Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Switchblade Sisters:a chick flick from the old school

I recently joined Netflix,which now gives me access to a broader range of films like the one Little Sister and I watched over the weekend,Switchblade Sisters. Thanks to Quentin Tarantino(whose Rolling Thunder company released it on DVD),this little grindhouse gem is available for your viewing pleasure. It stars Robbie Lee as Lace,the leader of the Dagger Debs,the female counterparts of the Silver Daggers. When Maggie(played by Joanne Nail),a new girl in the hood shows up and winds up becoming Lace's new best friend,it rankles Patch(Monica Gayle),who considers herself to be second in command.

Maggie also catches the eye of Dominic(Asher Brauner),the head of the Silver Daggers and Lace's man. That doesn't stop him from forcing his attentions on Maggie,which gives Patch some ammo to use against her with Lace. There's a rival gang that's looking to move in on Dagger turf and the cops are determined to crack down on the gang warfare. Plenty of drama bombs go off as Lace and Maggie begin to turn on one another(with plenty of behind the scenes urging from Patch)which leads to a duel to the death.

This movie is a perfect example of low budget seventies film,from the amazingly bad outfits to the constant brandishing of switchblades that look as scary as Halloween costume props and the interesting feminist vibe of the piece. At one point in the story,Maggie takes over the girl gang,renames them Jezebels(which was the original title of the film)and tosses the guys out. They team up with a black militant girl group across town to take out a mutual male rival gang that fronts as a charitable organization in a battle that would make Rambo envious.

Tarantino gives an intro and outro talk about the film(you can find it in the bonus features)and does a commentary with Jack Hill,the director who is best known for such B movie classics as Coffy,Foxy Brown and Spider Baby. I didn't listen to the commentary(never have the patience for those things)but in the bookend bits,he compares the plot to Shakespeare's Othello with Monica Gayle's character as Iago. After seeing the film,you do see his point and it's really not a stretch there.

There are several other Jack Hill films out on DVD like The Big Doll House,The Big Bird Cage,Swinging Cheerleaders and Pit Stop,some of which will make it onto my Netflix queue(I love the thought of having a video"queue",sounds so British!)now that my appetite has been whetted by Switchblade Sisters. Sure,I'll catch up on some old Bette Davis movies and the newest releases but feeding my cult movie jones is a priority. If you're bored by what's in theaters or at BlockBuster,I highly recommend gathering your girls together for this slice of 1970s cinema. How can you resist a movie that has a character named Donut,I ask you?


PJS said...

Looks like fun. Sorta reminds me of the video short "Sorority Girls from Hell"

lady t said...

Just the word "Sorority" in a title guarantees some so-bad-it's-good fun. One of my all time favorite titles is "Sorority Babes at the Slime Ball Bowl-o-rama":)