Thursday, May 6, 2010
Savage Streets (1984)
Savage Streets is a 1984 American Vigilante-action film starring Linda Blair. Directed by Danny Steinmann, the film premiered on October 5, 1984.
Brenda, Francine and Heather are out one evening, along with two other friends, Maria and Stella. Unable to hear her surroundings, Heather innocently wanders into the path of a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air convertible, which sees her but doesn't slow down. Brenda pulls her sister out of the way before she's hit by the vehicle.
The car stops, and its occupants are no stranger to Brenda. They're "The Scars", a gang of mid-level dope dealers that employ a number of street level hustlers to sell their product. Behind the wheel is Fargo (Sal Landi), leader Jake (Robert Dryer) is in the passenger seat, Red is in the back seat, and Vince, the gang's meek and weak-willed "pet" sits next to Red.
Rather than get an apology, Brenda instead gets propositioned for sex and drugs by Jake, which she flatly refuses. The gang takes off. Brenda and her friends then happen upon the Scars' empty vehicle parked in an alley while the gang is delivering a collection beating to Fadden (one of their pushers and a classmate of Vince's). The girls jump in the car and take off, shouting obscenities to the gang as they drive off. The gang tries to catch the car on foot, but their efforts are in vain. They later find the car in a nearby alley with garbage strewn inside.
The gang arrives at Vince's school to deliver another beating to Fadden, and while there, Red spots Heather among the crowd and suggests to Jake getting revenge for the car-trashing incident. Though Jake tells Red to shut up, he doesn't nix the idea.
As Heather is waiting in the gym for Brenda to take her home, Red sneaks into the gym. He talks to Heather and manages to gain her trust in a rather short period of time. He then tries to forcibly kiss her. She breaks away from him and tries to flee, but the other gang members have all the gym entrances covered. They drag the helpless girl to one of the locker rooms where they take turns at raping her.
Jake yanks Vince's pants down and has him go first, as a "first-time" gift. The other gang members follow. Jake, not wanting to take any chances with the local police, then kicks Heather in the side of the head. The unresponsive and bloodied girl is then left in the locker room.
Brenda returns from one of her routine Principal's office visits to the gym to collect her sister, and finds her gone. The girls spread out to search for her, and a hysterical Maria charges into the gym from the locker rooms screaming for Brenda, having made the grisly discovery.
Heather is rushed to the hospital, where she is listed in critical condition. Brenda, frustrated at the slow pace of the investigation, goes out to a bar with her friends, where she confides her fears of losing Heather to a bartending friend, Charlene. Also at the same bar are The Scars, who are collecting again from Fadden. While there, the Scars are also trying to find Vince another "date" for the evening, by pulling over any woman within reach towards their table. One of them happens to be Francine. As they continue to pass her around their table, two men witnessing the scene go to the table and tell Jake and his gang to leave her alone. A fight breaks out between the men and the Scars, and while Jake is delivering a beating to one, Francine sticks Jake in the back with a switchblade. Jake gets up and lunges towards Francine, but she is out of reach by this time.
The Scars show up at Vince's school not long after the melee in the bar. Vince tells Jake that Heather's rape is all over the school. Jake tells Vince to forget about it, but he wants to know how to find Francine. Vince gives Jake the information after extracting a promise that he won't hurt her, but simply scare her. They confront Francine on a bridge as she's walking home from a dress shop carrying her new bridal gown for her upcoming wedding to her boyfriend Richie. Francine spits in Jake's face, and he lifts her up over his head and throws her off the bridge railing and to her death. Unable to confront his conscience any longer, a hysterical Vince runs from the gang, expressing his hatred of Jake and the rest of them. He runs to Heather's hospital bedside and tries to apologize to the comatose girl for his actions, but Brenda runs him off.
Brenda, knowing that Francine is missing, fears the worst and decides it's time to take action. Dressing in a leather suit and armed with a switchblade, bear traps and crossbow, she takes off from her home. In the meantime, her mother gets the call telling them that Francine is dead. Her mother tries to stop her, but Brenda is long gone.
Brenda's first stop is at Vince's house, where she tricks her way inside by telling his father that she needs his help for a homework assignment. She makes her way to his bedroom, where she sees him packing to run. At knifepoint, Vince tells Brenda that Francine is dead and that he couldn't do anything to stop it. She spares Vince' life after he tells her where to find the gang.
Knowing that his fate is doomed if he doesn't run, Vince goes to work and gets a loan from his boss, telling her he'll be back after things cool down. What Vince doesn't know is that Jake is parked in the alley with his headlights dimmed, waiting for Vince. Jake speeds towards him, knocking him in the air and onto the pavement, presumably dead.
