Friday, February 27, 2009

Chicks Kicking Ass & Taking Names: 20 Female Revenge & Action Flicks From The 1980's (and then some!)

No doubt the 1980's was dominated by the impressive action-y likes of Arnie, Sly, Clint, Chuck & Charles, but you cannot discount the onslaught of female revenge & action pictures. Most of them independent or born out of the exploitation world.... 1978's I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE playing as godfather to all those that follow it. This sometimes wacky & tacky (but always entertaining) bunch mostly found their audience through the boom of the home video market of that era. Wow, it's now an era. I'm old! Anyway, they slapped together some action for roughly 90 minutes and threw a hot babe on the cover usually with a gun (uzi or rocket launcher if they really wanted you to think you were in for some insane fun) or perhaps behind a prison bar or two. Most of these film's plots ranged from chick revenging the death of her sister to chick landing in jail for a crime she did not commit. Either way, they'll always run into a few sleazebags and one in particular that is so awful he or she will undoubtedly be blown into bits by the last reel.

Here are 20 of some choice chick flicks of the time to electrify your boogaloo...  

She's got legs (and guns) and she knows how to use them:


Abel Ferrara's MS. 45 (1981) is technically the best of the lot, though one can't go wrong with the scuzzy charms of SUDDEN DEATH. My personal favorite is 1984's ANGEL. Donna Wilkes and a supporting bunch of character actors make early 1980's Los Angeles the most fun you'll have in hell on earth.

ANGEL (1984) Trailer: (It's her choice. Her chance. And her life.)

The Concrete Jungle:

My grandmother was a big fan of the Women In Prison genre, and the 1980's had a fair share of them; Even if they weren't as crazy as some of the output of the 70's. Most of these films seemed to have an innocent character trapped behind bars with some evil bitch to contend with that somehow always had the protection of the warden (Who was always played by Mary Woronov, Barbara Steele or Sybil Danning) They're all classics...


Mess with the best, die like the rest:


Cross any of them, and you'll lose it all. THE LADIES CLUB (1986) takes it quite literally. Check it out if you can.


The Linda Blair Wing:


My Roller Boogie queen Linda Blair kept pretty busy in the 80's and this is just a small portion of her output from that period of time. She was seemingly always behind bars getting messed with (see also The 1974 classic BORN INNOCENT) or being driven to some sort of personal vengeance. SAVAGE STREETS (1984) sets the benchmark pretty high for chicks getting revenge in the 80s, and so few films can compete with the last few reels of SAVAGE as Linda prepares and carries out the fight of her life.


Oh, okay. Another... CHAINED HEAT (1983) 

Trailer (Don't you walk away from me you chalk-faced whore!)

And for fun, a few more zany picks:

Pistol Packin' Teens:

Random classy chicks with guns or swords:

 Revenge gone mainstream:


And how could I forget, the best & most protective momma a boy can have of the 1980's, Betsy Palmer of FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
 What are some of your favorites from the 80's?


Amanda By Night said...

Oh man, my boyfriend is going to want to see every one of these he hasn't seen (which is quite a few surprisingly!). I love these kinds of movies. It's funny that no one woman really took as a female action hero, at least until the 90s (Cynthia Rothrock!).

I've always wanted to see Sudden Death. As for Sudden Impact - awesome!

Ross Horsley said...

Oh the joys... This list is so great! I've got Savage Streets to watch but, for some reason, I find myself desperate to see Alley Cat (DVDs of which are going for serious money these days, by the way). Extremities is fantastic; I've not seen nearly enough of the others.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Good point, Amanda. Even Red Sonja and Sheena didn't really take off... Kind of sad.

Alley Cat is truly a rarity, Ross. I had a copy once and I lost it in a movie. Silly me. Now I'm totally in the mood to see it again.

aunt john said...

This post reminded me of the admittedly less sexier SALLY STRUTHERS classic A Gun in the House. Little Gloria all growed up and packing heat... good times!

Cinema Du Meep said...

How could I forget that one. I even own a copy of the VHS from good old Paragon.

Thank you for bringing this one up. For what it is, it's all kinds of awesome.

Myles said...

Love the Red Dawn photo. That's one of those movies where you feel bad for the teen actors whose careers went nowhere, since so many of them went on to big things. (Hmm...maybe I'll check out the casting credit on that one.)

Anonymous said...

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Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

AWESOME article!!! I love the subject matter. Also thrilled to see Savage Streets represented. I fucking love Savage Streets. Ms. 45 and the Angel movies are great, too. Plus, you can't can't go wrong with Reform School Girls or Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death (its got Adrienne Barbeau for tits' sake!).

Groovy, man. Thumbs up.

Cesar Fernandez D said...

Shy and mousy mute garment district worker Thana (a remarkably assured and nuanced performance by the lovely Zoe Tamerlis) gets raped twice in one day. After killing her second assailant with an iron, Thana takes possession of the man's .45 caliber gun and starts hitting the mean streets of New York on a mission to blow away every last sleazy no-count guy who crosses her lethal path. Director Abel Ferrara (who also has a chilling cameo as the first rapist) and screenwriter Nicholas St. John take the familiar vigilante premise and completely turn it on its ear by cleverly undermining basic exploitation audience expectations: the rape scenes aren't that graphic, there's no nudity to speak of, and all the men featured in this film are hateful and disgusting jerks who regularly prey on women in one way or another (Thana's victims include a street gang, a slimy fashion photographer, an abusive pimp, and even a rich Arab who cruises for babes to pick up in his limo). Moreover, this inspired cross between "Repulsion" and "Death Wish" reaches a stunning bloodbath climax at a Halloween costume party which Thana attends dressed as a nun. Tamerlis as Thana makes for a fascinatingly complex figure: While she nonchalantly offs numerous predatory dudes, she can't bring herself to kill her landlady's pesky dog. In an interesting touch, the initially plain and passive Thana becomes more increasingly alluring and aggressive throughout the course of the narrative. Edith Sherman as Thana's annoying and eccentric landlady Ms. Sherman gives one of the single most gloriously oddball performances ever committed to celluloid. Albert Sinkys contributes a deliciously smarmy turn as Thana's odious creep boss Albert and Jack Thibeau has a startling bit as a dejected fellow Thana picks up in a bar. consulta online medico online pediatria online medicina online doctor online dermatologia online veterinaria online veterinaria online physician online consultoria online abogado españa online abogado colombia online abogado mexico online abogado españa online abogado online psicologo online doctor online psicologia online abogado online psicologo online James Lemmo's slick, gleaming cinematography gives the picture an attractive glossy look. Joe Delia's moody, jazzy score likewise does the funky trick (the piercing saxophone is especially gnarly). Done with tremendous crackling verve and an arresting sense of dazzling style, this highly impressive piece of ultra-kinetic low-budget indie film-making certainly lives up to its sizable cult reputation.

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