aka RAPE SQUAD
One of the more schizophrenic 70's films 1974's ACT OF VENGEANCE was originally released under the title RAPE SQUAD until at some point during a subsequent re-release it was re-tilted (and it's this title sequence that the MGM MOD DVD uses). Fitting into the 70's rape revenge genre (with perhaps a bit of urban action/revenge) its a somewhat hard movie to get straight in ones mind and frankly I was surprised that MGM even released this on MOD. Although on one hand it does try to present in serious tones the humiliation and degradation of rape it mostly confines these to the aftermath of the crime with the victims humiliation at the hands of the police, while the attacks though violently staged are filmed in a seemingly titillating fashion which makes it hard to decide ones feeling about watching them (not to mention what the filmmakers intentions were) and to top it all off there's even some oddly placed humor injected into the proceedings.Pretty and spunky Linda (Jo Ann Harris) is part time student and lunch truck operator with a somewhat lunk headed boyfriend (Steve Kanaly from DILLINGER). One night she is brutally attacked and raped by an orange jumpsuit & hockey mask clad protagonist who forces her to sing "Jingle Bells". After the attack Linda endures a humiliating interview session with the police (along with a doctors examination) and breaks up with her uncaring boyfriend. Later she's called back to the police dept. for a line-up (which seems to go against every known police procedural) and meets other victims of the attacker including Nancy (Jennifer Lee), Karen (Lisa Moore HARRAD SUMMER), Teresa (Connie Strickland THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS and Angie (Patricia Estrin). Later meeting back in Linda's apt. (and reading an article in Cosmopolitan) they decide to form a "rape squad" to help victims dealing with the police and go after known rapist who have slipped through the legal cracks.
Tooling around town in Linda's VW bus the group first goes after low budget lounge lizard Bud (Tony Young SUPERCHICK) whom Linda hooks up with at a bar and later luring him back to his apt. (complete with a really impressive pyramid constructed of empty Bud cans) she resists his overtures and then calls in the rest of the gang so Tiny can beat the crap out of him, while the rest of the girls trash his apt. and end up by pouring blue ink over his privates ("to mark him") which they had originally told him was sulfuric acid.
With the proliferation of familiar 70's TV faces the film seems to play out like a made for TV movie with the rape sequences bringing it jarringly back to the grindhouse. At the beginning Jo Ann Harris (who was excellent in Clint Eastwood's THE BEGUILED) seems to be main character focus of the plot, but she drifts into the background for the majority of the movie - which is a shame as she obviously has the best acting chops here. It's kind of weird seeing Peter Brown (who was a regular on T.V.'s LAREDO) as the gleefully sadistic megalomaniac rapist (and you wonder what made him think of this in terms of a career move).