The 1960’s is synonymous with the hedonistic mix of free love and illicit substances. While the former is simple enough to acquire, the latter was a little more complicated. I mean, those drugs don’t import themselves do they? Consequently, large drug cartels apparently utilised the services of intrepid young gangs to import their wares. Gangs akin to… THE HELLCATS!
Being a "Narco Cop" is a risky business and poor Detective Chapman finds out the hard way with a sniper bullet in his chest after he "puts the squeeze" on an import drug racket. His Fiancé, Linda (Dee Duffy), is comforted by his brother Monte (Ross Hagen), a chiselled chinned all American ex-soldier.
Revenge is the order of the day, but the only clue they have is the word "Hellcats", scribbled in the late detectives little black book.
Having a suspicion that "Hellcats" refers to the chiefly female gang that move narcotics from Mexico to the USA on behalf of the Mob, the unlikely pair team up and decide the best course of action is to infiltrate the villainous crew.
As luck would have it, the first seedy bar they enter, The Moonfire Inn, just happens to be the haunt for these slinky smugglers! After some jukebox induced tomfoolery (and the most hilarious Humphrey Bogart impression courtesy of the gang’s leader, Six Pack!), Monte and Linda start to gain some trust. Monte’s initiation into the gang is complete when he wins a game of "Drag" (basically a feat of strength preventing him from being dragged around a rough dirt track on his back by a motorcycle!)
Linda is accepted too because… erm.. well, I guess she was too goddamned cute to cut loose!
The closer Monte gets to Mr Adrian, the head gangster who instructed his brothers killing, the more complicated things get. But when a "stash" from a "big score" goes AWOL, proceedings culminate in an all-out tussle involving disgruntled Hit men, greedy Mob bosses, our hero’s seeking retribution and, of course, those crazy Hellcats!!! I have to say I was expecting something a little different from this movie. The DVD’s cover art suggested more of a Jack Hill-esque escapade with these feline yobs pillaging their way across America on their vintage choppers. Instead, the confused narrative only succeeded in fashioning an overly convoluted tale that bordered on tedium for large parts.
What the movie did excel at though was embellish the "Biker" ethos by crafting a few enjoyable scenes of debauchery and mayhem, often fuelled by drugs and booze. With its swinging sixties soundtrack, there were many a scene of over indulgence and some not so subtle references to hippie culture. For example, a member of the gang, Hiney, spends nearly all of his screen time zonked out of his brain due to him overdoing the old LSD sugar cubes!! ("You ran into a bad cube man..") Never seemed to happen to Dougal from that magic roundabout did it?
The dialogue is also overburdened with supposed slang from the era. This aspect is quite amusing at first but the monotonous use of the word "Mamma" started to grate toward the end!
Cheezy Flicks have at least appeared to have sourced the DVD from a print retaining the pictures original aspect ratio of 1.78 : 1. While this is commendable, be aware the movie has been coarsely shot. There is the odd break in sound here and there and the framing is haphazard at times. (I lost count of the amount of chins and foreheads that bobbed out of view when the camera zoomed in on faces!
The fights were a strange mix. Often played out over an energetic soundtrack that wouldn’t have been out of place in the 1960s Batman TV show, they did contain a few scandalous full on slaps to female faces which sobered up the otherwise chaotic mischief.
And of course, you can’t have a hippie / biker flick without a few minutes of frenzied dancing complete with flailing arms and spaced out expressions! With the likes of "Davy Jones and the Dolphins" featuring on the soundtrack, it kind of figures I guess!
Overall, a bit of a shoddy effort but anyone who has a penchant for 1960’s counterculture trash may well have some fun with this slice of grade A cheese!
Final word has to go to the irksome chorus from the title song that is still reverberating in my brain like a bad acid flashback:
"Hellcats! Parading down the street.. Hellcats! Shockin everyone they meet.. They turn the town, upside down.. … they don’t mess around…!"
No wonder Charlie Manson thought he had the talent to be a recording artist back then!!
Review by Marc Lissenburg
|Released by CHEEZY|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|