Before reviewing this film, I showed it to a pair of my (now) ex-friends and two of my kids (who had been naughty). My wife also watched. Here is a transcription of the conversation we had after the film.
Wife Wendy: That was terrible. What a pointless waste of time. I can’t believe I squandered those 90 minutes.
Sandy (feebly): Well I did try to warn you beforehand.
Wife Wendy: I kept expecting something to happen, but nothing ever did. It was SO stupid.
Sandy: A guy’s head got cut off. Doesn’t that count as something happening?
Wife Wendy: Was that near the end? I fell asleep.
When I recounted showing this to my wife to Ken (who knows Wendy well), his only response was that my wife was a SAINT – a fact of which I am abundantly aware. With regards to Herschell Gordon Lewis’s movies, however, she is now one of the harsh, stern saints, not a kind, forgiving one like St. Francis.
In a continuing series of examinations of the work of famed dream-weaver Herschell Gordon Lewis (unaffectionate termed HGL through most of this review), we now move to a non-gore entry in his oeuvre. Namely, biker movies. For those of you unfamiliar with the magnificence of Lewis’s artistic vision, let me quote the master himself.
When casting for this very movie, Herschell Gordon Lewis (HGL) himself said, “We were looking for a girl who could ride a motorcycle, look halfway decent, and act. In that order.” With regard to this, he certainly got a star who could ride a motorcycle.
One final caveat to you emptors. I am not a great scholar of biker movies. In fact, the main biker movies I’ve see are Mad Max, Psychomania, and Faster Pussycat Kill Kill. Does Demons count as a biker movie? How about Terminator? I’m grasping at straws here. I’ve never even watched Easy Rider. So maybe I’m not the target audience. But a movie about outlaw lady bikers still seems like a natural.
Our film shows great potential early on, as all we see is a blue screen with no image whatsoever. Has my computer crashed? Did the Microsoft Fairy come to call on my desktop? No, I hear the sounds of motorcycle engines revving, and an occasional girl yippeeing.
After 30 seconds of no visible picture, a cut-out poster of a girl on a bike fades in. The image flickers and jitters around a little. In a lesser director’s hands I would assume that this was intentional. With HGL I’m inclined to credit ineptitude.
You’ll get to see this a lot while watching this film.
Suddenly the image starts to spin around and around. Is this a psychedelic movie? Maybe it means I’m about to enter into a trance – that’s usually what the “spinning image” shot means in a schlock film. Interestingly, the center of the spin is NOT the motorcycle’s headlight, or the girl’s face, or her boobs, but her right knee. Maybe HGL’s a leg man, too. (Like me, in case you are not familiar with my previous reviews of Color Me Blood Red and The Gruesome Twosome).
The screen fades to black and holds on blackness for a few seconds. Was that the title screen? Because it didn’t, like, have a title.
When the black fades, we see a typical suburban front door. This is a standard opening shot for HG. I suspect usually he used houses owned by crew members. Ed Wood did this as well, as what it lost in the setting a mood, it gained in the realm of money-saving.
A girl, Karen, heads out the door carrying an old-fashioned kind of suitcase – the round pill-shaped type you never see anymore. She says she’s going for a sleepover. Her mom, a lumpy lady in a housedress, warns that she doesn’t have the phone number of the place Karen is staying at. Uh-oh – sounds if Karen gets in trouble, Mom won’t know. If this was one of HGL’s gore epics, I’d write Karen off as a goner for sure. She’s still probably a goner, even though this is technically not a “gore” film.
[Future Sandy: in this film’s limited body-count, Karen is not a casualty.]
I wistfully see her get into a hardtop instead of a convertible. The convertibles helped hold my interest in HGL’s other films. Maybe the sound guy whose car they used sold his ragtop. Anyway, she climbs in, revs the engine, and off she goes. I note in passing that though her suitcase and car are both red, they are different shades. You may not think this is worth mentioning, but in Color Me Blood Red, HGL took care to ensure that practically everything in the film that was red was almost the same exact shade of not-quite-correct blood red, so I thought he might be similarly focused on details in this film. Guess not.
Soon Karen rolls into a not-so-nice area. Not that it’s a slum– looks like a lightly-industrialized part of suburbia. HGL isn’t really all about urban grittiness. In fact we soon see that it is the back parking lot of a motel. We hear women’s voices talking aggressively and then … WTF? That same image of a girl on a bike spinning around?! Please tell me that this isn’t going to be HGL’s signature cut between scenes!!
[Future Sandy: Alas]
The crude cut-out stops spinning and we hear a feeble women’s chorus singing the signature song of She Devils on Wheels – “Get Off the Road”. We also see a girl in hot pants tooling up on a bike as the credits begin to scroll. Well, we got the credits only two and a half-minutes into this film. The last one (The Gruesome Twosome) made me wait ten minutes.
While the credits pass before my wondering eyes, we get ample opportunity to notice that straddling a motorcycle is not the most flattering way to show off your bare thighs, ladies. It makes them kind of swell out at the top, giving them an unusual pear shape instead of the more normal contour.
Not that I was paying attention to her legs, of course. HGL, as per his normal practice, is unable to hold a steady camera – it wobbles on the girl and her bike throughout the credits. The lighting keeps changing too. This I find very peculiar. Maybe Ken has an inkling of why this would be the case.
Your guarantee of quality.
More in anger than in sorrow, I notice that the fourth name listed in the credits is Rodney Bedell, the abusive boyfriend in The Gruesome Twosome. I wonder if he’ll play the same type of character. Another listed actor is “Ruby Tuesday”. I don’t really care for chain restaurants, so I almost never eat there.
Those who have read my previous reviews of HGL will remember how much I lambast his musical tastes. Fortunately for us, it’s impossible to do a biker movie without rock & roll, and even HGL doesn’t try that. His theme song “Get Off the Road” is not necessarily terrible, but it clearly needs to be sung with MUCH more vim by the lackadaisical girl band who are weakly beating it out. Where are Joan Jett or Brenda Lee when you need them? How did HGL find these estrogen-impaired gals?
