better than you would expect some thirty years later and, this time, it includes four movies instead of three for a lesser price making this marathon more than I bargained for in every possible way.