Written by: Carroll Jenkins on December 7th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2009
Director: Joseph Guzman
Writers: Robert James Hayes II, Joseph Guzman
Cast: Ivet Corvea, Cheryl Lyone, John C. Crow, Richard Wes Howren, Peter Tahoe, Daeg Faerch, Christina DeRosa, Patricia Grant
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Vicious Circle Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.99
Synopsis: Two Catholic schoolgirls are led off the beaten path.
Some other titles would have worked just as well: ‘Moseley County Line’, ‘Ms. Shotgun Shell’, ‘Last House on Tobacco Road’, ‘Spit on my Rosary’, or ‘The Catholic Snatchers’. Set in the mid seventies, this may be the best grindhouse retro/tribute film ever made. There are other fine examples (Viva, A Gun For Jennifer) but this is the most professional, accomplished, and overall entertaining.
The story is rape/revenge, but every incident and character is realized to the fullest. There’s hardly a wasted second throughout, and if it is, it’s for effect and/or experimentation. It brings to mind the four Russ Meyer B&W noir flicks with their obsession with seedy and unsavory characters, while the color cinematography favors Vixen. So does the ample female nudity. There are harrowing scenes of violence and abuse, but this is first and foremost a pitch black comedy.
The mise-en-scène is set pre/during credits: three coed and bi-racial ‘roommates’ of a rundown farmhouse are having sex with their individual partners (in individual rooms), with each of the pairings having an ironic twist. One results in murder (it was totally his fault) causing a situation where another of the partners is soon dispatched (it was totally her fault). Too bad our strayed school girls happen to witness this latest incident (okay, now they’ve got it coming).
The soundtrack is truly inspired. It seems insipid at first, but that’s the early porno vibe during sex scenes. Later come the blaxploitation, Link Wray, and ultimately Jimi Hendrix sounds. The Hendrix influence is all over the place in numerous instrumental audio set pieces: funky, psychedelic, sometimes blistering. Wah wah, fuzz, it’s all here, and the credits indicate a trio was responsible – Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush could not have done better.
Many low budget films have rudimentary direction, but two guys are behind this whole thing: Robert James Hayes II and Joseph Guzman. Both wear many hats, but essentially Guzman directed and Hayes did the cinematography. They are quite a team. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were Siamese twins that were forcibly separated and one lives in a basket.
Yes, I wish there were subs. But it is widescreen and looks as fine as Vixen did first run at the drive-in (a very few scenes look overly matted). Apparently the film played some film festivals then went straight-to-DVD.
In this film every scene and character counts. Just to prove it, anyone with even a bit character is given full pictorial sequence credits at the end. Yes! Jessica Elder is here, previously appearing in Viva. Could it be a coincidence, or the start of a movement?
Note: references in my faux alternative title list: Macon County Line, Ms. 45, Last House [on the whatever], Spit on my Grave, and The Candy Snatchers.