Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Angry Breed

The Angry Breed
D: David Commons

Notable: Bike 'em, Danno!

A brash young actor wants to make his film his way, but must contend with a sleazy producer, a double-dealing agent, and another actor --who happens to be a lunatic biker on the side

I don't even know where to start with this one, except to assume that writer Rex Carlton was probably rather bitter when he penned this story, and go from there.
While in Vietnam, aspiring actor Johnny (a miscast, too young, over-acting Murray MacLeod) saved the life of a legendary Hollywood writer also serving there who, in gratitude, gave him his latest can't-miss script before dying in a seperate incident. Johnny's unable to sell it, however, because he insists that as part of the deal, he play the lead. His luck changes --he thinks-- when he saves Diane (Lori Martin), who turns out to be the daughter of a big-time producer, from some bikers with bad intentions.
Ah. The bikers. While some extras are sometimes used, it's usually Deek (James MacArthur), who's also a young actor (and has the same agent as Johnny, no less), and two other guys. Not content with merely the occasional Nazi regalia seen on other movie bikers, Deek & co dress up in complete SS uniforms. And that's not even close to being the weirdest thing about this film.
Diane takes Johnny home to meet her parents: Mom (Jan Sterling, a long way from the roles that won her awards in the '50s) is a heavy drinking, bitter ex-actress, while dad (William Windom) is a sleazy, twisted movie producer who gets off on mentally abusing his wife, has a kung fu chauffer and a mute Asian girl he "adopted" (read: bought), and, it is implied, kinda wants to fuck his daughter. Though he acts as if he's interested in doing the film with Johnny, he makes a backdoor deal with Johnny's (and Deek's) agent to cut him out. A plan is hatched to use Deek and his biker pals to get Johnny out of the way.
It's tough to know how to take some of this. It seems like MacLeod is awful, but the directing is so bad that I'm not even sure. It seems like he's supposed to be brash and cocky, but he just comes off as a prick. Then again, every other film industry-related character is so unlikeable that it may be intentional. The "clever," "witty" verbal sparring between Johnny and Diane's father Vance is absolutely painful.
With a pretty good "decadent party" scene (featuring Melody Patterson, who was then Mrs MacArthur, also dressed as a Nazi), lines like "Dance. You may dance" and "You need killin'," and an ending so bad that it's enjoyable. The Curb label soundtrack music is by Jamie & The Jury and the Orphan Egg, edited in with a butcher knife.
While not exactly good (and in fact it barely even qualifies as a biker movie), getting a grade here of, oh, say 2.5, I still highly recommend checking this one out, simply because it's so fucking warped.

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