Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Hellcats

The Hellcats
1967 D: Robert F. Slatzer (also co-wrote, acts)

Army vet, out to avenge his cop brother's murder, infiltrates gang who runs dope for the mob

All I remembered about this was that I never really followed it; after seeing it again about 15 years later while watching more closely, I still have no idea what the hell's going on. I've been putting off reviewing this, because it's so utterly incoherent that I'm not sure how.
The film opens with the funeral of one of the club's members, whom we learn from a couple of cops watching from nearby was about to rat on them. Also watching are two mob guys (one of whom, Mr Adrian, is terribly played by the director), who are actually "hiding" by squatting behind a tombstone. I have no idea what the hell they're talking about.
After a ridiculously long, hand-off filled relay, the bikers deliver "the powder" (which is never identified and looks like about half an ounce) to Mr. Adrian and his Fred Willard-ish henchman. Later, a cop is killed by a mob sniper for some reason.
Enter Ross Hagen as Monte, the cop's brother, just out of the Army. He and his brother's former fiancee Linda decide to infiltrate the club, and with an ease that's stunning even for a film like this, do just that. From there it's drug running, kidnappings, and fights, none of which make any sense at all, padded out with what are possibly the most boring "partyin'" scenes ever put on film.
Slatzer is just awful as an actor, far worse as a director, and still worse as a writer. Compared to him, everyone else seems to be chewing up the scenery, the cuts to close-ups when lines are delivered are downright disturbing, and between those lines (pathetic attempts at biker/hepcat and mobster lingo: "I tell the blue, I got rights. Freedom of speech. And they say, not here you don't. And they smack me five times on the wrist. And I'm a believer, man." Or how about: "Hey, what's the action? Drop the steel." ) and the mess of a plot, the viewer's constant reaction is "Wait--what?"
To prove his mettle, Monte (btw-- fucking "Monte"?!) competes with rival biker Snake in a game where each is tied by the feet to the back of a trike and must hold onto another by his hands for at least 15 seconds as the bikes pull in opposite directions, then let go and be dragged down a dirt road. Sounds like a cool scene, no? Slatzer makes this so mind-numbingly dull that it's almost impressive.
Does it at least have a decent soundtrack? No, it does not.
One of the weakest of the era. I'm only giving this a 1.5 because the eyepatch wearing Rita (Shannon Summers, who according to imdb never worked before or since) is so incredibly cute.

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