Thursday, November 14, 2013

Savage Streets and an Exploration of it's Deeper Theme's

5 of 5 viewers "Liked" "Savage Streets" (1984, USA)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Huntress - "All the components of an awesome 80's movie. I'm glad it made it to the big screen." - 5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "The trappings of camp are worn with such grace that this epitome-of-80's-revenge rises above it's genre with high production values, compelling & convincing female leads, and a brilliant soundtrack whose narration of the films themes is surprisingly enjoyable rather than laughable (though still also laughable)." - 4 Stars

Lord Battle - "This film has it all: Blood, boobs, and Linda Blair. The only thing that hurts this film is the fact it's just not crappy enough to be a classic B-film." - 4 1/2 Stars

The Great Hornito - "Cool revenge 80's movie. Great soundtrack and nostalgic moments. My only complaint was Linda Blair wasn't very convincing and some of the revenge moments were not satisfying enough." - 4 1/2 Stars

Math Mage - "Crossbows are simple weapons, so it is reasonable that our heroine is proficient in them." - 3 Stars

Ice Giant - "Great 80's sexplotation movie, Linda Blair got super hot!" - 3 1/2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
The screening of "Savage Streets" a couple weeks ago marked everyone's first time viewing this film. I had thought we were in for a campy romp through the 80's, so that's how I sold the film to everyone and damn I was wrong. What I thought would be a bloody horror film dressed up as a revenge flick turned out to be  a drama that featured a slew of awesome themes hidden under a sea of boobs. "Savage Streets" is one of B cinemas more talked about films, so I'm going to stay away from things most discussed like: the ocean of breast, Linda Blair's terrible acting (which Ice Giant has pointed out, won her a Razzie), and "The Scars" who are awesome. 
The poster I used this time around is not my favorite (my favorite can be found below) but a close second, it also has something I wanted to talk about printed on it. "The Gang War of the Sexes!" is a big theme in "Savage Streets", one that isn't as clear as this poster makes it. Sure, each gang exclusively features members of their respective sex, but the "Gang War of Sex" isn't as black and white as you think. The Scars are a pretty typical macho bunch of dudes, each even going as far as to represent a different type of douche. We have the pony boy, the Rambo wannabe, the pseudo goth metro prick, and Jake (Robert Dryer) is your typical sociopath. 
The women are a little more complicated, sure they have a token black character (who's one liners hold a lot of wisdom) and the hopelessly innocent little sister, but our lead Brenda is a pretty complicated character. She is constantly fighting throughout the film but until the second half, it's with women. Her place in society is not a celebrated one, for she is an independent woman who's turned her back on god and is now raising her little sister, Heather (Linnea Quigley). The reason I make it a point to bring up her descent from god is simple, it's important. It's not a huge moment when she reveals this but it is significant. The films use of nudity works on two levels, first, the obvious one is people enjoy it (yes people, you sexist!), second it makes you think of Brenda and her sexuality. I'm not saying she's a lesbian but I am saying ever since her dad died and she gave up on god she's become a free spirit, no longer playing by society's rules. In a blunt sense she is most likely a slut, and this would explain why the cheerleaders boy lusts for her, and more importantly why Jake knows her. This puts her at odds with the rest of her gym class, which in turn offers up a very obvious visual metaphor in the form of a fight that takes place in the center of naked women standing in running showers (sorry to ruin this classic B movie scene with meaning). Brenda at this point has already transformed into an overbearing ex-christian (or catholic, since there is a lot of guilt here) of a father, which is why her little sister has to be raped to make this movie work. As a long time fan of horror, I feel I'm much more desensitized to visceral imagery but one thing that still evokes a pure emotion out of me, is a  rape of a female character (or Indiana Jones). This has proven to work from "Deliverance" to "Evil Dead" and there is only one thing that will make the audience feel better, vigilante justice.
After having said all that I can't help but bring up the fact that the one girl who prominently wares a giant crucifix throughout the movie ends up pregnant, engaged to a douche and thrown off an overpass, go figure. 
The Berkeley Blazer brought up some other good themes hidden in this film, but I feel I've written too much already, since the idea is to do a quick review with a wrap up. But what can I say, I love defending B movies.
- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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