I know Ken likes the lyrics to theme songs. It’s an innocent enough pleasure, so I’m going to indulge him here.
GET OFF THE ROAD
We are the hell-cats nobody likes.
Man-eaters on motorbikes.
We own this road, so you better get lost,
When you hear the roar of cut-out exhaust.
Bug off or you’ll find,
that you have blown your mind.
Get off the road.
Get off the road.
We know a man is made out of clay,
He’s shooting clay pigeons today.
Get off the road before we have crossed,
Or you might get your rear-end tossed.
Gonna be uptight,
we ridin here tonight
Get off the road.
Get off the road.
In common with many movie buffs I seek innocent enjoyment in the names appearing in opening credits. This particular film is a gold mine for such. Not only does my hero Fred M. Sandy appear, but the sound recordist is that fabled extinct monster “Spyridon Hortis”. In fact in the Dr. Who episode “Planet of the Daleks” invisible monsters named “Spirodons” figure prominently.
We follow hot-pants girl on her bike as she exits the garage, and I suddenly realize that this is Karen – the same girl who just parked her car in the garage. Lest I seem too dense to be a movie critic (as if that were possible), I must say that I was fooled because the motorcycle came out of the garage almost immediately after the car drove inside, so I didn’t realize that time was supposed to have passed – at least enough time for her to change her clothes and hairstyle. HGL movie magic.
Anyway, with this revelation, it seems that Karen has fallen in with a bad crowd. Instead of a wholesome sleepover, she is riding a motorcycle. What terrible scenes are about to unfold?
As Karen rides past, she slows down and the camera focuses on her back. In traditional biker fashion, the gang name is emblazoned clearly, as “MAN EATERS”. Untraditionally, it is in red letters on a yellow stripe across a chartreuse vest. I guess girl bikers don’t wear black leather or denim – too much fashion sense, perhaps? Adding to the color disaster, there is a big pink cat head on the vest back, too, wearing a bowtie.
Another girl joins Karen – she has the same red-on-yellow MAN EATERS logo, and has the pink kitten motif as well. but her vest is dark red. Maybe the girls are color-coded? That would be convenient. We watch as the girls carefully obey traffic laws, coming to a full stop at the intersection, and waiting politely for a car to pass before they continue. They are the most mannerly scofflaws I’ve seen.
The terrifying regalia of the biker chicks.
We now see a chunky girl (whom we later learn is named Whitey) working on her adorable pink(!) motorbike. Her orange vest gives me confidence in my color-coding theory, but the rest of her ensemble boggles the mind. It consists of a red t-shirt, metallic golden high-top boots and skin-tight pants.
Oh, yeah, the cap she wears to crown her platinum-blonde pigtails would look great on a Balkan policeman. I don’t wish to disparage Whitey’s weight – I’m big-boned myself, and so am sympathetic – but skin-tight trousers are not invariably becoming on a heavyset female. Just saying.
The other girls roll up and park their bikes. Amusingly, it takes both of them to roll one of the bikes onto its kick-stand. From this, I assume that the Man Eaters use brain rather than brawn to acquire men to eat. They greet Whitey, and ask what’s happening. Whitey is pretty eager for the upcoming race, and makes reference to “it being a whole week”, which concerns me.
Check out the filthy rag thrown over her leg.
My concern deepens when the girls walk offscreen and Whitey continues talking to her cycle, telling it to “run good or Whitey won’t get herself a good stud tonight.” Uh-oh. At this point we see Karen and her friend walk up to another girl (leopard-skin vest over pink top and pink boots) who is, irritatingly, wearing those nasty flesh-colored slacks that every true fan of the female gam detests. This unpromisingly-clad female proves to be Queenie, leader of the pack.
Queenie asks Karen & co. for their dues. Club Dues!! I thought they were supposed to be outlaws. They pay dues to belong? Shouldn’t they be knocking over gas stations, making porn, or selling dope, like the Hell’s Angels?
Queenie, clipboard in hand, does take time to explain what the dues are for – “gotta keep the house going, you know. We spend half our dues changing the sheets around here.” So the dues pay for their crash pad I guess. Having seen an actual bikers’ crash pad (go Vagabonds!) I wonder what the distaff version will be like.
Queenie turns to Karen and confrontationally asks her, “Are you racing or watching? Sometimes I wonder about you. Are you racing or watching?” The repeated question makes me wonder if the actress bobbled her line. Here I must leap to the actress’s defense in one respect. While she is abysmal, she is the best female actress I’ve seen in an HGL movie up to this point. So that is something at least.
Karen, however, is really awful. She pouts, hands on hips, and finally says, in a hangdog fashion, “Racin’.” Queenie responds, “You better get on your bike. If you’re racing, you gotta pick. And if you”re the last one there ain’t much manhood around to choose from. *snicker*”
The tough outlaw Queenie is displeased by a minion’s smirk. Note the motor scooter in the background.
So now at least we get the plot, though in true HGL fashion he has explained it to us twice already, and will explain it to us all over again at least twice more before we see it in action. I swear he must have thought his audience was comprised of complete idiots. On the other hand, here I am, watching an HGL movie, and feeling like a complete idiot. Give the man credit where it’s due. In case you are HGL’s target audience though, I will explain further.
See, the girls race their bikes and then go back to their crash pad to take their pick of the stud line of men. At this point I can only imagine what losers show up to be bestudded by the Man Eaters. The winner of the race gets first pick of the men. Second-place gets second-pick, and so forth. I suppose if there’s not enough men the last few girls have to go hungry, so to speak. However, if it’s anything like Ladies Night at many spots, there will be plenty of guys showing up.
Karen now proves spunky. She says, “What if I …” (HGL cuts to an image of another biker chick with a cigarette holder, then cuts back.) … picked without racing?” Not only was that cut weird, but what is it with HGL and cigarette holders? They show up way too often in his pictures. The response is twofold. Queenie threatens Karen physically, and another girl explains (yet again!) “You know the rules as well as any of us. If you want first pick, you win the race.”
