• Kelly M. Hudson

Savage Streets of Death! (Badass Femme Week Pt. 7)


Brenda (Linda Blair) and her gang of all-girl high school miscreants roam the halls of their school by day, barely keeping their raging adolescence and sexuality in check until the night, when they can prowl the city streets, looking for fun. They’re harmless, just tough and won’t take any crap. When they run across a gang of vicious dudes led by Jake (Robert Dryer), they end up pushing the guys too far by stealing their car for a joyride and then dumping garbage in it before they ditch the convertible. Jake is furious and swears his revenge. He gets it a few days later, when his gang jumps Brenda’s deaf/mute sister Heather (Linnea Quigley) and rapes her, sending her to the hospital in a coma. This event shatters Brenda’s world, and a girl who can barely contain her rage is starting to come unhinged. When Jake and his boys kills a member of Brenda’s gang, and Brenda finds out, she goes looking for her own revenge. She’s armed with a crossbow and a very bad attitude, as she hunts down the gang members, one by one.

Savage Streets is a purely 80s kind of flick. There’s a lot of neon nights, lots of brightly-colored garb, and as usual, all the gang members look like they got their clothing straight from a music video shoot. The dialogue is crisp and the pacing is sharp, and the rougher edges get smoothed out by the action and the actual care we develop for the characters. This is a prime example of a movie that gets it right, with a low budget but high aims; it gets done what it needs to get done. At times gritty, other times tender and sweet, Savage Streets is a nearly perfect exploitation movie. We get boobs, we get manly men, we get violence, we get lots of swearing, and we get a ton of totally unreal sequences that somehow work. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, and Linda Blair carries the film with a gentle sort of toughness. Her character is playful and fun, smirking and acting above it all, until things go sour, and then the total badass comes out. She dishes out justice, and she dishes it out raw.

As a warning, there’s some language in here some might find offensive. This was the 80s, after all, and they didn’t hesitate to use a certain homosexual slur at will. There’s also the rape, which is violent and not the least bit titillating. If you can get past all of this, you’re going to find a movie that is a classic of its ilk. Linda Blair is truly a badass in this, and watching her off the assholes is worth the price of admission alone.

★★★☆


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