Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Angels Brigade 1979


"They'll Blow You Away !"

    Here you got a 1979 Greydon Clark PG rated exploitation/sex-comedy/action effort, that although never quite lives up to its hoped for plot lines & scenery (where's that great 70's "R" rating when you need it !) still manages to be entertaining in its own "so bad - it's good" way. Released under a variety of titles including Angel's Revenge & Seven From Heaven (the on-screen title here) and although filled with bunches of bouncing untethered (but ultimately covered) cleavage, bikinis and unzipped to the allowable max one-piece leather jumpsuits it still has the feel of a T.V. movie (with a pretty obvious Charlie's Angels Angels knock-off vibe). As an added bonus it has one of those "once in a lifetime" drive-in cast things going on (although admittedly most of them amount to a little more then glorified walk- on's) and future John Carpenter collaborator Dean Cundey (Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing) is the cinematographer.
   After a quick meeting with her manager "Manny" (Alan Hale Jr. -Gilligan's Island) and a backstage visit from Arthur Godfrey (playing himself) singer Michelle Wilson (Playboy Playmate Susan Kiger - H.O.T.S.) takes a leave of absence from her Vegas disco show gig and heads to Los Angeles after finding out her brother has been beaten up a gang of drug pushers - actually it was just one kinda scrawny white guy named Stick (Darby Hinton from T.V.'s Daniel Boone) in what looks like a grade school brawl.

  Arriving back in L.A. Michelle hooks up with schoolteacher Donna Wilkes (Jacqueline Cole - Satan's Sadists & Satan's Cheerleaders, plus wife of director Clark) who has been gathering info on the local drug gang and together they form a plan to knock off local pusher Mike Farrell (a sleepwealking thru his role Jack Palance) and his boss Burke (played by a sadly feeble looking ex-rat packer Peter Lawford).  Donna & Michelle begin gathering together an all-female team to blow up the drug manufacturing plant including stunt driver Terry Grant (Sylvia Anderson - Ebony, Ivory & Jade), karate/ninja expert Kako Umaro (Lieu Chinh) & Policewoman Brenner (Robin Greer). In addition you got an ex-junkie turned model named Maria played by Noela Valesco (who seems to specialize in modeling assignments where she bounces in slo-motion on a trampoline) and Trish - a spunky & annoying student of Donna's (played by Liza Greer- sister of Robin and both nieces of Jane Greer).

   After purchasing a van from Pat Buttrum (Mr. Haney from Green Acres) we're treated to a montage sequence set to disco music that features the girls converting the van to an assault vehicle (which will feature a roof mounted machine gun & floor to ceiling shag carpeting), mounting machine guns on a motorcycle, training on an exercise bike and best of all posing in their one piece white leather jumpsuits complete with convenient front zippers (which are always kept about half way down).

   Next on the agenda is a trip to the beach to intercept the drug drop off (plus to get some bikini time & rather lame kung-fu comedy worked into the plot) and a visit to a local right-wing militia group (headed by Jim Backus - Mr. Magoo & Gilligan's Island) to steal some guns. This all leads up to the climatic finale assault on the "high security" drug headquarters (actually a shack-like farm building surrounded by a wooden corral fence) which features lots of gun play (with ray gun sound effects) and pre A-Team like violence & explosions.

  Also with Neville Brand as a police detective (who in his two scenes that total about 5 minutes just sits behind a desk and yells at people), a blink & you'll miss it cameo by porn star Lisa Deleeuw, bikini kung-fu, lots of close-ups of director Greydon Clark's wife and no nudity or gore.

  Recently released on DVD from Scorpion has part of their Katarins's Kat Skrartch Cinema series. The disc also includes an interview with Dean Cundey (who relates some amusing stories about his work for Greydon & a drunk on the set Peter Lawford), plus as a bonus Roger Corman's alternate cut of the movie (which runs 10 minutes shorter and has some scenes re-shuffled).
   Jan. 1977 Playboy Playmate Susan Kiger has the rather unique distinction of being the only Playmate to appear in a hardcore movie BEFORE doing her Playboy gig. In 1976 (and most likely unbeknownst to Hugh) she appeared in the very weird & twisted horror/porn Deadly Love (AKA Hot Nasties).


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