Queenie then mysteriously breaks in again, saying “Otherwise, shut up.” (?) She then immediately contradicts herself by asking, “Honey, what’s on your mind?” Karen heroically strikes a blow for male empowerment (yay, my gender!) whining about the fact that the Man Eaters treat men like “slabs of meat hanging on a hook in the butcher shop. It’s about as romantic as buying a hunk of baloney”. Oh the humanity. Queenie makes the non-sequitur “That’s me, the original man-eater.” Then she laughs.
I have to say that Queenie’s laugh is unattractive on two levels. First, it’s very artificially forced – she’s clearly trying to sound raucous. Second, every time she laughs, she reaches over and punches someone nearby on the arm. Every time. No one likes that. After a while I kind of understand why the Man Eaters’ interplay seems a familiar.
In another review on this fine website, Ms. Vandergeld examined the turd Dirty Love. In part of her description, she incisively identifies a problem I have seen, but which political correctness makes it hard for me to address. I recommend reading her review in its entirety, but at a minimum, go read her mini-essay on the topic of drunk women.
I mean it, Readers – go do the minimal effort of looking up the Dirty Love review, then search for the phrase “more annoying than a drunken woman”, and then read down to the next picture, which is a broken red x on my computer (Ken?)*
[*Editor Ken: Originally when I got this WordPress site, they were allowing me to store pictures right here. Aside from the 'can't fit a review on one page anyway' change, one thing that altered when we updated the software was that it conveniently wiped all those pictures out.
I now have a 'pro' account at Photobucket to store pics for new reviews. However, even for those old reviews I still have the pictures for bumping around somewhere on my hard drive, I don't know when I'll ever get the time to go around reinsterting them. Plus, if I do, it will wipe the old review out, because they were originally stored on one page and you can't do that anymore, and thus the entire review would have to be recreated.]
I’ll wait here till you’re done. (Rocks back on heels, whistling.)
Oh? You back already? Cool. Well, the entire female cast of She Devils on Wheels are pretty much like women in the first category of “drunk” which Ms. Vandergeld describes – loud annoying laughter, back-slapping non-hilarity, shrieks, shrill. The Man-Eaters are like this throughout the entire damn movie. Ms. Vandergeld only had to put up with it in a few party scenes in Dirty Love. I am stuck with it for 82 minutes. *whimper*
The bikes are ready to roll. I’m almost excited. There’s nothing bad about watching a bunch of motorcycles roar down the road, and these are helmed by dames, even if they are irritating screechy dames. What could go wrong?
But wait – something’s wrong. The girl at the far end of the bike line is riding a motor scooter. Surely even HGL couldn’t be this inept. And (yay) he’s not. It turns out to be a plot point, which I’ll get to later.
Lest we have too much excitement too early in the film, now we watch Queenie saunter down the line of bikes, making sure every single biker chick revs her engine. Her hairdo is different now too. It’s kind of a beehive with ponytails down the sides. When did she change her hair? We supposedly just rode from the last dialogue to this parking lot for the race.
This kind of continuity gaffe is Standard Operating Procedure with HGL. Sadly, I’m an old hand at this by now. Delaying the race even further,now Queenie tells everyone to shut off their bikes and “come on over here”. What happened to the race? Why did they rev their engines, only to shut them off? Queenie has an announcement to make.
But first Whitey has her say, actually interrupting Queenie’s incipient speech. This seems like the actor just broke in too early – or maybe Queenie was starting her part too soon. HGL was willing to go with the botched scene, so why shouldn’t we?
Anyway I wish to quote Whitey’s pre-race speech in its entirety, “Okay we better burn up some rubber if you want to get a good stud. We got a whole bunch of horny hog riders, and they ain’t a half-a-dozen one of them that can last more than thirty seconds.” (girls all laugh).
Why are they laughing? Usually when a girl calls a fellow a “minute man” it’s NOT praise. Maybe Whitey’s just pointing out that if you’re not in the first six places you’ll get a loser? Or again, it might be HGL’s humor, which as I’ve stated in previous reviews, goes right over my head.
Queenie tries to pull a fast one, offering to drive down to the end and clock the racers as they drive past. But the Man Eaters see through this ploy, and tell her that she has to race with the rest of them. They then propose that Honey Pot judge the race.
Honey Pot turns out to be the young lass on the motor scooter. She seems extremely young, too. In fact, Whitey tells her that she has “three months to go”, and we’re left unsure of whether this is three months before she is old enough for (gulp) sex or what? She looks like she’s about 14. Honey Pot glumly rides down the field and gets ready to race.
Fair Readers, you may have noticed that frequently in this review, I basically throw up my hands in surrender and say, “I’m not sure what’s going on here. Maybe it’s intended to be funny.” Here I want to make it clear that when a joke is so opaque that a reviewer can’t tell it’s a joke maybe something’s seriously wrong.
This website is no stranger to bad comedies – but usually Ken or his substitute reviewer just mock the lame humor because it’s unfunny. At least they can tell it’s supposed to be a joke! But with HGL I really have no idea at times.
Is this funny? I have no idea.
Now Whitey vigilantly explains (yet again) that even Queenie has to take pot luck with the studs, depending on how she does in the race. Queenie agrees (isn’t this the group’s standard rule? Why is she being reminded), and mentions, “Just my luck I’ll get a jellyfish instead of a swordfish!” Risqué dialog, HGL style.
Holy crap, HGL. He’s STILL not done with his tutorial on future events. Now Queenie says “Whoever wins this race gets first choice of the bucking broncos” and then goes on in more detail. Jeeze, we get it already, HGL. In the hands of another film-maker, we would just hold the race, leaving the prize a semi-mystery, and then been amused and shocked by the fact that it turns out the girls choose up bedmates based on race order.
That’s not enough for HGL, who has to spell out everything in the plainest, most sophomoric manner possible. Nothing is left as a surprise, nothing is implied or witty. Think of the movie Killer Klowns From Outer Space – hardly an exemplar of subtlety. Remember the scene where the main characters sneak into the clownship and get ambushed by two buxom female clowns?
