Savage Streets 1984 Movie Scene Linda Blair as Brenda holding a crossbow and exacting revenge

Savage Streets [1984]

I wonder how people who have never seen an exploitation movie are going to react to this eighties oddity. I mean, I’m a veteran when it comes to this genre and even I was taken aback by some of the scenes here. Savage Streets is a bizarre, brutal, and sexualized only in a way an eighties movie can be exploitation revenge thriller. I know there’s a lot to unpack there so let us begin our journey right now. And the first thing that’s going to greet us on that journey is that sweet, sweet synth-wave soundtrack. It’s so representative of this particular B movie genre that it almost feels like a parody.

The exploitation genre features a lot of different themes or subgenres but some things are everpresent. One of them is nudity, nudity of all kinds, including full-frontal. It’s handled in a way a horny teenager would handle it. Violence is next on the menu, completing the “sex and violence” paradigm. So, we will be following Brenda, a tough girl and a part of a “cool” troublemaker all-girl clique who becomes a target of a vicious gang. Bad stuff will happen and Brenda will have to go on a rampage to exact revenge and right some wrongs.

Revenge thrillers were very popular in the eighties after the huge success of the 1978 movie I Spit On Your Grave. A movie that also features a badass female protagonist who exacts revenge on a ruthless gang. Although you might claim that the 1972 classic Deliverance also inspired filmmakers with one scene in particular. Now, you should know that Savage Streets was actually banned in some countries. The reasons for this ban were not only scenes of graphic violence but also scenes of rape and sexual assault. British Board of Film Classification also didn’t like the use of a crossbow.

As you’re probably aware gun laws are very strict in Britain so they didn’t want to give anyone wrong ideas. When it comes to those sexual assault scenes I can tell you right now they are quite uncomfortable to watch. Even some of the actors themselves tell a similar tale. A tale of male members of the cast getting carried away with their roles. Speaking of which, we open we our four-member gang joyriding around the savage streets and being obnoxious idiots. It was fascinating to watch their behavior as they were trying their hardest to be as “manly” as possible.

The leader of the gang then puts out a cigarette in the palm of his hand proclaiming that he’s tough. We then transition to our female team girlbossing the same streets and just having fun. The storytelling is straightforward and the plot is simplistic. However, the tonal shifts were simply mindblowing. We go from a difficult and even disturbing scene of torture and sexual assault to people cracking jokes in the blink of an eye. On top of all of that, our all-girl group actually consists of high schoolers. And you know what this means: group nude girls shower scene!

You can also count on all the usual rivalries, dreams, relationships, and other stuff. The recipe is simple: trigger the fuck out of you with nasty scenes and then exact revenge on the perpetrators. Those scenes are not so graphic in nature as they’re atmospherically sleazy, amoral, and just plain old nasty. It’s safe to say that a movie like this could not be made today. And to be perfectly clear that’s a good thing. Savage Streets is a fast-paced, short, and utterly fascinating movie. It captures the other side of the eighties, the mean side.

Linda Blair gave one hell of a performance proving she’s not just “that girl from The Exorcist”. However, I would like to single out young Linnea Quigley who didn’t have a single line of text. And yet she was simply excellent. She would go on to become a veritable scream queen starring in such movies as The Return of The Living Dead and Night of the Demons. And I guess I also have to commend our gang members led by Robert Dryer who plays Jake. They were so evil and obnoxious you wanted to get into the screen and punch them. The script is oftentimes unintentionally hilarious. I mean, I know they were not taking themselves too seriously but still. 

The guy yelling to Brenda we’re going to play a little game, a little game called hide the salami, is just hilarious no matter how you look at it. And those witty remarks are not so witty at all but still deliver. If you’re wondering where were the police during all this time the answer is very simple. All police forces were guarding the paint shops around the city and that’s that. If you’re looking for movies like Savage Streets check out our selection of Revenge and Exploitation Movies. Among them, you’ll find a stylish French masterpiece Revenge featuring all the familiar elements from this movie. Finally, I also must mention Angel, an aesthetically similar movie from the eighties. 

Directors: Danny Steinmann, Tom DeSimone

Writers: Norman Yonemoto, Danny Steinmann, John Strong

Cast: Linda Blair, Linnea Quigley, Robert Dryer, Sal Landi, Debra Blee, Johnny Venokur

Fun Facts: The car Fargo, played by Sal Landi, drives is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible coupe.


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