Meanwhile, Brenda is waiting for Fargo and Red as they return to their "home" in a warehouse. She confronts them and coerces them inside, despite Red's sense that something's wrong if she's not afraid of them. Fargo proceeds ahead with Red behind him. Fargo eventually finds Brenda, and tells her what he's going to do to her once he gets his hands on her. Brenda responds by launching a crossbow arrow into his throat. Moments later, Red finds Fargo's body, and also Brenda waiting for him. Brenda doesn't launch another arrow, as the bear traps take care of Red as he falls upon them.
Jake finally returns to the warehouse, pounding on the door for Fargo and Red to raise it. Not getting a response, he raises the overhead door and sees the two strung-up bodies of his fallen gangmates. Brenda's voice calls off from a distance, telling him he's next. Jake pulls out a pistol and fires it in every direction, hoping one of the bullets will hit her. Brenda responds by launching an arrow into both of his thighs.
Jake stumbles towards the warehouse gate, but Brenda has a snare trap in wait, suspending him upside down by his ankles. After stringing him up, she tells him his death is not going to be quick. Jake manages to distract her long enough to grab the gate's door and pull it towards her, knocking her in the head and to the ground. He manages to free himself and climb on top of her, but she frees herself and escapes to another warehouse full of paints and solvents. Armed with a can of the solvent, she manages to squirt Jake with the can's contents as he tries to strangle her. She pulls a cigarette lighter out and sets him on fire just as she's ready to pass out.
A screaming Jake, now on fire, flees the warehouse and stumbles into the parking lot, presumably dead, as police arrive on the scene. Brenda and her friends, including a fully-recovered Heather, go to Francine's gravesite. Though according to the girls, Brenda "made things right", her actions still did not bring back Francine. The film's ending also leans toward the fact Brenda was caught by the Police at the end of her vigilante-killings and therefore faced an upcoming prosecution.
Linda Blair as Brenda
John Vernon as Underwood
Linnea Quigley as Heather
Robert Dryer as Jake
Johnny Venocur as Vince
Sal Landi as Fargo
Scott Mayer as Red
Debra Blee as Rachel
Lisa Freeman as Francine
Marcia Karr as Stevie
Luisa Leschin as Maria
Freddie Young of Full Moon Reviews said "Savage Streets is a film I had never seen before until now and I'm really ashamed by that because it rocked my socks off. Obviously a Death Wish ripoff, Savage Streets is perfect 80s exploitation, with nudity, over-the-top acting and dialogue, and plot elements that aren't subtle and are quite disturbing on paper."
The Vocabulariast of MovieCynics.com said "the film is pretty damn bad in several areas. But for those that like to seek out terribly cheesy flicks that are just so damn bad that you can’t help but love them, Savage Streets is just the thing to cure your jones for classic ‘80s garbage."
Ned Daigle of BMN Review disliked the film and said "Everything about "Savage Streets" is bad, from the acting, to the screenplay, to the direction, to even the horrid music score and songs performed by John Farnham who sounds like the unholy lovechild of Loverboy and Foreigner.
Deplorable is the only word I can come up with as a description. See "Savage Streets" at your own risk."
1986 - Linda Blair (Nominated)- Worst Actress
1985 - Linda Blair (Nominated) - Best Actress
1985 - Linnea Quigley (Nominated) - Best Supporting Actress
1985 - Danny Steinmann, Norman Yonemoto (Nominated) - Best Screenplay
The soundtrack featuring the theme song "Justice For One" was never officially released to the American public but may be found on rare LP demos as well as on copied CDs. The reason for the "non-release" was a marketing one at the time. Some copies of Savage Streets LP Records complete with Linda Blair as the main character "Brenda" on the cover, have made it onto online auctions but they were stamped with "demo only" on them.
Home media release
On September 23, 2008 "Savage Streets" was released in a 2-disc set "Special Edition" by Bryanston Distributors / Motion Picture Marketing in association with BCI Eclipse / Navarre Corporation with Special Features produced by Red Shirt Productions and Code Red.
For this film, Linda Blair learned how to fire a gun and drive a car.
Cherie Currie was originally cast as Brenda.
Brinke Stevens auditioned for the role of Heather, alongside good friend Linnea Quigley, who ended up getting the role instead. Brinke actually drove Linnea to the audition.
Linnea Quigley, who plays little sister Heather, is actually a year older than Linda Blair who plays older sister, Brenda.
Director Danny Steinmann asked Jodie Foster to star in this film, but she declined because the film had "too much nudity and sexual content".
Dana Plato auditioned for the role of Heather.
The role of Brenda was offered to several actresses including Daryl Hannah, Kim Cattrall, Bo Derek, Tatum O'Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Melanie Griffith, Dominique Dunne, Kristy McNichol, Jennifer Cooke, Brooke Shields, Kirsten Baker and Diane Lane. All of them turned it down due to the graphic sex and nudity.
Billy Idol was considered for the role of one of the rapist.
Jamie Lee Curtis was replaced by Linda Blair.
The song playing during the opening credits "Nothings Gonna Stand in Our Way" by John Farnham is covered by the group Spectre General on the soundtrack to Transformers: The Movie (1986)