The screen fades to black, and in the next scene, their hair and clothes are mussed up and they are covered with giant cartoon lipstick smears. It’s hilarious, and the film-makers didn’t have to explain in detail exactly what happened, whether the two guys only got to second base or what. The scene is left to speak for itself.
Even that pathetically low bar of insinuation is above HGL’s level. If he’d filmed it, he would have had the Klown females explain how they were going to force themselves onto the heroes, then show the scene, then have the two heroes discuss what just happened for several minutes.
Finally the Man-Eaters are off. But wait, first we take time for Queenie to explain that she is going to count “one two three” before they start. *sigh* Why did HGL have to show us that, either? Why not just have Queenie count 1-2-3 and then race without the explanation? Was he that short on plot? It’s a movie about an all-girl biker gang – why all the delays?
Incidentally, Queenie does NOT count before they start racing. Now you know.
Least-exciting race footage ever.
The race cinematography is rendered as dully as possible. Sometimes you get a close-up of two girls side-by-side. Sometimes you see the whole band of bikers from a distance. Occasionally you see them pass leisurely by. You never get a feeling of speed or competition.
As I said, I’m no expert in biker movies, but I’ve seen plenty of races in film, from Ben-Hur on, and I know what makes a race exciting. All-too-obviously, HGL does not. Not only does the race seem like they’re calmly touring by, but it’s not even filmed in a way that lets us tell who’s winning or losing. In case we cared.
Also, when we do get a rare close-up, the image jitters around like the Blair Witch cameraman being attacked by red ants.
Well it turns out that Karen wins, to the sound of more plot explication from the other girls, who tell us (yet again) that this means she gets first pick of the boys. In case you forgot. Queenie was number two, and Whitey gets the lucky boy third in line.
Then we take the time to go through every single girl in the whole gang. It works like this. Honey Pot says which position they were in the race, and then each girl gives a signature bon mot which is uninteresting and trite. All the girls are introduced in this manner. Not that it matters, since, the only ones who ever take individual action are Karen, Whitey, and Queenie. The rest are only part of the gang.
The gang then asks, “Do we trip?” Karen gets to pick if they trip or not. At first I assumed they were referring to hallucinogens, but it turns out that their idea of a “trip” is to ride their bikes around as a group. Okay. Seems like harmless fun.
HGL plays some actual rock music again, with a guitar twanging in the background. Really, I must say that while the music in this epic is far from great, it is a giant step up from HGL’s previous movies. At least sometimes (not always) it actually seems to fit the scene occurring.
Oddly, some of the girls double-up on their bikes for the big “tripping” scene. We see them pass a station wagon, ride through blowing trash, and generally take a nice slow staid ride through the country. All very law-abiding and genteel. Finally they show up at the crash pad.
The road trip takes forever I might add. It’s 6 minutes long. But it IS girls on motorbikes, so I won’t complain – that is supposedly what I’m watching this to see.
This is the big pay-off I guess. The girls ride up to their house, get out, and engage in some apparently unscripted (and lame) banter. As with other HGL movies I’ve seen, we are not shown the house in its entirety for some reason, and only ever see one of the walls.Then they stroll inside– actually Queenie rides her bike in, but the rest are afoot.
Queenie and the boys.
Already waiting are the “studs”, eagerly hoping for a taste of what the Man Eaters have to offer. Earlier, they were described as “hog riders” but I see no motorbikes of any type parked outside before the Man Eaters show up.
The stud line is amazing. At least in HGL’s previous movies you had to see the male leads act before you hated them. Most of these guys look like total douchebags – I just want to punch them. Look at these images and see if you don’t agree.
[Editor Ken: I don't know what the gag is, but these are all pictures taken at Sandy's house after last year's T-Fest. You can tell from his living room wall paper. And yes, that is Mythbuster's own Tory Belleci up on top. That dude's a wild man when he's not on the show.]
Queenie pulls out a cigarette and several guys rush to light it. I’d say this was symbolic of her empowerment if it wasn’t for the fact that clear back in the 1920s, this has been the time-honored method used in films to show that a female was desirable. It’s only lost its force now that smoking is Bad.
Hold on a second – Whitey started the race with TWO braids. Now she is down to one! If you are a fan of continuity gaffes, you will really get a kick out of HGL’s films. They fly thick and fast.
The man-auction is explained YET AGAIN. Yes we understand HGL – we don’t need another recap. Holy Moses the man loves to rub it in. Queenie inspects the man-meat (so to speak), then she brings out Karen and tells her to pick her beau for the evening. She hints that Karen could “pick a filly” from the club members if she wanted. But she doesn’t, showing interest in the boys, who are clearly rife with congenital diseases.
This guy goes un-picked, so I assume the hat is compensation, not advertising.
Karen makes a beeline for Bill, one of the more clean-cut choices. Karen politely even asks him instead of just grabbing him. She is pretty demure, all things considered. The dialog indicates that Bill is her stud of choice, and has been picked before. This seems odd, because Queenie actually threatened Karen earlier because Karen hadn’t been picking boys. But that was almost 10 minutes ago so I guess we’re supposed to have forgotten.
Queenie selects her man, then Whitey. Then Queenie speeds things up (they’ve been moving quite slowly up to now), and calls out the names of the rest of the girls. Amusingly, she accidentally calls out Karen’s name in the line-up, even though Karen was the first to choose.
Sadly, after all the girls pick, one guy is left over, and he was my favorite, based solely on the idiotic hat he bravely sports. Queenie comes to the rescue though, and has Whitey take on an extra guy.
I’m now back in my HGL comfort zone, as the music playing is, again, inappropriate. The wholly-clothed orgiasts stand around like folks at a cocktail party. There is a little desulatory dancing and hugging and kissing, but it’s all in the best possible taste.
