The Hellcats – Reviewed by Skids Poppe
I’ve been at this for a while now, at least a couple of years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this film. Sure, I’ve been screening documentaries recently and I know how everybody wants me to get back to doing real movies (thanks for cards and letters) so I go to the video store and try to find something I know you will all appreciate. When I saw the box for this one, I thought I had it.
The box shows (look at the picture while you read along) an attractive chick wearing leopard print and leather and a hat and carrying a riding crop. This girl looks like my dream date, or the makings of a great film about bikers. And then the name: Hellcats. Who could ask for more? I read the back and find out it’s about five girls with names like Candy and Linda and they run this gang being infiltrated by an ex-army guy who wants to know which one of the gang bangers killed his brother. I’m gonna like this one.
I watched the tape. And did I like it? Yes…and no.
The first thing was that while the box had been done and copyrighted in 1986, the film was considerably older. Guantanamo (who you remember from my columns), noticed that all the cars were no later than 1968. I trust him when it comes to this stuff. Either way, I’d be happy. So here we sit, watching a grainy 1968 film about bikers. But it’s okay.
After the brother gets killed (you’re never quite sure about anybody’s name, except the hero, whose name is Monte), Monte shows up to find out who did. He makes a small name for himself within this small-minded gang (They’re into drug running and their biggest ‘score’ do far is two pounds of cocaine. Come on…I watch the news, I know 2 pounds isn’t even enough to prosecute for anymore.). Once Monte is kinda-sorta accepted by the gang, he has to undergo initiation. This means he gets his ankles tied to one tryke while he hangs on to a pull bar from another and the two trykes go real fast in different directions trying to pull him apart. His job, He has to do this for fifteen seconds. No stuntmen here (they couldn’t afford one), Ross Hagen did this himself. This is what I love about this kind of film, the way they draw the parallels between modern day bikers and Roman gladiators. But this isn’t the weird part. Oh no, the weird part is when those wonderful money-grubbing, jump on the band wagon for any trend that comes along, fly by night producers try to invade our beloved genre with music. Good rock and roll, sure, but this one turns into a musical! Every ten minutes or so, some song comes across the soundtrack and the entire cast starts dancing around. The acting wasn’t that great to begin with, but these folks certainly can’t dance. Especially when the film takes that dramatic turn and they end up fighting to a Monkees tune on a boat in the middle of LA.
Okay, it’s not the art it could have been, but for ninety minutes, it sure beats watching the news to see how depressing reality can be.
Skids would like the opportunity to prove he can direct a better biker film than the other slime-eyes doing it.