DVD Review: Savage Streets


Savage Streets






There’s something almost post-apocalyptic about exploitation movies like this.  While they ostensibly take place in the modern world, it’s a very pessimistic view of it; one filled with violence, hate, and no authority.  There’s danger everywhere, happiness is fleeting, and if you want justice, you have to take it for yourself.

I guess there’s a lot of people that feel like that everyday; which is why these revenge fantasy movies gains such cult status.  Everyone has someone they’d like to set on fire.

The poster for Savage Streets says:

They raped her sister…

killed her best friend.

Now she must seek revenge.

‘She’ is Brenda, played by Linda Blair.  She’s the leader of a kind of girl gang made up of her, three of her friends, and her deaf sister, Heather.  Heather is the sweet innocent girl who is nice to everyone, which is intended to make her rape more tragic.

Brenda and her friends are rebellious, but not evil.  They swear, they drink, and they take drug dealer’s cars for joy rides.  This creates something of a vicious cycle.  Brenda is blamed for a fight that another girl started.  What’s interesting is that Brenda didn’t even bother to argue her case; like she’s resigned to her role in life.  Caring for Heather is the one ‘good’ thing she does.  What she doesn’t know, is that Heather was targeted because she and Brenda stole a car belonging to the soon to be rapists; thus, she actually did set things in motion (though this isn’t explored in the movie).

The ‘They’ mentioned on the poster are the ‘Scars,’ the aforementioned drug dealers.  They’re led by Jake, who’s joined by two bad guys and one ‘reluctant guy.’  They’re definitely villains.  They seem to be running some drug distribution system, though we don’t get a good idea of how these idiots are able to carry it off, other than the fact that they’re willing to kill people that don’t pay up.  Other than that, they assault virtually every woman they see, and show a general disrespect for those around them.  Their more violent acts seem largely impulsive, as if they are prone to violent rages.

In some ways, the ‘reluctant guy,’ Vince, comes off as the worst person in the movie.  Despite his feeble protests, he still takes part in the rape; only he refuses to take responsibility for his actions.  The other Scars, say what you will about them, are honest with themselves, going so far as to brag about it.  The other guys seem to lose themselves in the act of violence, but Vince is clearly aware the whole time of just what he’s doing, and he does it anyways.

Linda Blair gives quite a performance in Savage Streets.  She is convincingly bitchy at the beginning, and likewise broken when her sister is hurt.  If there’s one fault in the character it’s that when she sets out to take revenge, the pain turns into a sarky calmness, making her feel more like a generic action hero, than a mentally distressed person.

There’s a decent amount of nudity and mild gore, as is to be expected of an exploitation film of the ’80s.  The plot is nothing new, but great performances from Linda Blair, and Linnea Quigley (as Heather) give its dramatic side credibility.

The DVD is out-of-print, and is only available in the after-market.