A couple of daring guys take off their shirts. Karen looks at the other party-goers with disfavor (why did she join the gang?) but Bill seems to be having a good time. Whitey seems interested only in piggy-back rides from her “dates” which evinced loud cries of “You’re doing it wrong!” from the audience when we watched this at my house. Honey Pot walks around unmolested, giggling at the fun.
Orgy: Ur Doin It Wron. Srsly.
Finally we retreat to a private room with Karen and Bill. Bill is hot to go and starts pulling off his t-shirt, but Karen remains clothed and abashed. She asks Bill if he’d like to “take a walk, just for a change”, demonstrating no knowledge whatsoever of the male libido. Bill, naturally, is having none of it. He wants his nookie. Karen whines a little longer, but Bill logically says “If you want out, just say so. Otherwise, c’mere!”
She acquiesces and snuggles (note that he never does manage to pull off his shirt, so it just stays half pulled-up in the rest of the scene). Now the little tease stops kissing him and asks him if he likes her rest than the “rest of them”, presumably the Man-Eaters. Bill realistically agrees to whatever Karen says so that he can get on with the action and we fade to black.
We now cut to a gang meeting in the house. The boys are gone, and Karen is absent too. It’s just as well, because the meeting is about her. The girls don’t think she has been living up to “the rules”. The problem? She picks the same boy every time at the stud line, and this is unacceptable. Apparently you have to switch around. Who knew?
The girls evince anger at this unwomanly behavior, and surprisingly, only Queenie sticks up for her. Sort of. She says that “we gotta be fair. Karen’s our sister-member.” But if she’s hung up on Bill, she’s doomed.
Amazingly, instead of explaining exactly what they’re going to do, they just make plans without telling us, the screen audience. After all my complaining about the stud line explanations, you’d think I’d be happy. And I am, a bit. It’s certainly an improvement.
The gang shows up at the parking lot and we get abundant evidence of HGL’s inability to shoot convincingly at night. His lights give all the bikers huge double shadows, except when they’re a short distance away, when they are completely invisible in the dark.
Look at that awesomely naturalistic lighting!
The rest of the gang drive up and prepare to menace Karen. They have a surprise for her – it’s a lightly-damaged Bill thrown over the back of a bike like a corpse on a horse in a western. Queenie accuses Karen of having more feelings for Bill than just a roll in the hay, and it’s against the rules to be “sweet on this bum”.
Queenie then presents The Deal, which is kind of interesting. Basically, the plan is to tie Bill to Karen’s bike and make her drag him across the runway. If she refuses, she gets dragged instead. And I guess kicked out of the club. Personally, I’m not that attached to Bill, so I look forward to the drag session.
The Man-Eaters ask Karen repeatedly what she wants, and finally she agrees to it. Bill is tied to the back of her bike (they take forever to accomplish this). He weakly protests, but lets them tie him up. I’m flashing on the feeble resistance shown by the victims in Gruesome Twosome and Color Me Blood Red. After a little more lambasting on the part of Queenie, Karen takes him for a scrape over the gravel.
Off they go and Bill-the-stud is excitingly dragged. He starts on his belly, keeping his head up, but when Karen returns from her ride, he’s on his back. When we see his injuries, he has a slightly-torn shirt, and a battered red face.
Again HGL confuses and disturbs me. The make-up job on Bill’s face isn’t bad. He looks like he’s been scalded, or maybe beaten. But he doesn’t look at all like he’s been dragged through gravel. And the pathetic hole in his shirt just highlights the problem. Bill looks injured, but it’s the wrong kind of injury. HGL finally gets some half-decent effects work and still can’t get it right.
It’s gruesome, but no way is it road rash.
Whoa, we see the spinning image of the girl-on-bike poster again. I wonder if HGL expected his movie to be shown on TV or something, and the spinning girl would be the Batmanesque logo used before going to a commercial? If so, he’s spacing them wrong. But that might be ineptitude.
Now the girls tour down a highway in broad daylight. Karen’s with the team, so I guess she didn’t bail after sanding down poor old Bill (whom we never see again). Suddenly the screen goes to night(?) Does this mean they rode all day and all night? Who knows.
The girls drive up to a band of guys sitting around in the dirt drinking beer (seriously), and apparently it’s time for another Man Eater ritual. It turns out three months must have passed, because it’s time to initiate Honey Pot. I can hardly wait.
Up to now, every time Honey Pot showed interest in a man, she was pulled aside and told she was being “reserved for initiation night”. At one point Queenie even pulls Honey Pot off a guy, and tells her what’s she’s got “is too good for him”. So my assumption has been up to now that we are in for some hot girl-on-girl action. But if what we see is what lesbians do in private, it is less interesting than I’d assumed.
The Man Eaters official motto turns out to be “Sex, Guts, Blood, and all men are mothers!” The last part of the motto mystifies me. Did HGL think that “mother” was a denigratory slang term popular in 1968? If so, I never heard it. Of course, I was only 13 years old.
They cut Honey Pot’s thumb with a jackknife (HGL didn’t even provide a switchblade!) and then each member of the club kisses the thumb, and then kisses Honey. It’s all less appealing than it sounds. Some of them only kiss her on the cheek, even. Then they tell Honey to strip down (calm down, you in back!) and gather round so closely you can’t see her nude body.
Honey’s big not-really-nude scene.
Except it turns out she’s not nude after all. It’s just a big tease by HGL. She is down to her undies, though. Now the girls pour … goop … on her. I think it’s supposed to be motor oil, but some of it is bright blue. The girls all giggle like junior high students, and then Whitey recites a poem. Which I had to hear, so you have to see it as punishment for reading this review:
From the far north came Nanook
And Honey, his sweetie he took
He was no landlubber, but he used some whale blubber
And soon they were covered with gook
Take THAT, Emily Dickensen. Disastrously, several of the other girls come up with poems as well, all lubricant-themed. And they’re not even as good as Whitey’s doggerel (I know it’s hard to believe). This is apparently the entire initiation – recite bad limericks, pour oil on Honey, and then drive away, leaving the girl at the mercy of the losers who were hanging around earlier.
