by John Bikowski
I HATE YOUR GUTS! Did I get your attention? That was the original title of Blue Underground‘s latest DVD release, Fight for Your Life. This film has been highly sought after by exploitation collectors for years because it’s truly a unique slice of cinema history. Since we’re still riding the waves of PC, this flick will surely shock the life out of most “normal” viewers. However, if you grew up on the likes of I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left, then Fight will be an enjoyable companion piece. I picked up an old After Hours VHS release of this film that was watchable, but had terrible pre-record quality. I was pleased to see that Blue Underground has secured a very high quality print (as they continually do with their catalog offerings). Apart from the uncut and uncensored film, you also get an audio commentary with writer Weisman and director of photography Freidus. Other tidbits include trailers (both “white” and “black” biased versions), TV spots, and a poster and still gallery.
As for the story itself, the standout star is William Sanderson from Newhart (you remember redneck Larry and his brothers Daryl? He also slithered in HBO’s Deadwood). Sanderson plays Jessie Lee Kane, one of three convicts being transported in a police van to the strains of a catchy ’70s theme song. The police are sideswiped into a crash that sets up the inevitable escape with the help of a local pimp. Apart from psychotic white-trash Jessie Lee, his other two murderous cohorts are Geno, a Hispanic hipster, and Chow Ling, a leering Asian menace. These boys are on the run and they have no qualms about killing more innocents as they go. Another interesting character is Rulebook Reilly, the chief detective on their heels. Rulebook got his name by being so anal retentive about sticking to strict procedure. His transformation at the film’s conclusion is a real hoot.
Meanwhile, our escaped idiots withstand a hilarious panic attack going through a tollbooth and wind up in the town that is home to the Turner family. The Turner’s are a charming black family consisting of Dad (the local reverend), Mom, sister Corrie, precocious little brother Floyd, and feisty, wheelchair-bound Grandma. There used to be an older brother, Val, who was planning to marry a pretty white gal named Karen. But we see in a flashback that when Val wasn’t French-kissing Karen to some ’70s love song, he was speeding his car around tight turns on the way to a deadly accident. Val’s character is there to show us that racial harmony is possible. Little man Floyd also alerts us to the same possibility when he becomes blood brothers with his little white buddy named Joey. However, Jessie Lee and the boys continuously show us a sickening counterpoint that destroys all hope of racial harmony. The convicts come upon a liquor store in which sister Corrie is shopping. Here, Jessie yanks out his blaster and blows away the owner and threatens an infant. Corrie is taken hostage and she is forced to lead the nuts to her home. As soon as Jessie and the boys gain control of the family, the film embarks on a non-stop frenzy with every racial indignation known to mankind. Not content to merely hole up, Jessie takes time to humiliate every member of the Turner family at gunpoint. Vile? Yes. Reprehensible? You betcha. But somehow, there’s a vein of shameful humor throughout. I think it’s because of Sanderson’s style of redneck delivery. You can definitely see why this film was flat-out banned in certain countries. All in all, the family suffers through one hell of a dysfunctional afternoon.
At one point in the debauchery, we’re treated to Jessie Lee’s sob story in an attempt to justify his bigotry. But he admits in the climax that his mammy running off with a black guy is what really uncorked him. To complement the landslide of racial slurs, there’s a large helping of violence. Big Bro’s gal Karen shows up for a visit, and Chow Ling is sicced on her as she tries to escape in the woods. He manages to catch her, rip off her clothes, attempt a few kisses, and then he tosses her into the rocky falls. Around this time, Floyd’s buddy Joey gets suspicious and accidentally runs across Chow Ling’s path. There ensues a pretty rough scene in which Joey is held down and has his skull bashed in repeatedly with a large rock. Not too many films would get away with a kiddie-killing like this.
As the film spirals into madness, Rulebook Reilly closes in by tracing Corrie’s abandoned bike. Outside the house, Reilly amasses a small army of police ready to storm in. Inside the house, Grandma pisses off Jessie so bad he decides that Corrie needs to be gang raped. All hell finally breaks loose as we learn that one of the cops is the father of cranium-cracked little Joey. Once he sees his son’s broken little corpse, he charges the home and is summarily gunned down. In the melee, the Turner’s gain control over the convicts and Rulebook Reilly picks up this fact on the microphone. In a great moment, he uncharacteristically holds off on taking the house in order to give the Turners a chance to whup ass. Grandma even grabs a gun and screams, “Don’t move or I’ll blow your muther-fuckin’ balls off!” The family dog even pisses on Jessie’s face. Geno gets castrated by a bullet. Jessie is beaten senseless, and Ling is gutted by a large shard of glass. Jessie regains his senses and his gun and attempts to leave with mama Turner as a hostage. But Reilly once again comes through by tossing his gun to papa Turner who blows out Jessie’s throat. Cue end credits and the theme song. Look in the credits for the actor named Dick Punch. His moniker basically sums up this classic piece of trash cinema. Blue Underground deserves praise for resurrecting this film and doing it right. Check it out!
Also out recently and worth mentioning due to sheer inanity is the long-awaited (yeah, right) release of Monsturd. Elite Entertainment has squirted out this film and provided a full roll of extras to wipe yourself with. The DVD contains the trailer, an audio commentary, and some behind the scenes stuff. If you’re a fan of crap – and I do mean actual crap – then this movie will be right up your… well… alley. As for the rest of us, you need to be in the mood for a low-budget monster movie with a few laughs. You don’t snuggle up with this type of film looking for Godfather IV. The DVD cover has a hot bikini-clad victim being sucked down the toilet as brown stuff oozes from under the rim. That should be enough right there to make you want to watch.
As for the story, our monster is created by mixing together equal parts serial killer with toxic bacteria spawned from illegal genetic research. Once the beast is loose in the sewer, it becomes a real hazard to use the facilities. Folks start to die, and it becomes apparent that the creature is a giant conglomerate of dookie. This revelation in itself is kind of funny, and there are innumerable references to all things poopie. You may actually break into a few smiles here and there. Be on the lookout for super-soakers loaded with Pepto Bismol, the worry over canceling the annual Chili Cook-Off, and other tidbits of humor. This may be the release of the century for Middle School boys. Get your copy now before they suck them all up.