Honey is up with this, and calls out to the boys,“Come on fellows, who wants a taste of Honey?” So I guess gang rape is the next step which mercifully we skip. HGL is so tasteful.
Time for the Spinning Biker-Girl Poster once more, and now we see the rest of the Man Eaters in town – oh no, they’re on a vandalism lark – it’s the Man Eaters Wild Rumpus! It’s less devastating than even the Maurice Sendak version.
Here is a complete list of their crimes.
• Man-Eater rides on sidewalk, kicks leg out at passer-by, missing target by at least 10 feet. Target does not seem to notice.
• Man-Eaters pull up alongside motorcycle with two clean-cut guys aboard. The guys panic and drive into a gas station, knocking over an attendant. (I chalk this down to the guys, not the Man-Eaters.)
• Queenie rides really close behind a guy putting some stuff into the trunk of his car. He turns around in surprise – maybe she patted his butt or something.
• Man-Eaters, hooting, ride past a van. A guy leaps into the back of the van to avoid them – he is “narrowly missed” by only twenty feet or so. It’s hardly a death-defying stunt.
• Honey rides on her scooter behind a little girl holding a soda. She gently lifts it out of the tot’s hand and rides away.
To my delight, the last act is their only actually “criminal” deed. Stealing a kid’s soda. Takashi Miike’s Dead or Alive has nothing on these gals.
Shudder at the horrendous level of violence perpetrated by these criminals!
After this terrifying rampage, a cop car, siren blaring, precedes the Man-Eaters to their lair. The cop doesn’t even tail them. He clearly expects the Man-Eaters to pull over when he does, and they do. They are so cooperative with the law. I really like these mannerly, law-abiding girls.
A pair of cops get out of the car. Both of them have actual police uniforms! (In The Gruesome Twosome , HGL only sprang for one uniform). However, one of them is wearing a crash helmet. Is that SOP for a patrol-car cop? The cops come up to Queenie, hands on hips, and lecture her. She archly denies everything, and the girls sort-of mock the cops.
Their biggest dig? When the cop says he knows “all about you girls”, Queenie responds “If you know all about us girls and what we do, then you know what all of us girls been doin’, don’t you?” If you think that was a clever comeback, perhaps there is room for you on HGL’s new scriptwriting team.
The Man-Eaters then taunt the cops in grade-school fashion, and finally bring out their ultimate weapon – one of Whitey’s poems. This forces the cops into retreat, and Queenie announces another race. So we’re back to the big parking lot.
But something’s up – some cars are on the lot – it’s a rival hot-rod gang.
Queenie, angered, challenges the unwelcome newcomers, led by one Joe-Boy(!) Queenie cusses “What the blue-blazes hell is going on here?” The Man-Eaters order Joe-Boy’s hot-rodders off their turf, and after some completely unwitty repartee (“Up your magic dragon she will, buster” ), things get even more hot and heated.
I’m thrilled to see that Joe-Boy has a pen in his shirt pocket, which for me somehow reduces his menace.
One of the hot-rodders makes fun of Honey’s scooter. Then he knocks it over. Since we’ve already noted that it takes two girls to get a bike onto its kickstand this is probably a serious offense. Queenie pulls out a bike chain, and Joe-Boy gets a knife. They circle each other ineffectually for a moment, and then Whitey calls the gang to war. It’s hot girl-on-boy fisticuffs.
The big confrontation between Queenie and Joe-Boy. Check out the awesome pompadour in the background.
The boys ham it up awesomely, pretending to be injured and beaten by the tough dames. Note to advocates of female empowerment – I am NOT saying that a gang of girls couldn’t beat up a gang of guys, particularly since the Man-Eaters outnumber them. I’m saying that the guys are obviously faking it. Isn’t that usually a woman’s prerogative?
Of course the guys’ fighting style needs work – one of them seems obsessed with grabbing the belt of his assailant, and none of them really try to strike back. They just soak up the punches and kicks. The fight is the most one-sided I’ve seen.
Throughout the fight, we hear voice-overs saying stuff like, “Get her, Joe-Boy” or “You mothers!” Note that the invective “mother” is only ever directed at a male target.
This is what all America would look like if Hillary Clinton had won the election.
My favorite part of the fight is when we see the girls kick the prone hot-rodders. They are very delicate and careful about their kicks, almost like they’re prodding their victims, to see if they’re awake. It’s highly amusing.
At the end the Man-Eaters drag the guys into a pile, unbuckle their pants and, I guess, provide the victims with “golden showers” which, happily, we don’t get to see. Joe-Boy, his porn-star mustache, and his hot-doggers are even more unlikable than the girls’ “stud line” so we viewers are unsympathetic.
Hey it’s time for the shower scene (er … not the golden showers – a real shower). I will try to sum it up in the following image, which shows exactly how much of the girl we get to view while she’s bathing.
Cheesecake, HGL style. I couldn’t make stuff like this up.
Eventually she comes out of the shower and it’s Karen. She applies eye makeup to hide her shiner (presumably received in the big fight). The phone rings, and it’s “Ted” – someone we have not heard before. Karen agrees to meet Ted for a cup of coffee.
OH NO! “Ted” proves to be Rodney Bedell, the guy who played the hateful boyfriend “Dave” in The Gruesome Twosome. Ted whines that Karen isn’t seeing him anymore, and Karen stiltedly replies that she rides with the Man-Eaters. Ted reports that Joe-Boy’s gang is planning to exterminate the Man-Eaters, and Karen seems lackadaisical and uninterested in this. Or maybe Ted’s just that boring.
Time for a bike race! Off we ride, and the scene is only slightly more exciting than the last race. In fact, the race is rigged this time, and everyone slows their bikes so that Honey Pot can win on her scooter. This is clearly a plot by the girls to ensure that Honey Pot gets first pick. That’s nice of them. The most interesting part of this segment is that I see that Whitey is back to two pigtails again.
Now Joe-Boy and his gang are plotting together. We don’t see them race though. I guess too much excitement would be bad for us. Instead, a guy (whom they call “Judy”!) drives up and reports that the Man-Eaters are busy boozing and sexing it up, and so can’t fight back. Joe-Boy decides that it’s time to launch their counter-attack.
Meanwhile back at the Man-Eater orgy, the boys look less appetizing than ever. Several of them now wear vests without shirts. Eeeyuck. Honey picks her beau (I root for the guy in the weird hat again). Interestingly, Honey picks the guy who looks the least appetizing to me. Girls, who can figure them? Am I right, guys?
Sitting sullenly in a corner is Ted(!) Karen seems nervous. The other Man-Eaters don’t notice the interloper. Karen gets second pick and chooses Ted. My initial theory is that maybe Ted, who used to date Karen, is taking this opportunity to seize her forbidden fruit, so to speak.
Incidentally, I am bemused by the fact that Whitey’s hair – which was two braids at the race, is back to a single braid here at the den. I salute you, HGL.
Meanwhile Joe-Boy decides that rather than beat up all the Man-Eaters, it would be wiser just to piss them off tremendously. How? By gang-raping Honey Pot, their “mascot” and leaving the rest of the girls unharmed. To me, this seems like the kind of grand strategy that got Custer where he is today.
Ted and Karen talk in their private room, and it’s clear sex is not on his mind. In fact, he has that same weird standoffish attitude he had in The Gruesome Twosome. I guess this actor just doesn’t like girls. I’m not saying he’s gay or anything – I figure he’s just saving himself for the retirement home.
Ted again warns Karen of Joe-Boy’s impending attack (he doesn’t know about the “rape Honey Pot” concept though), and Karen disloyally doesn’t warn her gang. She doesn’t put out for Ted either. He must be some catch.
Ted then says he has come to rescue Karen, and unappealingly tells Karen he’s prepared to take her away “by force”. What a jerk. She passively tells him she’s staying and asks him to leave her alone. Then he picks her up and says he’ll carry her out of here, in best 50s monster fashion. She then leaves with him, so I guess she doesn’t care that her friends are going to be bushwhacked.
More fully-clothed orgy scenes ensue. It seems the girls really like kissing and rolling around in their duds . Two girls briefly tussle over one of the male losers, and a saxophone plays unromantically.
Meanwhile, Joe-Boy and his homies tool up. I’m not sure how they plan to carry out the “let’s rape Honey Pot” plan, but it turns out that Honey Pot is sort of a victim waiting to happen. She leaves her beau to see “what the others are doing”. I guess she needs some tips.
She walks into the big room, where everyone is asleep (fully clothed!). Then she steps outside. Why? IITS, and otherwise how could Joe-Boy’s boys be able to grab her? Which they do.
Further mystifying me, Karen sneaks back into the crash pad, and kisses goodbye to Ted. We don’t actually see Ted here – she kisses him behind a curtain, lending further credence to my theory that Ted is a total misogynist. I’m still unhappy with Karen though. She thought her gang was going to be attacked, snuck out with Ted for a moonlight walk, then snuck back. And never told them.
The spinning biker-girl poster makes another appearance. I’m going to mention it every time.
Next morning, the hot-rodders pull up to the Man-Eater pad, drag Honey out of their trunk, and dump her on the lawn. What happened to the guy who was bedding Honey Pot? Didn’t he tell anyone that she’d left and never returned? Joe-Boy’s guys honk their horn, and Queenie rushes outside. To the sound of sinister music worthy of a Donald Duck cartoon, we see the terrible doom inflicted upon Honey Pot. It looks like someone spilled Kool-Aid over her. Not much, though.
Honey Pot’s awful fate. Note the complete lack of any injuries.
The girls are appropriately shocked and horrified, and read a message left by Joe-Boy’s gang, which I, personally, find a little opaque. It’s signed by a picture of a hot rod. Queenie decides they have to get the baddies, and… insert spinning biker-girl poster.
The terrifying threat of Joe-Boy.
Queenie enters a cheap bar and threatens the hapless bartender, trying to force him to disclose where Joe-Boy is, after bloodying his nose. Poor chap. I guess he serves beer to Joe-Boy so he deserves it.
Sadly, the bartender seems to genuinely not be aware where Joe-Boy hangs out, so Queenie orders him to tell Joe-Boy she’s after him. Then she basically explains her plan right in front of the bartender. The one she just beat up. Yeah that’s smart. Basically she wants to get some strong, thin wire. I can see where this is going.
The gang slowly trundle out to their bikes, and after a cut we see them wrap wire around a pair of telephone poles, so that it stretches across the road at neck-height. HGL doesn’t actually tell us what the wire’s for, but he sure takes his time letting us see the girls get it prepared. Then we see the biker poster girl spin around.
Remember how the bartender didn’t know where Joe-Boy’s gang hides out? You’re smarter than HGL, because HE didn’t remember that event – we now see Whitey and another Man-Eater ride up to Joe-Boy’s hot-rodders. Seriously, HGL – it was like a minute ago you told us that Queenie didn’t know where Joe-Boy was.
Anyway the Man-Eaters get off their bikes, and again it takes both of them to put one of the bikes on its kickstand. While Joe-Boy’s gang watches quietly, Whitey stabs a hole in a car’s tire. Joe-Boy runs up all aggressive and in-your-face but gets sprayed with a can of … deodorant? Hairspray? Something like that. Joe-Boy, horrified at the threat of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer, recoils, hands to his eyes, and the girls double up on Whitey’s bike and ride off, leaving one of their bikes behind.
Joe-Boy, enraged, gets on the abandoned bike bait without a second thought, and his gang rush to their cars. Don’t’ worry about the gang though – we never see them again. Any of them.
Off Joe-Boy rides in pursuit to the sound of the James Bond theme(!). We see him on the bike, then we see the wire with all the Man-Eaters watching. Then we see him. Then the wire. Then the Man-Eaters. Yes, HGL, I think we “get it”. You’ve explained it enough. At least this time you only did it with repeated camera shots, not with dialog. That’s a slight improvement.
Joe-Boy rides into the wire with what one of my viewing companions immediately dubbed, “The worst decapitation I’ve ever seen.”
The worst decapitation Rich had ever seen.
All the girls watch in open-mouthed delight as Joe-Boy’s head arcs beautifully through the air. I note that HGL is unable to match the hair color on the dummy head to Joe-Boy’s actual hair. The girls kick up their heels in delight (literally) and march over to gloat over his body…
And then HOLY SMOKES! I am forced to pause the film while I crack up in total delight. To show the decapitated corpse, HGL actually has the chutzpah to place Joe-Boy so his head is behind a telephone pole!! He smears a little blood on the neck, and I swear we are supposed to believe that the guy’s head is cut off! HGL has surpassed himself. My hat is off to you sir. For unmitigated gall and contempt for your viewing audience, you are the Cosmic Master.
The best decapitation Sandy has ever seen.
Queenie strikes Joe-Boy’s corpse a couple of times with her bike chain(?) and then carefully and obviously flaunts dropping of the chain by the body. I wonder if that will come out later?
Now the cops are seen being sad that they can’t arrest Queenie and her girls, because they “have no evidence”. Poor cops. Guess the girls are going to get away with their horrible murder of the fine upstanding Joe-Boy. My personal theory is that if this case ever got to court in Florida, after the girls explained about Honey Pot’s gang rape, the jury would give them all medals.
But then … a car drives up, and who gets out but Ted. He calls out to Karen. I guess this is her big chance to rejoin normal society, at the cost of dating the compulsive asshole Ted. He nobly says he doesn’t care if she was involved in Joe-Boy’s murder (what a guy!) and asks her to leave her gang. For him!
She gives him a big kiss, which he does not return (loser) and goes back to her gang to get her bike. Is she going to leave the Man-Eaters or seek Ted-based salvation? The suspense is killing me.
Yay! The Man Eaters win! I approve strongly. The Man-Eaters might be lame in many ways, but the horror of being Ted’s lady friend has been avoided. Off they ride. Spurning the Tedster. I just can’t say that enough. This almost makes up for Rodney Bedell retaining his girlfriend in The Gruesome Twosome, and I must say that I would happily watch a dozen movies in which he does NOT get the girl.
Spinning biker-girl poster alert!
The girls ride back to where Joe-Boy’s body used to be. Queenie painstakingly explains that she left her bike chain there (yes we remember, HGL) and they all look for it. A cop walks up and shows that he has the chain. Clearly this is all the evidence the cops need to prove that Queenie and her gang were guilty, and he arrests every one of them on the spot.
I really want to see the court drama based on this case. “Your Honor, we found this bike chain on the scene of the crime and this clearly proves that all eight girls were involved in the murder of the worthless Joe-Boy. We demand the maximum sentence which Florida law will bear for the murder of a rapist hot-rodder.” Which I assume is a $15 fine, split eight ways.
This guy clearly has no idea how to hold a revolver.
So all the girls are arrested, presumably including Karen. What irony – she had just spurned her chance at redemption. But I guess a women’s prison movie might be a step up. We fade to black (what, no spinning poster?) and the theme song plays as we view the ending credits. We do see the biker girl poster on the end credits, but it doesn’t spin.
HGL isn’t able to leave it at that. He had his ironic ending where the Man Eaters are all dragged away to jail. But now we get an epilogue. First we see the words “THE END”, then the words change into “Whoever calls this THE END, doesn’t know the Man-Eaters”. Ha ha.
The theme song plays, and now our favorite females, Whitey and Queenie ride up on bikes. The rest of the gang ride past. Whitey and Queenie walk up to the camera and Whitey has another poem for us.
I think I’m in love.
Can we ride a little faster?
Said the leader to the pack.
There’s a fuzz right behind us,
And he’s breathing down our backs.
The cops are looking for us everywhere we go,
Waiting for one wrong move, and into jail we go.
But it’s not over yet, Queenie has something to say as well.
Any woman looks prettier with a cheerful smile on her face.
We don’t know nobody nothing
We’re swinging chicks on motors, and we’re man-eaters on wheels.
Queenie and Whitey shake hands and ride off. I wipe a tear from my eye, and wave good bye. Until we meet again, Queenie and Whitey! Eat a few men for me!
I now am forced to mention the fact that in the trailer, Queenie is mistermed “Queen”.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Betty Connell (Queenie) and Pat Poston (Whitey) were never in anything else, providing strong evidence for God’s merciful nature.
I don’t want to talk much about Rodney Bedell (Ted). Every time I see him I dislike him more.
Christie Wagner (Karen) didn’t show up in films again for 12 years, and even then she only got awesome parts such as “Cocktail Hostess” so her career seems to have matched her talents.
Nancy Lee Noble (Honey Pot) appeared in a few other exploitation movies, and actually had two HGL credits before she was in She Devils on Wheels. I guess he liked her. She was the cutest of the Man Eaters, and was so enthusiastic and vivacious that sometimes I didn’t notice that her acting was as terrible as everyone else’s. So I’m glad she was the most successful. You go, girl!
Meet the Author:
Sandblast “Sandy” Petersen is a game designer who created the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and was instrumental in developing the video games Doom, Doom II and Quake. He has his own Wikipedia page, although jealous gaming rivals sometimes mess with the pictures and info there. In any case, he thus is more famous than the people who made 28% of the movies reviewed on this website.
Sandy has also informed me, several dozen times while I’ve stayed at his house, that he also in fact invented scrubbing bubbles, but that S.C. Johnson climbed in his window one night and stole his notes.
However, while telling me–and anyone else in the area–this tale, he tends to be washing his hands over and over and muttering about ‘damn spots.’ Also, his wife Wendy always rolls her eyes and makes finger circles next to her head during this. Thus I’m not sure if the story is completely true.
You might consider the picture above (which Sandy provided) an affectation. However, it should noted that Sandy’s sons are named Comet, Ajax, Soft Scrub, OxiClean and, somewhat less relevantly, Loana Jr. I’ve met them, though, and they’re all more or less sane and perfectly nice lad anyway.